Ashwagandha: A miracle from nature or just a placebo?


Ashwagandha, also called withania intoxicating, Indian ginseng or winter cherry is an inconspicuous, always green shrub that is sought after for its positive health effects. 

Miraculous effects are attributed to him, such as a beneficial effect on the psyche, support for heart health or support for the immune system

But what do experts say about it? Is it really a miracle herb or is the only placebo effect behind the relief after its use?

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an herb growing mainly in India, but it can also be found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, but also in Europe. 

It grows to a height of 0.5 to 1.5 m, but if it has ideal conditions, it can grow even more. The small leaves have a green to green-yellow color and the fruits from red berries. However, more than the fruits themselves, the roots are used from ashwagandhu, which is characterized by a bitter taste. 

This herb was used for its effects in the Middle Ages, although it initially served as a narcotic, especially in Mesopotamia. In ancient India, it was used as a life preserver. 

What does ashwagandha contain?

Ashwagandha has a composition rich in flavonoids, saponins, plant alkaloids and steroid lactones. What are the effects of these ingredients?


Plant flavonoids have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, and some studies even point to carcinogenic effects.

Plant alkaloids 

Of the alkaloids, anahygrine or anaferin are present in ashwagandhu. These substances have beneficial effects, but only in the right concentration. This is because they can be toxic at higher levels. 


Ashwagandha also includes steroid lactones, which have antitumor activity and also support overall vitality. 

Other ingredients of ashwagandha

In addition to the above-mentioned ingredients, ashwagandhu is also rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and amino acids important for the body.

Ashwagandha and its proven health effects

Although Ashwagandha is described by many as a miracle herb, not all of the effects that are so enthusiastically attributed to it are sufficiently substantiated.  

In this section, we will introduce you to the proven effects of ashwagandhu, for which it is worth trying, but we will also look at effects for which there is not much evidence. 

Ashwagandha on anxiety, stress and nervousness

Ashwagandha can be a very good way to cope better with stress, nervousness, but also with anxiety or restlessness. 

It can also be helpful in promoting concentration and concentration or improving memory . 

There is no doubt about these effects of ashwagandhu, as evidenced by many researches and studies . 

Supports the immune system

Ashwagandha can also support the immune system and thus increase the body’s ability to defend itself against various viruses and diseases. It also has a positive effect on the production of red and white blood cells.

Thanks to its antibacterial effects, it also helps with urinary, digestive and respiratory tract problems. 

Ashwagandha and diabetes

This herb can also be beneficial in diabetes, resp. preddiabetesis, as it can lower blood sugar levels, even as effectively as medication. 

Ashwagandhu increases insulin secretion and thus improves insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. 

Positive effect on sleep quality

Thanks to its calming effects on the nervous system and its ability to reduce the level of cortisol (stress hormone), Ashwagandhu can also significantly help with sleep problems , improve its overall quality and help you fall asleep faster. 

It contains the active ingredient triethylene glycol, which induces sleep. 

It acts as a natural aphrodisiac

Ashwagandha is also popular as a natural aphrodisiac that stimulates libido and increases sexual appetite. 

It improves blood flow to the reproductive system, which also leads to the promotion of fertility in both sexes. In addition, it also contributes to hormonal balance and has a positive effect on the menstrual cycle. 

It supports muscle growth and fat burning

Athletes very often reach for ashwagandha.

There is research that demonstrates the ability of this herb to support muscle growth , but also to contribute to muscle regeneration. 

The use of ashwagandhu can also support the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which, among other things, affects fat burning.

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Ashwagandha and effects for which there is not much evidence

In addition to the effects mentioned above, ashwagandha is usually attributed to other health effects which are not sufficiently substantiated. 

Which is it about? 

Heart health promotion

There is also a lot of talk about ashwagandhu about its positive effect on heart health. 

According to some studies, it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries in which fatty substances are stored in damaged blood vessel walls. 

Based on human research, there has been an improvement in health after the inclusion of ashwagandha in the treatment process.

At the same time, however, it should be added that much more research is needed in order for ashwagandhu to be widely used to treat heart health promotion. 

Relieving pain

Ashwagandha may or may not (due to lack of studies) be helpful in relieving pain, especially of the musculoskeletal system. 

Cancer and ashwagandha

Interesting results are also highlighted by research into the influence of ashwagandha on the course of cancer. 

In one experimental study, ashwagandhu was administered to 1,000 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. This herb helped them cope better with fatigue and feel better overall. 

In other cell culture and animal studies, administration of ashwagandha has slowed and even reversed the growth of several types of cancer , such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer or colon cancer. 


Ashwagandha can have a positive effect on mental well-being, but also physical health, and thus should ultimately contribute to longevity. 

The antioxidant effects of ashwagandha also play a role.

For whom is (not) ashwagandha suitable?

Ashwagandha can be helpful in several difficulties, such as:

  • stress, anxiety and tension,
  • insomnia, sleep problems,
  • in case of memory impairment,
  • mental problems,
  • exhaustion.

Who should not take ashwagandha?

Although ashwagandha is an herb, it is not suitable for everyone. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it. It is also not suitable for children.

Caution should also be exercise in case of thyroid disease or gastric ulcers.

If you have any health problems or are taking any medication, always consult your doctor in advance about the appropriateness of taking ashwagandha. 

Ashwagandha – recommended daily dose, side effects

The daily dose of ashwagandha should be in the range of 300-500 mg , and it is important not to exceed this dose. 

If you use it too much, you may experience indigestion such as bloating, diarrhea or vomiting and nausea.


Ashwagandha is definitely worth a try, especially if you suffer from insomnia or have to face excessive stress or nervousness. 

However, if you have more serious health problems, be careful with this herb. Instead of the expected improvement in your condition, using it could bring you even more complications. 

Needless to say, ashwagandha has not yet been sufficiently studied and not all the effects mentioned in connection with it are actually proven and proven.

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