Ashwagandha Health Benefits
Ashwagandha health benefits include an ability to help the body resist stress and to treat erectile dysfunction. It may also help fight prostate cancer. The roots and berries of the ashwagandha plant contain a variety of compounds that are responsible for its health advantages.
Ashwagandha is a popular Ayurvedic herb that has a long history of use to help manage strain, fatigue, pain, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Among the reported ashwagandha health benefits is an ability to improve energy. In fact, the word “ashwagandha” means “sweat of a horse.” The suggestion is that people who take this herb will have the strength and sexual prowess of a horse.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a substance that promotes the body’s ability to resist stress. The active constituents of ashwagandha include alkaloids, saponins, steroidal lactones, and withanolides. Recently, two studies found evidence that ashwagandha could be helpful in preventing prostate cancer progression and promoting cancer cell death. (Aalinkeel 2008; Srinivasan 2007) Other in vitro studies have shown that ashwagandha reduced the growth of various types of cancer cells without harming normal cells. (Jayaprakasam 2003; Widodo 2007) However, researchers have yet to show if ashwagandha health benefits extend to an ability to fight prostate cancer or other cancers in people.
The roots and berries of ashwagandha are used to make supplements. No dose has been identified for treatment of erectile dysfunction or prostate related conditions. Consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider about the most appropriate dose for you to potentially enjoy ashwagandha health benefits. Side effects associated with large doses of ashwagandha include stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Aalinkeel R, Hu Z, Nair BB, Sykes DE, Reynolds JL, Mahajan SD, Schwartz SA. Genomic analysis highlights the role of the JAK-STAT signaling in the anti-proliferative effects of dietary flavonoid “ashwagandha” in prostate cancer cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2008 Jan 10.
Jayaprakasam B, Zhang Y, Seeram NP et al. Growth inhibition of human tumor cell lines by withanolides from Withania somnifera leaves. Life Sci 2003 Nov 21; 74(1): 125-32.
Srinivasan S, Ranga RS, Burikhanov R, Han SS, Chendil D. Par-4-dependent apoptosis by the dietary compound withaferin A in prostate cancer cells. Cancer Res 2007 Jan 1; 67(1): 246-53
Widodo N, Kaur K, Shrestha BG et al. Selective killing of cancer cells by leaf extract of Ashwagandha: identification of a tumor-inhibitory factor and the first molecular insights to its effect. Clin Cancer Res 2007 Apr 1; 13(7): 2298-2306.