Ancient Ayurvedic herb has body mass and heart health benefits
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, Sanskrit for “the smell of a horse”—meaning to impart the vigor and strength of a horse—is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb contains many compounds with medicinal benefits including support for the immune system, high antioxidant properties, and as an “adaptogen,” which helps the body adjust to stress.
Weight loss and chronic stress
Chronic stress has a link to many health conditions, one of the most common being obesity. In this study, 52 adults under chronic stress took a placebo or 300 mg of ashwagandha twice per day.
After eight weeks, the placebo group had lost 1.5 percent of body weight compared to 3 percent weight loss for those taking ashwagandha. Body mass index scores also improved, with the placebo group improving 1.4 percent, and the ashwagandha group improving 3 percent.
Doctors wanted to test the effects on endurance and quality of life in healthy, athletic male and female adults. In this study, 50 healthy, athletic men and women, age 20 to 45, with normal body mass index scores between 18.5 and 24.9, took a placebo or 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice per day.
After eight weeks, compared to the start of the study, those taking ashwagandha saw an increase in maximum oxygen capacity 3.5 times greater than the placebo group. After 12 weeks, those taking ashwagandha saw a further 15 percent increase in maximum oxygen capacity, which was also three times greater than the increase in the placebo group. Those taking ashwagandha reported better psychological health and having more positive social relationships.
Natural Insights For Wellbeing January 2017
Reference: JEBCAM; April, 2016, Published Online
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