Ashwagandha: The Powerful Herb for Hormone Health
3,000 years ago people realized that Ashwagandha could help with stress, fatigue, anxiety and now we know it can help your hormone health!1 These little shrubs with yellow flowers have helped people with health for centuries. This herb, which is native India and North Africa, goes by many names such as the withania somnifera, Indian ginseng, or winter cherry. Though no matter what name you use for it, you won’t want to miss those powerful properties. Which is why you’ll find it in S’moo!
That’s right, as a S’moo Babe, you may have heard of ashwagandha and thought, why is this in S’moo?
You are about to find out! S’moo was originally created to help women manage their PCOS symptoms and ashwagandha is often recommended for PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) for many reasons:
1. Lower Blood Sugar Levels. One study found that ashwagandha increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is very common in women with PCOS and since insulin plays a large role in hormone health, it is no wonder why Ashwagandha could help.2 Excess insulin (insulin resistance) can result in your ovaries producing more testosterone, leading to menstrual cycle irregularity, as well as acne and often hirsutism. Taking back control of your insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity may help reverse some of the symptoms of PCOS.3
2. Reduce Cortisol. When cortisol levels are abnormally high it can lead to increased fat storage in the abdomen as well as elevated adrenal androgen production in PCOS.4 Cortisol is a hormone released by your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands sit above your kidneys and release hormones into your bloodstream, and likewise respond to feedback from other hormones and chemicals in your body. We can cause adrenal exhaustion from putting stress on our adrenals when we eat carbohydrates (causing your blood sugar to rise too quickly and drop rapidly, causing a stress response) and eventually they become incapable of repairing themselves.
High levels of cortisol can lead to the following symptoms:
- Elevated adrenal androgen production in PCOS
- Increased fat storage in the abdomen & weight gain as cortisol increases appetite signals and shifts metabolism to store fat.
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Increased fatigue and disruption of sleep patterns
- Lower immune system, making infection more common.
Many of these symptoms of high cortisol describe many PCOS symptoms. In one study of ashwagandha, a group that took 125mg of ashwagandha once or twice a day reduced cortisol levels. A second study was done with 300 mg of ashwagandha with the same results. Higher dosage resulted in more symptom relief.
3. Reduce Inflammation. Chronic inflammation is also called low–grade inflammation because it produces a steady, low-level of inflammation throughout the body, this is a common symptom for women with PCOS. Chronic low-grade inflammation is a contributor to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is believed to be created from a higher amount of androgens, which creates increased insulin, and these higher insulin levels can cause weight gain which causes more inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a symptom of oxidative stress which is now recognized to play a central role in PCOS.5 Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are out of balance. Most of the current studies done on the effects of ashwagandha on inflammation are through test rats, however the results are promising and show decreased inflammation.6 Another study also done on rats found ashwagandha reduced inflammatory markers and improved insulin sensitivity. 7 If you are struggling with low-grade inflammation an anti-inflammatory diet may also help you find symptom relief.
“Ashwagandha might act as an effective anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory product, and this can be used as a complementary and alternative treatment for the prevention of various types of inflammatory and auto-immune disorders.” –Pharmacognosy Journal
4. Reducing Stress and Improving Mood. Ashwagandha is safe and effective adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs and roots that help in combating stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.8 “These herbs in times of increased stress, normalize the physiological process of the body and help the body adapt to changes.” 9 In a recent study ashwagandha roots greatly reduced stress and anxiety, improving the general well-being of adults being studied.
5. Lowers Cholesterol and Triglycerides. According to studies ashwagandha lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, which may improve heart health. One study10 done on rats, found that ashwagandha lowered total cholesterol by 53% and triglyceride levels by nearly 45%. Cholesterol contributes to fatty buildup in the arteries and is referred to LDL cholesterol. Where as triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. What causes heart attack and stroke risk are a combination of high triglyceride level & high LDL (bad) cholesterol or low HDL (good) cholesterol. Which is why using ashwagandha to lower these levels can help.11
6. Improved Brain function & Memory. Based on test-tube and animal studies, ashwagandha may improve brain function and memory. Which is great because how often do women with PCOS talk about brain fog? It’s a common symptom! 12, 13 One study on humans, found after 8-weeks of 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract, twice daily, increased their memory and task performance significantly.14 It seems in all styles of studies ashwagandha supplements show promise in improving brain function, memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks.
7. Help Induce Ovulation. Ashwagandha has been shown to help induce ovulation and correct irregular menstrual cycles, and even menstrual pain. This is because ashwagandha enhances the endocrine system and thus helps regulating the thyroid and adrenal glands.15 These glands are responsible for maintaining the balance of the reproductive hormones. Plus an added bonus is ashwagandha is very rich in iron.
Here at The S’moo Co. we have had thousands of customers with PCOS use S’moo and have amazing results, ashwagandha is one of several important ingredients that helps balance hormones back to their optimal levels.
It is important to note that with natural supplements, although there are many studies to prove efficacy, no natural supplement works the same way for each person. We recommend talking to your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements to make sure they are the right fit for you.
This content is strictly the opinion of S’moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S’moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.