Ashwagandha, otherwise known as Indian Ginseng, is an ancient herb which has been used in naturopathic medicine for thousands of years.
Ashwagandha has been widely publicized for its ability to reduce stress and relax the body. Recent research not only supports these physical benefits of ashwagandha but reveals that there are cognitive benefits of consuming ashwagandha as well.
In a recent study, ashwagandha was shown to improve the cognitive and psychomotor functioning of male adults in only 14 days. In the study, 20 males were tested on 6 different neuropsychological assessments.
They were administered ashwagandha in tablets, and after 14 days they had an increased performance in 5 out of 6 of the tests. The placebo group did not show any improvement, which helps verify that the improvement in performance really was due to the effects of ashwagandha itself (1).
Other studies show that ashwagandha has healing effects on the brain through reversing toxicity in the brain(2). Toxicity in the brain can be caused bu neurodegenerative disorders or even oxidative stress. By reversing the damage, ashwagandha can aid in improving memory and other cognitive issues.
How Does Ashwagandha Work?
Withanolide A is the active ingredient found in Ashwagandha. Withanolide A has been studied in some detail, and many studies have come out revealing the positive effects it has on the brain.
One particular study published in 2005 by the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that Withanolide A clearly increases the formation of presynaptic and postsynaptic structures(3).
What exactly does that mean? Well, an increase in axon and dendrites of neurons obviously means that messages will be conducted faster through the brain. Not only will messages be conducted sooner, but depending on which region of the brain is being affected, Withanolide A may be able to improve memory and even motor functioning.
An increase in pre and postsynaptic structures further explains how ashwagandha is able to repair neuronal damage done to the brain. By creating these brain cell components, ashwagandha is able to speed up the regeneration of damaged brain cells.
What Are Some Other Benefits Of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is not only an excellent herb for improving the neuronal connections in your brain, but it comes with an entire host of other health benefits. One of the benefits of ashwagandha is that it is excellent for reducing blood pressure.
Many studies have revealed that consuming ashwagandha leads to an increase in insulin secretion in the blood which therefore stabilizes blood glucose levels. More amazingly, in one particular study, ashwagandha was shown to rival effects that standard medication has on blood glucose levels of diabetic patients(4).
Consuming ashwagandha is also proven to reduce stress by reducing cortisol levels in the blood. A study conducted at the Research and Development Center in India revealed that individuals who consumed ashwagandha had up to a 30% reduction in their cortisol levels within 60 days.
As most of us already know, cortisol is a direct indicator of how much stress you are experiencing.Ashwagandha impacts the HPA axis in our brain which could be in-part how it manages to lower cortisol levels.
Ashwagandha is a great herb with many therapeutic benefits. Ashwagandha can also be taken as part of a supplement or drink. NeuroActiv-6 is a natural base drink which includes ashwagandha as one of its brain-boosting ingredients. You can read more about it here.
New research is showing that ashwagandha not only reduces stress and balances blood sugar, but it also benefits your cognitive health by improving the pathway of neuronal signaling and brain cell regeneration.
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