Ashwagandha is the most famous herb in Ayurvedic Medicine; traditionally Indian Medicine. While Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, its only recently that we've come to truly understand its benefits and how it works.
It’s classified as an "adaptogen," in the herbal system, meaning that it assists the body in achieving balance and adapt correctly to stress.
Other traditional benefits include blood sugar regulation, anti-cortisol effects, enhanced brain function and improved thyroid function.
KSM-66 is an ashwagandha extract made by Ixoreal Biomed, created via a process that took 14 years of R&D to develop and refine. KSM-66 is the highest-concentration extract on the world market today that is drawn using only the roots of the ashwagandha plant. It is produced using the first-of-its-kind extraction process, based on “Green-Chemistry” principles, without using alcohol or any other chemical solvents.
KSM-66 Ashwagandha's substantiated structure/function claims for its psychological and physiological wellness benefits are in accordance with the requirements of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.
Backed by several randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled human clinical trials, following are some examples of claims that KSM-66 Ashwagandha features:
Improves Cognitive Function: In Ayurveda, ashwagandha belongs to a sub-group of Rasayanas known as Medhyarasayanas. Medhya typically refers to the mind and mental/intellectual capacity. Therefore, Ashwagandha, has long been used to promote intellect and memory. The cognition-promoting effect of ashwagandha has been seen in children with memory deficits, or when memory is compromised following head injury, or a prolonged illness and in old age. Additionally, ashwagandha can improve all aspects of cognition, including mental clarity, concentration and alertness. In an 8 week study, people who supplemented ashwagandha showed significant improvements compared to those who did not in both immediate and general memory. Those who took ashwagnahda showed significantly greater improvement in executive function, sustained attention, and information-processing speed. 1
Increased Strength, Muscularity & Physical Performance: Ashwagandha is known to improve testosterone production, having an anabolic effect that can enhance physical performance. In fact, studies have found that ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength, which was proven through various exercise tests. 2
Sexual Tonic: One of Ashwgandha's most well-known benefits is that is tonifies the sexual glands and improves fertility health, libido and drive. It has been proven to increase sperm count, and improve female sexual desire/function, mostly through its ability to increase progesterone and testosterone, while decreasing the libido-busting stress hormones cortisol and prolactin. 3
Anti-Anxiety: Ashwagandha is a nervine herb and is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system. Researchers have found that it blocks the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. It also increases GABA and lowers cortisol, which help make the body more resilient to stress. 4
For example, one 60-day study done on 64 people with chronic stress found that those who took ashwagandha showed a 69% average reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to the placebo group. 8
In another six-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared to the placebo. 9
Depression Relief: In addition to its anti-anxiety benefits, there are a few studies suggesting ashwagandha may help alleviate depression. In one controlled 60-day study in 64 stressed adults, those who took 600 mg of high-concentration ashwagandha extract per day reported a 79% reduction in severe depression. 10, 11, 12
Lowers Cortisol: Cortisol is the classic stress hormone, secreted by the adrenal glands to cope with stress with progesterone is deficient; as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low. And for most people, cortisol levels tend to be produced much more than the protective progesterone, which attributes to accelerated aging, weight gain, hypothyroidism, hair loss and more.
Luckily, studies have verified that ashwagandha can reduce cortisol levels, upwards of 20%. In one study done on chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared to the control group. Those taking the highest dose had a 30% reduction, on average. 13, 14
The Bottom Line
Ashwgandha is powerfully therapeutic herb, one that targets the major root issue for most people, which is elevated stress hormones. Now keep in mind, all of these studies were done on the high-potency KSM-66 Ashwagandha, which you can find HERE.