Ashwagandha has long been a staple of Ayurveda but over the past couple of decades, western culture has started to realize its potential.
As we learn more about how damaging stress can be to the body, ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties are becoming harder to ignore. And there are plenty of other reasons for its recent rise in popularity.
Although everyone can enjoy its many health benefits, in this article we’ll look specifically at how ashwagandha can improve women’s wellbeing.
Read on to find out more.
In This Article
1. Regulated menstrual cycles
2. Increased sexual Desire
3. Weight loss
Ashwagandha is a type of shrub belonging to the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants. It’s mostly grown in India, where it’s been used for centuries as a herb.
The scientific name for ashwagandha is ‘Withania somnifera’. It’s often colloquially referred to as ‘Indian ginseng’ or ‘winter cherry’ but while the names might vary, rest assured that they all belong to the exact same plant.
Ashwagandha is one of the herbs known as ‘adaptogens’, which is what we call natural substances that can help the body improve its response to stress. Adaptogens can be ingested in a variety of forms - in ashwagandha’s case, as a tea, powder, tincture, or supplement.
To make these easily consumable products, the ashwagandha roots and berries are first dried out. Depending on the type of product being made, they might then be ground down into a powder or undergo an extraction process to turn the beneficial compounds into liquid form.
Ashwagandha is often considered a wonder herb, due to its wide range of health benefits. . Although its primary use is as an adaptogen, research indicates that it might positively affect the body in other ways, both directly and indirectly as a result of reducing stress.
Many of ashwagandha’s health benefits can help with the most common wellness concerns faced by women. The herb is believed to support everything from hormone regulation to skin appearance, providing huge benefits to those who incorporate it into their routines.
Here are just some of the ways that ashwagandha can support women’s needs and wellbeing.
1. Regulated menstrual cycles
Part of the body’s natural response to stress involves the activation of the pituitary-adrenal axis. This complex system of glands controls the production and release of hormones, including cortisol (the stress hormone) and the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.
When we’re stressed, the pituitary-adrenal axis ramps up the release of cortisol. At the same time, it suppresses the circulation of gonadotropins, the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. By disrupting the functioning of gonadotropins, stress can cause menstrual cycle irregularities.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha can lessen the impact of stress on these hormones. When used properly, it helps reduce cortisol levels, lowering the likelihood of a disrupted menstrual cycle.
2. Increased sexual Desire
A little-known fact about the Kama Sutra is that the ancient text recommends ashwagandha root as a sexual stimulant. The book was written sometime around the second century, and the plant has been used to improve both male and female libidos ever since.
While the author might not have understood why ashwagandha worked, today we have a (slightly) better idea. Our current understanding is that the root’s effects on feelings of vitality, stress reduction, and hormonal imbalances all combine to create more favorable conditions for sexual arousal.
A few studies have investigated the impact on women specifically. One study concluded that ashwagandha increases women’s desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasms. By improving these individual components of sexual satisfaction, ashwagandha has an overall positive impact on female libido.
3. Weight loss
Ashwagandha has proven useful as a weight loss support tool for some women. Although it won’t be effective on its own - nothing can replace a healthy diet and exercise - adding an ashwagandha supplement to your routine might amplify other positive steps toward weight loss.
This is because of a few different reasons. First of all is the stress factor - psychological stress is linked to weight gain and can lead to overeating as a coping mechanism. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce food cravings as well as stress levels, improving eating behaviors.
On top of being an adaptogen, ashwagandha haspowerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can speed up the body’s metabolism, helping it to burn more calories so that fat stores begin to deplete.
4. Improved skin
Skincare is a booming industry and one of the newest ingredients everyone’s raving about is ashwagandha.
The herb can also help to slow down visible aging as it’s known to enhance DHEA, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. DHEA has anti-aging effects such as brightening the skin and increasing sebum, which can help to keep skin feeling moisturized.
Ashwagandha’s antioxidant properties fight oxidative stress, which also contributes to skin aging. And there’s evidence to show that topical application can improve skin hydration and elasticity, leading to a smoother, plumper appearance.
5. Alleviation of menopause symptoms
Menopause and perimenopause can be challenging for most women. Both periods are often associated with unpleasant symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, fluctuating moods, interrupted sleep, and a lower libido.
Ongoing hormonal changes are the culprit behind these issues. As estrogen levels decrease, the body overcompensates and causes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels to increase, throwing other physiological processes out of whack.
6. Balanced moods
Modern women generally lead stressful lives, with many demands placed upon them. Ashwagandha can relieve some of this stress and help to cultivate a more balanced mood.
Although ashwagandha has many claimed health benefits, one of the things we do know for certain is that it has a positive effect on the body’s response to stress. Many studies back this up, which is probably why ashwagandha’s use as an adaptogen is what it’s most famous for.
One of these studies followed 60 adults who were allocated either a placebo or 240mg of ashwagandha extract to take every day for two months. At the end of the study, the participants who had taken ashwagandha registered lower stress levels than the control group.
Interestingly, lower stress was shown both on a self-reported scale and by the amount of cortisol in the blood. Other studies using larger quantities of ashwagandha have yielded similar results.
7. Better brain functioning
Another reason for ashwagandha’s surge in popularity as a supplement in recent years is its potential enhancement of cognitive performance. Although scientists haven’t fully figured out the reason for its brain-boosting powers, there’s building evidence to show that they do exist.
Research has demonstrated that taking ashwagandha can lead to better memory recall and more sustained focus. Another study showed that the supplement improves executive function, reaction time, processing speed, and even cognitive flexibility.
8. Restful sleep
One of ashwagandha’s most ancient uses is as a sleep aid. This makes it particularly beneficial to women, who are more likely to have trouble falling asleep than men.
Modern science supports the traditional Ayurvedic view that ashwagandha can have huge advantages for women struggling to get enough sleep. A 2019 study indicated that ashwagandha root helps improve both sleep quality and the time it takes to doze off, leading to a longer, more restful sleep.
A different study from 2020 found that taking an ashwagandha supplement over a sustained period of time leads to better sleep quality, regardless of the user’s age or health condition.
There’s no real ‘best way’ to take ashwagandha - the important thing is to do what works for you. Lots of people choose to take a supplement in the morning to set them up for the day, but if you’re after ashwagandha’s sleep-enhancing properties, you might prefer to take yours at night.
There are a variety of products on the market so it’s easy to find one that can fit into your lifestyle. From capsules to tea, and even ashwagandha gummies, there are plenty of convenient ways to get your daily dose.
Remember that it can take a few days or even weeks of consistent use for ashwagandha’s beneficial effects to become noticeable. Keep going if you don’t see any changes at first - but stop immediately and speak to your doctor if you gain any unwanted side effects.
Ashwagandha has many benefits that can help with some of the most common wellbeing-related problems and concerns faced by women today.
Its natural adaptogenic properties can provide some much-needed stress relief, while its potential uses forhormonal support are an exciting step forward.
consider trying out our extra-strength ashwagandha gummies. They can helpregulate cortisol levels and promote DHEA, leading to improvements that you can both see and feel. And they taste pretty good, too!
We always recommend speaking to your doctor before adding any new supplements to your routine, but especially if you’re pregnant or have any existing health conditions.
Does ashwagandha balance female hormones?
Ashwagandha has the potential to balance female hormones. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action.
So far, it’s thought that the herb’s effects on stress levels and thyroid functioning aid in the regulation of reproductive hormones. These hormones control the menstrual cycle, and menopause, indicating that ashwagandha could be used to balance female hormones at different stages of life.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should, however, stay away from ashwagandha. There’s not yet enough evidence to know if it’s safe to use in these scenarios.
Can ashwagandha change your period?
The effects of ashwagandha on the menstrual cycle have not been studied directly but some women have reported changes to their periods when using the herb.
This is likely due to its stress-relieving properties - stress is known to cause menstrual cycle irregularities. Consuming ashwagandha can regulate stress and establish a healthy hormonal balance, leading to changes in periods.
When should women take ashwagandha?
Women should take ashwagandha whenever it is most convenient for them. It’s more important to stick to a consistent dosage over time than it is to take at any one time of day. However, many women find that taking ashwagandha in the morning gives rise to improved energy and cognitive performance during the day.
What happens when you take ashwagandha daily?
When taken daily, ashwagandha can have various effects on the body and mind. Some of the potential changes you might notice include a reduction in stress, more energy and better focus, balanced hormones, and higher quality sleep.
How does ashwagandha make you feel?
Ashwagandha can make you feel calmer and more relaxed. It might also bring about feelings of vitality during the day and sleepiness at night. But unlike some other supplements, ashwagandha’s effects are not immediate and will only appear after continued use.
How quickly do you feel the effects of ashwagandha?
The time it takes to feel the effects of ashwagandha can vary between individuals. Some people might become aware of changes within a few days, while others have to wait a couple of weeks.