Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and Africa. The roots and leaves of the plant are used to make medicine. Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, and somnifera.
Studies suggest that ashwagandha may have a plethora of benefits for brain health. From reducing stress and anxiety to boosting cognitive function, this medicinal herb appears to be a powerhouse when it comes to promoting mental well-being. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which ashwagandha may benefit brain health.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Ashwagandha has long been used as a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. One study conducted on rats showed that ashwagandha was effective in reducing stress by acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This is the system in the body responsible for regulating stress.
Another study on humans found that ashwagandha was just as effective as lorazepam a common anti-anxiety medication in reducing symptoms of anxiety. The participants who took ashwagandha also reported feeling more calm than those who took lorazepam.
Boosts Cognitive Function
ashwagandha supplements, has also been shown to boost cognitive function. One study showed that the herb was effective in improving memory and reaction time in healthy adults. Another study found that ashwagandha improved attention span, task performance, and working memory in people with mild cognitive impairment a condition that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
Depression is another condition that ashwagandha may be effective in treating. One study showed that the herb was just as effective as imipramine a common antidepressant medication in reducing symptoms of depression.
How Ashwagandha Benefits the Brain
One of the most important brain benefits of ashwagandha is its ability to improve cognitive function. A study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that daily supplementation with ashwagandha for eight weeks improved task performance on working memory and reaction time tasks in healthy adults between 18 and 40 years old.
Ashwagandha has also been shown to help protect the brain from age-related damage. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that ashwagandha extract was able to prevent neuron cell death and reduce inflammation in the brain. This suggests that this natural remedy may help to delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
In addition to its cognitive benefits, ashwagandha has also been shown to be effective at reducing stress and anxiety. A review of studies published in Phytotherapy Research showed that this herbal remedy can effectively reduce stress hormone levels, anxiety symptoms, and heart rate. This makes ashwagandha an excellent natural treatment for conditions like anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic stress.
There you have it! These are just some of the ways in which ashwagandha may benefit brain health. If you’re looking for a natural way to reduce stress, anxiety, or depression, or if you want to boost your cognitive function, this medicinal herb is definitely worth trying.