Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 2,500 years, offers many positive benefits including boosting memory and enhancing brain health. (1)
You may not think to reach for the Ashwagandha when you’re starting to feel your brain get a little fuzzy or you’re having a harder time recalling information, but there is solid research to back up why this special herb should be added into your daily brain supplement regimen.
As one of the most researched of the adaptogenic herbs, Ashwagandha has been shown to inhibit the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain while reducing oxidative stress (a factor related to the development/progression of Alzheimer’s disease). These studies suggest that by reducing oxidative stress Ashwagandha can even help brain function and spatial memory problems caused by injury or disease. (2)(3)(4)
In one controlled study, healthy men reported significant improvements in their reaction time and task performance when taking Ashwagandha each day as compared to men who received a placebo.
Total Body Benefits
As an adaptogenic herb, Ashwagandha works throughout our entire body, not just within our brain. Here are some other fantastic benefits of Ashwagandha:
The high level of antioxidants in Ashwagandha make it an excellent beauty herb. Ayurvedic practitioners have recommended using Ashwagandha for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions for centuries. It has the ability to counteract wrinkles, dark spots, and fine lines.
It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties make this herb a great immune system supporter. Ashwagandha increases the production of white blood cells in our body, which helps our body fight off unwanted invaders. In addition, it helps to improve our digestion and flush toxins out of the body, which keeps our gut microbiome healthy.
Healthy Blood Sugar Levels & Cholesterol
Several studies have shown Ashwagandha’s ability to reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those with diabetes (5)(6)(7). Additionally, one small study of people with type 2 diabetes who supplemented with Ashwagandha for 30 days lowered fasting blood sugar levels as effectively as an oral diabetes medication.
Stress & Cortisol Reduction
Ashwagandha is incredibly potent when it comes to reducing stress. Researchers have shown it to block the stress pathway in the brain by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. (5)
In one study in chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with Ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol compared to the control group (cortisol is known as a “stress hormone” because your adrenal glands release it in response to stress). Those taking the highest dose had a 30% reduction, on average. (6)(7) In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the supplemental group reported a 69% average reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to 11% in the placebo group. (6) For those suffering from anxiety disorders, studies have shown it to effectively reduce symptoms. (8)
How to Consume Ashwagandha
In Sanskrit, “Ashwagandha” means “smell of a horse” due to its ability to pass on horse-like strength and energy to the person who consumes it. While it doesn’t taste or smell like a horse, it’s earthy flavor does pair well with coffee or chocolate flavors.
Our favorite way to easily take in this herb is by eating a Brainstorm Chocolate Bar, which offers other brain-boosting herbs like Cordyceps, Maca, Mucuna Pruriens, and of course, Cacao.