How is Ashwagandha an adaptogen?

by 365veda Official on Jan 20, 2024

How is Ashwagandha an adaptogen?

If you are someone who is stressed or remain anxious, you might have come across Ashwagandha before. And it is a powerful adaptogen!

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs that improve the responses to stress and help the body adapt by bringing homeostasis. 

Ideally, an adaptogen must reduce stress-induced damage, be safe, exhibit stimulating effects, be innocuous, not perturb any bodily functions, and be devoid of any negative effects such as withdrawal symptoms. 

Why is Ashwagandha an adaptogen?

Considering the fact that Ashwagandha has remarkable health benefits, many scientific studies were carried out and its adaptogenic / anti-stress activities were studied in detail.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Alleviates stress: Our body produces the hormone cortisol when we are stressed to keep up with situations.  Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used traditionally to lower stress and improve wellbeing. Studies show that Ashwagandha’s effect might occur via its effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. GABA is the target neurotransmitter, for target in the treatment of anxiety, and Ashwagandha in various pre-clinical and clinical studies shows Ashwagandha being able to modulate the GABA pathway.
  • Improves sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to various health problems, and it is essential to get enough rest. Reduction of the average sleep hours combined with everyday stress can serve as a trigger for insomnia. Ashwagandha has been shown to significantly improve sleep efficiency, and sleep quality and people experienced significantly shorter time falling asleep upon intake of Ashwagandha.
  • Boosts cognitive function: Cognitive decline is usually seen in people as they age. Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble learning new things, remembering, concentrating, and making decisions. Ashwagandha may help improve immediate and general memory in people with minor cognitive impairment and helps in processing information faster.
  • Reduces depression: Stress-related disorders are a leading cause of disability which increases the risk of several other diseases and conditions. Ashwagandha reduces serum cortisol levels, reduces the over-excitation of neurons, and produces calmness thus improving mental wellbeing.
  • Reduces inflammation: Inflammation plays a critical role in healing, but chronic inflammation increases the risk of various diseases. Ashwagandha may help reduce inflammatory markers like CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α when compared to placebo

Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body's resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body's defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity