The ashwagandha benefits for women are numerous, and if you haven’t heard of the herbal adaptogen, now’s the time to inform yourself. Adaptogens are having a moment, but they have been used in the Ayurvedic traditions of India, as well as in traditional Chinese medicine, for centuries. Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng and winter cherry, is an herb that is particular beneficial for women who are trying to lose weight or manage their stress levels. Read on to find out how ashwagandha can help you live your best life.
Experts believe that adaptogens help to bring the body back into balance by affecting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis — the bodily system that regulates stress and the hormones associated with stress. Ashwagandha is an herb that adapts to your individual body’s needs and can help combat different things that put your body under stress, which in turn, can improve sleep quality and aid in weight loss.
The ashwagandha benefits are particularly important for women, since according to the American Psychological Association, they are more likely to report higher levels of stress than men. As we know, chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health, causing issues like insomnia, anxiety and weight gain. Supplementing with ashwagandha, luckily, has shown clinical efficacy in managing these issues. Plus, it's an all-natural alternative without harmful side effects. Can you say miracle product?
Ashwagandha for Weight Loss
Chronic stress can cause elevated levels of the hormone cortisol, and studies show this can cause women to retain fat, particularly in the midsection. Since ashwagandha is a cortisol-regulator, it can be beneficial when trying to maintain or lose weight.
In a 2016 study of adults under chronic stress, 52 subjects received either 300 milligrams of ashwagandha twice daily or a placebo. The cortisol levels, BMI, and body weight were measured at the beginning of the trial, as well as after four and eight weeks of treatment. The group taking ashwagandha showed significant improvements in all three measurements.
Similarly, ashwagandha has shown to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, which can also affect weight loss. In one 2000 study, supplementation with ashwagandha significantly decreased blood sugar levels, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels — all which influence weight!
Ashwagandha for Anxiety and Sleep
Ashwagandha is most known for its ability to reduce anxiety, thus improve sleep. In a 2012 study, 64 chronically stressed people experiencing anxiety were either supplemented with ashwagandha or a placebo. The group taking the ashwagandha experienced a 69 percent reduction in both anxiety and insomnia, while the control group only experienced an 11 percent reduction. What a difference!
Supplementing with this herb is a low-risk and all-natural solution for weight management, anxiety, and insomnia, as well as related conditions like high cholesterol and high blood sugar. What’s more, ashwagandha is relatively cheap. You can integrate it into your health regimen for under $15. Be sure to keep in mind that adaptogens work over time. You need to take them consistently so your body can get used to them, before you see results.
You can take ashwagandha in a few different ways. Powdered versions, like this one from Feel Good Organics ($14.49, Amazon), can be added to smoothies or mixed with warm milk and honey (as they do in Ayurveda!). Or you can take in capsule form, like these from Amazing India ($11.49, Amazon). As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.