It derives its name from the combination of Sanskrit words, ashva (horse), and gandha (smell), indicating the strong aroma of its root. It is taken now due to its multiple health benefits.  
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha Powder
The key benefits of ashwagandha include enhancing the body’s resilience to stress and anxiety. It helps in improving the quality of semen and in treating male infertility. It may induce apoptosis and prevent the metastasis of cancer cells. It may enhance the cognitive functions of the brain and aid in the management of neurogenerative diseases. It reduces serum lipid profiles and blood glucose levels. It can increase endurance in athletes. 
1. Ashwagandha helps in reducing stress and anxiety
Several studies reported that ashwagandha is an adaptogen and helps in reducing stress and anxiety.  
Ashwagandha exerts its antistress activity by inhibiting nitric oxide and reducing cortisol and DHEA. 
In a randomized controlled trial, 64 subjects with chronic stress were administered 300mg of root extract of ashwagandha.
The treatment group improved resistance to stress after 60 days.
In another study, ashwagandha receiving participants had an improvement in sleep quality.
In a randomized control trial, 65 patients with severe anxiety supplemented with 300mg ashwagandha along with counseling and breathing techniques had a significant improvement in mental health, concentration, and fatigue. 
In Simple Words: Increased cortisol is associated with stress. Several studies showed that ashwagandha is an adaptogen that reduces cortisol levels, thereby reduces stress. Further investigation with the large randomized trial is required to determine the mechanisms by which ashwagandha reduces stress and anxiety.
2. Ashwagandha for the treatment of male infertility
Several studies showed that ashwagandha treated male infertility by reducing the concentration of reactive oxygen species and thereby improved semen quality.  
In a study with 75 infertile men, ashwagandha administration reduced oxidative stress and inhibited lipid peroxidation. It also increased sperm count and motility.
A study involving 180 infertile men were administered with ashwagandha (5g/day) for three months. The treatment group had improved semen quality and restored testosterone hormone levels.
In another study, infertile men receiving ashwagandha extract for three months had decreased oxidative stress and improved semen quality. About 14% of men’s partners became pregnant.
In Simple Words: Several studies reported that ashwagandha powder regulated testosterone levels, improved semen quality, and increased sperm motility. Therefore, ashwagandha may treat stress-induced male infertility. Future large scale studies will establish the molecular mechanisms of ashwagandha in the management and treatment of male infertility.
3. Ashwagandha and its anti-cancer properties
Several studies showed that Withaferin A, isolated from leaves of ashwagandha, may induce apoptosis of cancer cells and reduce the growth of new cancer cells.  
In a study, nude mice treated with withaferin alone or in combination with cisplatin showed a 70-80% reduction in ovarian cancer cells.  
Withaferin A injected in nude mice having breast cancer showed a decrease in tumor size compared to controls. It also induced p53 dependent apoptosis in cancer cells.  
Ashwagandha administered during chemotherapy reduced fatigue and improved the quality of life in breast cancer patients.
In Simple Words: Withaferin A (isolated from ashwagandha) may reduce the metastasis and induce apoptosis of several cancer cells, including stomach, prostate, neurological, breast, ovarian, and colon cancer. However, in human clinical trials are limited, and therefore, large clinical trials are required to investigate if ashwagandha can be used for the treatment of cancer.
4. Ashwagandha may reduce the symptoms of depression
The animal studies showed that ashwagandha might decrease the symptoms of depression.
In a 12 week randomized, double-blind study, schizophrenia patients who received 1000mg of ashwagandha experienced reduced depression symptoms.
In a mouse study, ashwagandha (20 and 50mg/kg) was administered orally once daily for five days. It exhibited a reduction in depression symptoms comparable to anti-depressant imipramine.
In another albino mouse study, different doses of ashwagandha(50, 100, and 150mg/kg) had a significant anti-depressive action.
In Simple Words: Several animal studies showed that ashwagandha might reduce the symptoms of depression. Its anti-depressive effect was comparable to imipramine. In one study, it reduced depression symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Large randomized in human clinical trials will help to determine the effect of ashwagandha in decreasing depressive symptoms.
5. Ashwagandha may reduce LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides
Studies showed that ashwagandha may reduce LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and increase HDL cholesterol.
In hypercholesteremic rats, ashwagandha root powder significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol, lipid peroxidation, and triglycerides. It also increased HDL-cholesterol levels.
In another study with eighteen volunteers, a daily dosage of ashwagandha for 30 days showed a significant reduction in LDL-cholesterol and an increase in strength of muscle activity.
Ashwagandha (400mg) supplemented in schizophrenic adults who were on medication had reduced serum triglycerides after one month of treatment.
In Simple Words: Several animal studies have found that ashwagandha significantly reduced LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Few controlled human studies also showed that ashwagandha improved lipid profile markers. Large scale clinical trials will determine if cholesterol-lowering ashwagandha may offer a therapeutic role in the management of heart disease.
6. Ashwagandha may increase muscle strength, muscle mass and endurance in athletes
Research studies have shown that ashwagandha may increase muscle mass, strength, and thereby improve endurance in athletes. 
In a placebo-controlled study, 57 male subjects consumed 300mg of ashwagandha extract and underwent resistance training for eight weeks. Aswagandha supplemented group had a significant increase in muscle strength.
Ashwagandha root extract enhanced cardiovascular endurance in 40 elite cyclists and improved their quality of life score at eight weeks. 
Sensoril (an aqueous extract of ashwagandha) increased average squat power in recreationally active men. It also produced better recovery scores.
In Simple Words: Studies showed that ashwagandha administration increased muscle strength, muscle mass, and endurance after resistance training in athletes. Well-designed clinical trials will help to determine if ashwagandha supplementation can moderate the body’s response to resistance training.
7. Ashwagandha may lower blood glucose levels in type II diabetes
Research studies have shown that ashwagandha may lower blood glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance in type II diabetes.
Ashwagandha administered to type II diabetic rats showed reduced blood sugar, and lipid peroxidation levels compared to the control. 
In another study, ashwagandha administration to fructose-fed rats reduced the blood glucose and inflammatory mediators, TNF-α, and IL-6.
In a pilot study with schizophrenic patients, ashwagandha supplementation had a reduction in fasting blood sugar levels.
In Simple Words: Several studies showed that ashwagandha reduced the blood sugar levels associated with type II diabetes. Ashwagandha may reduce inflammation-induced tissue damage in diabetes. Large randomized clinical trials in humans are required to determine if ashwagandha can help in managing diabetes and its complications.
8. Ashwagandha may improve memory and cognitive functions
Some studies reported that ashwagandha might improve memory and cognitive functions.
In a randomized controlled study, adults administered with 300mg of ashwagandha root extract had improved logical memory, executive functions, and sustained attention.
In another study involving 20 male participants, 250mg of ashwagandha (twice/day) improved choice discrimination, digit symbol substitution, and card sorting tests.
Ashwagandha inhibited oxidative stress and restored spatial memory deficits in epileptic rats.
In Simple Words: Some studies showed that ashwagandha might improve logical memory, attention, and cognitive functions. In a mouse model, it restored deficits in spatial memory by reducing free radical production. Further research is required to elucidate the mechanisms by which ashwagandha improved cognitive functions.
9. Ashwagandha improves sleep parameters in insomnia
Some studies showed that ashwagandha may improve the quality of sleep and can reduce insomnia. Insomnia is closely associated with anxiety, depression, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. 
In a randomized clinical trial involving 60 patients with insomnia, treatment with ashwagandha (300mg twice a day) improved total sleep time, sleep efficiency, Pittsburg sleep quality index, and anxiety score.
Treatment with ashwagandha and diazepam in sleep disturbed mice improved biochemical parameters associated with sleep loss.
In adult Wistar rats, ashwagandha reduced oxidative stress and improved sleep deprivation-induced learning and memory impairments.
In Simple Words: Preliminary studies showed that ashwagandha might decrease oxidative damage and improve sleep parameters. Further studies will need to confirm the safety and efficacy of ashwagandha in the management of insomnia in adults.
10. Ashwagandha may manage neurodegenerative diseases
Several studies showed that ashwagandha slows and reverses neuritic atrophy.
Therefore, it might help in managing neurogenerative conditions. 
Neurite atrophy is observed with several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. 
In Parkinson’s disease mouse model, ashwagandha reduced oxidative damage, improved motor functions, and protected the neuronal injury. 
Aswagandha enhanced the liver LDL related protein and reversed the behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice model.
It can reduce the formation of amyloid protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Aswagandha reduced the biochemical changes induced by 3-NP (neurotoxin) in Huntington’s disease model.
In Simple Words: Several animals and in vitro studies reported the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha. It may reduce the neurite atrophy and improve the behavioral symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease. The exact mechanism underlying the neuroprotective role of ashwagandha requires further investigation in humans.
11. Ashwagandha may reduce oxidative damage and prevent aging
Ashwagandha may reduce oxidative damage and prevent aging through its antioxidant properties. Oxidative damage and shortening of telomeres play a vital role in the progression of aging.
In a study, the healthy volunteers treated with ashwagandha had significantly reduced oxidative stress and, therefore, may prevent premature aging.
In vitro study showed that ashwagandha extract increased telomerase activity.
In Simple Words: Preliminary research showed that ashwagandha extract might reduce the influx of free radicals and oxidative stress. One in vitro study showed that it might increase telomerase activity and thereby prevent premature aging. More research studies are required to evaluate the anti-aging properties of ashwagandha.
12. Ashwagandha powder may reduce inflammation and arthritic pain
Ashwagandha may reduce arthritic pain and inflammation by reducing oxidative stress and the release of inflammatory mediators.
In a study involving 60 patients with knee pain and discomfort, 250mg of ashwagandha administration significantly reduced WOMAC and VAS scores for pain and stiffness.
In arthritic rats, ashwagandha (300mg/kg) reduced the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. 
In Simple Words: Limited studies suggest that ashwagandha reduces the release of inflammatory mediators and knee pain in arthritic patients. The animal studies showed that it reduces oxidative stress and thereby decrease inflammation. Human studies are required to determine if ashwagandha may be a valuable supplement for managing arthritis.
Precautions While Taking Ashwagandha Powder
Ashwagandha powder is likely safe when taken orally. It can cause stomach upset and vomiting when taken in large doses.
Some studies showed that ashwagandha could cause miscarriages.
It is advisable not to use during pregnancy. There is no adequate information about the use of ashwagandha powder during breastfeeding.
Avoid taking ashwagandha powder if the individual has the following conditions, including diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders, and stomach ulcers. It is advisable to stop taking ashwagandha two weeks before surgery.
Taking ashwagandha with immunosuppressants should be avoided as ashwagandha may boost the immune system.
Ashwagandha may cause drowsiness, and so taking ashwagandha with sedative medicines should be avoided.
There is no exact recommended dosage for ashwagandha powder. Always consult a healthcare provider before using the ashwagandha powder.
According to examine.com, 300-500mg of ashwagandha root extract produced beneficial effects.
The appropriate dosage varies according to the condition, age of patients, and duration.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that is widely studied for its multiple health benefits. Several studies reported its anxiolytic, antistress, anti-cancer, cognition promoting, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and antioxidant properties. It may also have a role in treating male infertility, neurogenerative diseases, and aging.
Although the health benefits of ashwagandha look promising, large randomized clinical trials studying its effectiveness in humans are limited. Therefore, future research studies will determine its efficacy in treating different conditions.