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The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha And The Herb’s History

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What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an herb and plant that belongs to the nightshade family. Also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, as a tonic and adaptogen – a substance to help the body cope with stress, anxiety and fatigue, and restore balance.

Ashwagandha has gained popularity as a natural supplement for enhancing mental clarity and supporting physical vitality. Its diverse health benefits make it a sought after herbal remedy. 

What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?

Several scientific reviews have researched the rising popularity of Ashwagandha.

There have been several human trials investigating its effectiveness in addressing diverse health conditions. Most studies reported positive effects of Ashwagandha to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms.

This study showed ashwagandha extract can improve performance on cognitive tasks, executive function, attention and reaction time.

Ashwagandha for Anxiety and Stress

There have been several studies that show Ashwagandha can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.

In 2014, a literature review of five human trials all saw benefits of using Withania somnifera/Ashwagandha to reduce anxiety and perceived stress.

A more recent review of 12 studies, undertaken in 2022, showed that in a sample size of just over 1,000 people aged between 25 and 48, a dose of between 300mg and 600mg of Ashwagandha had a significant anxiety reducing effect.

Ashwagandha for Cognitive Function

Several studies have also undertaken research into the use of an Ashwagandha supplement and cognitive function.

This study published in 2017 found a group of 25 people who were given 300mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day demonstrated significant improvement for logical memory and executive function, compared to a control group given a placebo.

Similarly, a review of five clinical studies published in 2019 analysed a wide population, revealing that in most instances Ashwaghanda or Withania somnifera extract improved performance on cognitive tasks, attention and reaction time.

Ashwagandha for Strength and Performance

Research indicates that ashwagandha may help improve physical performance, and have positive effects on muscle mass, strength and endurance, in trained males.

Velocity and power increase with the use of Ashwagandha in training has been shown, as well as the potential capacity to improve muscular strength and size in the lower limbs of young men taking part in resistance training.

A study published in 2022 took a group of 57 males between the age of 18 and 50 with little experience in resistance training, into an eight week study. One group given 300mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily, with the control group taking placebos.

Both groups undertook eight weeks of resistance training – the group who consumed ashwagandha twice daily had significantly greater increases in muscle strength for bench press and leg extension.

Their chest and arm muscles were significantly stronger and their exercise induced muscle damage was reduced. The group who consumed ashwagandha also experienced a significantly greater decrease in body fat percentage.

What is KSM-66® Ashwagandha?

KSM-66® Ashwagandha has the highest concentration of active ingredient of the major root-only ashwagandha extracts currently for sale.

The product in clinical trials was proven to reduce stress and stress related food cravings, as well as increase endurance and strength.

KSM-66® use purely Ashwagandha roots for its extract, which is used in several major supplements and products around the world, based partially on the traditional practice of using Ashwagandha roots for internal consumption.

Bulk Nutrients Expert - Ebony Abblitt

Ebony Abblitt

Ebony is our resident wordsmith here at Bulk! A reforming journalist and a graduate of the University of Tasmania, she's our resident copywriter, cat mum, pilates princess and (self appointed) Chief Swiftie!

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  1. Lopresti, A., & Smith, S. (2021). Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) for the treatment and enhancement of mental and physical conditions: A systematic review of human trials. Journal of Herbal Medicine, 28, 100434.
  2. Ng, Q., Loke, W., Foo, N., Tan, W., Chan, H., Lim, D., & Yeo, W. (2019). A systematic review of the clinical use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to ameliorate cognitive dysfunction. Phytotherapy Research, 34, 583-590.
  3. Does Ashwagandha supplementation have a beneficial effect on the management of anxiety and stress? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials - PubMed (
  4. Pratte, M., Nanavati, K., Young, V., & Morley, C. (2014). An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 20(12), 901-8.
  5. Sandhu, J., Shah, B., Shenoy, S., Chauhan, S., Lavekar, G., & Padhi, M. (2010). Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. International Journal of Ayurveda Research, 1, 144-149.
  6. Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9
  7. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599-612. DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970

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