- Ashwagandha boosts fertility by balancing hormones and reducing oxidative stress.
- It helps manage menopause symptoms and improves hormonal balance.
- The herb is beneficial for treating Female Sexual Dysfunction.
- Effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
- Fights inflammation and shows promise in cancer treatment.
- Helps lower blood sugar levels, potentially aiding in Type II Diabetes management.
- Supports sleep quality by calming brain receptors and reducing cortisol levels.
- Consult a healthcare provider for the appropriate dose of ashwagandha, available in forms like ashwagandha powder and ashwagandha root extract.
- Generally safe for up to three months; not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania Somnifera, Indian Winter Cherry, or Indian Ginseng, holds a significant place in Ayurvedic medicine. For thousands of years, it has functioned as a "rasayana," an elixir aimed at preserving youth, enhancing vitality, and extending longevity. This herb commands respect for its potent properties that contribute to overall health and well-being.
While Ashwagandha often garners attention for enhancing male sexual vigour and virility, its efficacy also extends to women in a variety of ways. Here's what you need to know:
7 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha for Women
Ashwagandha is one of the more well-known traditional herbs lab-tested to authenticate its purported benefits. As a result, we have been able to identify several science-backed health benefits for women.
1. Boosts Fertility
Studies show that Ashwagandha benefits the treatment of infertility in women. The herb helps balance hormones and reduces oxidative stress. This in turn improves the chances of conception and quality egg production.
2. Helps Improve Hormonal Balance and Manage Menopause
Consuming ashwagandha may help improve thyroid function through the regulation of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. Thyroid balancing activities like these help reduce the symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as fatigue, mood swings, and irregular periods. Taking ashwagandha supplements may also help menopausal and peri-menopausal women manage negative symptoms better through the increased production of a type of estrogen called serum estradiol.
Ashwagandha may also help improve cognitive function in menopausal women. It may provide support against cognitive changes and memory lapses associated with menopause, thanks to its potential cognitive-enhancing effects and neuroprotective properties.
3. Beneficial in the Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)
Female Sexual Dysfunction or FSD can include symptoms like reduced libido, dryness in the vagina, reduced genital perception, reduced arousal, pain during intercourse, and problems achieving orgasm. Although research is in its early days, findings suggest that ashwagandha can be beneficial in improving sexual function in women experiencing FDS without causing adverse side effects.
4. Helps Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Ashwagandha functions as an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps the body restore balance during times of stress and anxiety. Adaptogens help reduce stress and anxiety through optimal hormone control (i.e. regulating the production of cortisol, the stress hormone) and improving the way the body responds to or manages stress.
One study even found that ashwagandha can be just as effective for treating anxiety as other pharmaceutical drugs minus the adverse side effects.
Because of its effects on cortisol, initial research has also established a potential link between ashwagandha and a decrease in symptoms of depression. More specifically, the study found that ashwagandha helped reduce depression by 79% in participants over a 60-day period.
5. Fights Inflammation and Cancer
Studies show that ashwagandha may help reduce inflammation in the body. Traditional drug treatments often come with potential side effects, making Ashwagandha an appealing safer alternative. However, more research is required to substantiate this claim.
Based on research, a compound present in ashwagandha, called Withaferin A (WA), shows positive effects in fighting against inflammation and cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic inflammatory diseases rank as one of the most significant health threats to humans.
6. Helps Reduce Blood Sugar
Ashwagandha appears to lower blood sugar levels, suggesting it could potentially help in the treatment of Type II Diabetes. One of the ways Ashwagandha achieves this is by improving insulin sensitivity and increasing insulin secretion.
7. Supports Sleep Quality
Ashwagandha helps calm the GABA receptors in the brain. Research indicates that GABA, when present at adequate levels, helps to lower fear and anxiety by calming overexcited neurons. Abnormally low levels of GABA have been associated with conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and sleep disorders.
Ashwagandha may alleviate insomnia by lowering cortisol levels, which are often elevated at night in people who struggle to fall asleep. Ashwagandha is a safe but powerful herb that doesn't just help put you to sleep. It also helps improve the quality of your sleep so you wake up feeling more refreshed, alert, and rested.
How to Take Ashwagandha
As for the dose of ashwagandha, the general recommended daily intake can range from 250–500 milligrams (mg).
You can consume this adaptogenic herb in various forms: as ashwagandha powder mixed with water, milk, or honey, or as ashwagandha root extract in capsule or liquid form.
Regardless of the form you choose, consulting a healthcare provider for the appropriate dosage is crucial, especially if you're taking other medications or have underlying health conditions.
Note: Although ashwagandha has many benefits for women, pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals with autoimmune diseases should still consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplementation like ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha has shown a remarkable array of science-backed health benefits that only serve to underscore its potential as a powerful 100% natural health supplement.
The herb has managed to capture the attention of scientists, researchers, as well as health enthusiasts because of its several unique properties, such as the ability to reduce stress, and inflammation, and regulate hormones.
While further research is essential to fully grasp the herb's potential for overall health, the existing body of evidence is a promising step in the right direction.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What are the side effects of ashwagandha for women?
Taking ashwagandha orally appears to be safe for up to three months, provided you do not exceed the recommended doses.
If you're consuming a large dosage of ashwagandha, it can cause diarrhoea, stomach upset, and vomiting because it has a tendency to irritate the digestive system. In very rare cases, it can cause issues with the liver.
Women who are pregnant should avoid taking Ashwagandha, as it may increase the risk of miscarriage. It is also not advisable for nursing mothers to consume ashwagandha as it can pass through the breast milk to the infant.
Q2. What are ashwagandha's benefits for skin?
Ashwagandha helps reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol, one of the body's main stress hormones, can have detrimental effects when produced in excessive amounts. Specifically, high levels of cortisol can lead to various skin issues, such as acne, dryness, and premature aging.
For example, it can inhibit important compounds and proteins like Hyaluronan, elastin, and collagen, causing your skin to become dry or dull and age faster. Ashwagandha can help restore your skin's moisture and suppleness through its effects on cortisol.
There is also some evidence to suggest that ashwagandha can help fight skin cancer because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Q3. What are ashwagandha's benefits for hair?
Chronic stress can cause hair loss. Early research shows that ashwagandha can help stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth. Because of its antioxidant properties, ashwagandha also helps combat free radicals, therefore protecting hair follicles from damage and premature aging.
There is also some research to suggest that ashwagandha may help increase melanin, which is the pigment responsible for your hair colouring. In other words, it could help prevent premature greying.
Last but not least, ashwagandha has shown benefits in regulating hormone production, specifically thyroid functioning, which has been linked to hair loss. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
Q4. What does ashwagandha do to a female body?
Ashwagandha has shown multiple science-backed health benefits for women based on existing clinical research.
For women specifically, it can help balance hormones, specifically the activity of the thyroid, which, when imbalanced, can cause tiredness, mood swings, and irregular periods.
There is also some evidence to suggest that ashwagandha helps alleviate the symptoms of menopause. Because of its ability to balance hormones, it has shown potential to treat infertility as well as sexual dysfunction in women.
In terms of general benefits, ashwagandha can benefit women by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. It can help fight inflammation and cancer. It can help balance your blood sugar levels and even improve the quality and depth of your sleep, helping you put insomnia to bed.
Q5. Can women take ashwagandha every day?
Ashwagandha is seen to be safe when taken for a period of no more than 3 months at a maximum dosage of 1000mg. It is recommended that pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid ashwagandha, as no research currently exists on the herb's long-term effects in either category.