Ashwagandha is a time-tested adaptogen known to help lower cortisol (the hormone your body produces in response to stress) and promote a feeling of calm. For centuries, researchers and health practitioners alike have known that ashwagandha benefits are far-reaching, as it’s been used to aid in quality sleep as well as boost energy and focus.
But did you know that this Ayurvedic herb can even help support a healthy body composition? And the truth of the matter is that while this herb has positive effects for everyone, it’s the incredible ashwagandha benefits for women that I want to share with you. If you’re looking for a health tool that can support you in almost every area of your health and wellbeing, this is one herb you need to learn more about.
What Is Ashwagandha?
As I mentioned above, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb, also known as an adaptogen, meaning its primary role is to help your body adapt to stress in an effort to maintain homeostasis. And this stress can be caused by a variety of stimuli, such as an exercise, feeling worried or overwhelmed, and even certain conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Now, the ashwagandha plant is an evergreen shrub primarily found in India, Africa, and in some parts of the Middle East. If you’re wondering what ashwagandha can do for you, you may be interested to learn that, historically, Ayurvedic practitioners used both the roots and leaves for therapeutic purposes—primarily to boost energy, help cool inflammation, and support the relief of both anxiety and pain—a practice that continues today.
So, why is ashwagandha so versatile and effective? Research has shown that ashwagandha benefits are so vast primarily due to its impact on cortisol (also known as the stress hormone). When your cortisol is high, it can lead to elevated levels of both blood sugar and blood pressure along with an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more. That’s why supporting your body’s ability to handle stress and then return to its normal state is so critical—and why ashwagandha is so revered. And this is especially true for women, as research has shown that the reported stress levels of women are, on average, 25 percent higher than those reported in men. Furthermore, levels of stress, anxiety, worry, anger, and sadness in women are currently at a 10-year high, mainly due to the traditional gender role demands of caregiving in combination with more modern workloads.
As you can see, it’s more important now than ever before for women to adequately support their stress response, which is the reason why we need to be acutely aware of the ways ashwagandha benefits women specifically.
Top 4 Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
So, what does ashwagandha do for females? Here are a few of the primary ashwagandha benefits for women.
1. Supports a healthy stress response
Research has shown that when you take ashwagandha daily, it helps to balance cortisol levels, which supports your body’s ability to effectively respond to stress. As noted above, this is one of the major ashwagandha benefits for females due to their reported high levels of stress. In fact, studies have shown that taking 250 mg of ashwagandha daily can decrease perceived stress by as much as 33 percent!
2. Promotes feelings of calm
It’s estimated that 264 million people across the world have an anxiety disorder, and women have been found to be almost twice as likely to receive this diagnosis as men. Moreover, females are almost 80 percent more likely to experience anxiety in comparison to men, and research has shown that chronically elevated cortisol levels cause anxiety. Given this data, it’s easy to see how ashwagandha benefits women experiencing anxiety through its ability to lower and balance cortisol levels, resulting supporting feelings of calm
3. Supports quality sleep
Did you know that taking ashwagandha benefits your ability to fall asleep easier as well as sleep longer sleep more soundly? Amazingly, research has shown that when it was taken daily for 10 weeks, ashwagandha benefits overall wellness by helping to improve sleep quality and fighting insomnia as well as promoting mental clarity upon waking. The researchers believed this effect was due to ashwagandha’s ability to activate GABA, the neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.
4. Boosts energy and focus
As noted above, ashwagandha benefits extend to promoting mental clarity, which supports the ability to focus. In fact, a recent study confirmed that taking ashwagandha daily for a month increased the participants’ perceived energy levels and mental clarity. Meanwhile, other studies have found that taking ashwagandha improved reaction times, attention spans, and even memory!
How Ashwagandha Benefits Healthy Beauty
Let’s take a moment to discuss how ashwagandha benefits your physical appearance. Believe it or not, research has shown that ashwagandha benefits for hair as well as ashwagandha benefits for skin should be considered. Here’s why: Taking ashwagandha has been linked to having increased levels of the hormone DHEA, which is known to help fight hair loss and support healthy hair growth. Meanwhile, ashwagandha intake has also been associated with both improved autophagy and increased collagen production, which directly impacts not only the health of your scalp—further promoting hair growth—but also skin health. Interestingly, it’s also been shown to support a healthy body composition by helping to decrease body fat.
Ashwagandha Supplement: How to Use
When sourcing the best ashwagandha supplement for you, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, look for a certified organic ashwagandha supplement that utilizes both the root and leaves of the plant to offer greater levels of beneficial compounds than you would receive from the root alone. Second, in terms of the amount, make sure it contains at least 250 mg, which is the ashwagandha dosage researched and clinically tested in 14 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.
Finally, when it comes to ashwagandha side effects, this supplement is generally regarded as safe for most people. But because it could cause some interactions with certain medications, you should always speak with your physician before starting a new product or health routine, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
- Ashwagandha is an herb known to help your body adapt to stress in an effort to maintain homeostasis by lowering cortisol levels.
- As a result, some of the top ashwagandha benefits include: supporting a healthy stress response, promoting feelings of calm, supporting quality sleep, and boosting energy and focus.
- Additional ashwagandha benefits for women include supporting hair growth and skin health.
- Make sure to choose a high-quality certified organic ashwagandha supplement that utilizes both the root and leaves of the plant that contains at least 250 mg and discuss your plans with your physician before adding this adaptogen to your health regimen.