Withania somnifera (WS), commonly known as Ashwagandha, is a medicinal plant with a robust history in traditional Indian medicine, has long been celebrated for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-stress properties. However, the precise mechanisms of action and optimal usage of this botanical remedy have remained elusive.
This systematic review, analyzing clinical trials conducted prior to May 2023, seeks to illuminate the impact of Ashwagandha supplementation on cortisol levels in stressed humans.
The review, spanning various databases including EMBASE, PubMed, Google Scholar, CENTRAL, and Scopus, meticulously sifted through 4788 articles. Of these, only 9 studies met the rigorous selection criteria, exhibiting diverse designs, formulations, dosages, and treatment durations (30–112 days).
Subjects in these studies presented varying degrees of stress.
Key Findings from Systematic Review on Ashwagandha’s Impact on Cortisol Levels
- The selected studies collectively indicate that supplementation with Withania somnifera consistently results in a reduction of cortisol secretion in stressed individuals.
- Encouragingly, no significant adverse effects were reported across the spectrum of studies.
On the other hand, none of the studies bothered to check how the reduction in cortisol might impact adrenal function and long-term consequences.
The brief-term supplementation with Withania somnifera appears to hold promise in reducing stress levels, particularly by lowering cortisol secretion.
The thousand-year history of WS in traditional Indian medicine underscores its significance, but the active ingredients in WS exhibit diverse properties, and supplementation for a period ranging from 30 to 112 days demonstrates a consistent stress-reducing effect by lowering cortisol levels. Although, the absence of comprehensive assessments on adrenal function in existing studies demonstrates the need for future research in this area.
As WS continues to gain popularity, the call for evidence-based guidelines and medical supervision in its consumption becomes imperative for harnessing its potential benefits while ensuring individual well-being.
Editor’s Note: Natural Wellness offers Standardized Ashwagandha (1000 mg per 2 capsules, daily).