Ashwagandha is best known today as one of the best natural remedies for stress. Though many think of stress relief as primarily a mental health benefit, it actually has broad health implications.
Stress influences many areas of health, from reproductive health to heart health and more, and research suggests that the ashwagandha herb can benefit them all. Here are the science-backed health benefits of ashwagandha supplements:
Ashwagandha for Stress Relief
Cortisol, the “stress hormone” secreted by the adrenals as part of the body’s stress response, is often measured as a physiological indicator of stress. Prolonged high levels of cortisol in the bloodstream are associated with chronic stress and linked with problems for brain health, heart health, hormonal health, immune health, reproductive health, and more.
Ashwagandha has been clinically shown to reduce cortisol levels by as much as 27.9% to 30.5%.10 11 These same studies also showed a substantial reduction in psychological stress as measured by typical mood, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, inability to concentrate, feelings of dread, and social dysfunction. This is strong evidence supporting the use of ashwagandha for sleep, focus, mood support, and other natural stress relief benefits.
Ashwagandha Brain Benefits
The stress response reduces activity in the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s executive center in charge of problem-solving, learning, concentration, and emotional control. Excessive stress can eventually impair the structure and function of the brain and increase the risk of developing mental or neurodegenerative disorders.
Traditionally known as a medhya rasayana, or nootropic herb, ashwagandha has long been used to enhance brain function and protect cognitive health. Research shows that by dialing down the stress response, ashwagandha can help prevent mental burnout, promote optimal brain functioning, and may even help protect long-term brain health.