Ashwagandha essential oil comes from the steam distillation of crushed Ashwagandha roots. The oil retains all the therapeutic phytochemicals of the herb. [2]

Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is known as Rasayana (rejuvenating tonic) in the Ayurveda.

The potent therapeutic herb is also called “Indian Winter cherry” or “Indian Ginseng”.

Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in the traditional Indian medicinal practice. Since ancient time the herb has been used for its numerous health benefits and to cure diseases. [1]

Ashwagandha churna (powder) is beneficial for the brain, nervous system, immune defense, mental, reproductive, and sexual health.

Recent scientific research has confirmed that Ashwagandha oil may be an effective remedy for stress, depression, arthritis, diabetes, blood cholesterol, and so on.

There has been ongoing research on the anti-cancer effects of the oil as well.

Read on to learn the therapeutic components, health benefits and uses of Ashwagandha essential oil.

Ashwagandha Constituents and Therapeutic Values

The active chemical constituents of Ashwagandha include alkaloids, saponins, and steroidal lactones such as withanolides and withaferins. It also contains amino acid tryptophan, sterols, triterpenes, lignans, and tannins. [2]

The alkaloid properties are a combination of anaferine, anahygrine, isopelletierine, and cuseohygrine.

Apart from these, Ashwagandha root is a good source of calories, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, iron, calcium, carotene, and vitamin C.

Ashwagandha is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants including glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase.

This unique chemical composition of Ashwagandha is beneficial for numerous therapeutic effects of the oil. Medical research confirms that the herbal oil shows anxiolytic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-stress, immunomodulatory, and anti-cancer effects. [1]

7 Ashwagandha Essential Oil Health Benefits

1. Ashwagandha Oil May Improve Nervous System and Memory.

In the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, ashwagandha churna is consumed with water, honey or butter( ghee) to promote the cognition, intellect or memory function.

Research at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in New Delhi states that ashwagandha is beneficial for memory-impaired individuals. It may help children with weak memory power, patient with a head injury and compromised memory function and old people who suffer from forgetfulness. [3]

Ashwagandha Essential Oil

A 2014 study published in the Pharmacognosy Research Journal investigated the effects of ashwagandha extracts on memory and psychomotor functions of 20 healthy individuals.

A 500 mg capsulated dose of dried ashwagandha leaves and root extract for 14 days improved their cognitive and psychomotor functions significantly. [4]

Several other clinical research on animals and humans show the positive effects of ashwagandha in boosting cognitive function, attention, and work performance. [5, 6]

2. Ashwagandha Oil May Prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Diseases.

Several research evidence support that ashwagandha may be an effective remedy for neurodegenerative diseases. Neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss are two of the main reasons for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington diseases. [7]

Researchers suggest that the bioactive components in ashwagandha may reverse, treat and even prevent cognitive defects caused by neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss. [8]

3. Ashwagandha Essential Oil Can Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Depression.

Clinical researches in the recent time found the calming anti-anxiety effects of ashwagandha similar to Lorazepam anxiolytic drug. The herb has natural antidepressant properties to help people with depression.

2015 report in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology states that the two major constituents withaferin A and withanolide A in ashwagandha root can inhibit stress signal in the brains of the laboratory rats. [9]

Ashwagandha is effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression in humans as well.


Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine in 2012 reports that a full concentrated dose of ashwagandha root can successfully relieve chronic stress without any side effects. The 60 days study was conducted among 64 men suffering from chronic stress.

Ashwagandha supplementation significantly reduced stress hormone cortisol and helped them managing with stress and insomnia. [10]

Another 6-day study among 20 individuals showed Ashwagandha ethanolic extracts caused an 88.2% reduction in their anxiety level without any adverse effects. [11]

4. Ashwagandha Essential Oil Has Anti-Cancer Effects.

Numerous research studies confirm the apoptosis or cancerous cell death effects of ashwagandha against lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and brain cancer.

Ashwagandha can activate ROS or reactive oxygen species inside the body which can attack the malignant cells without causing harm to the healthy ones. [12, 13]

A 2010 study published in the Immunological Investigation journal shows the immunomodulatory effects of ashwagandha in treating colon cancer in mice.

An oral treatment (400 mg/kg body weight of rats) of ashwagandha weekly once for 4 weeks could significantly improve colon cancer condition. [14]

5. Ashwagandha Can Manage Diabetes.

Ashwagandha can reduce blood sugar levels.

In several human studies, ashwagandha proved to be effective in lowering the blood sugar level in diabetic and healthy individuals.

A clinical study in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology investigated the hypoglycemic (lowering blood sugar) effects of ashwagandha in humans. [15]

6 diabetic patients were treated with ashwagandha root powder for 30 days. The result showed a significant reduction in the blood glucose level without any side effects.

6. Ashwagandha Oil May Boost Your Immune System.

Ashwagandha can help you prevent various inflammatory disorders.

The herb extract has potential in producing immunoglobulin content. This way, ashwagandha can create an anti-inflammatory environment inside the body that can inhibit cytokines or pro-inflammatory agents. [16]

Ashwagandha Essential Oil

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology researched the immunostimulatory effects of ashwagandha, echinacea, and brahmi herbs.

A 1% supplementation of the herbs for 4 weeks could significantly improve the immune function in the trial rats. [17]

7. Ashwagandha Oil may Improve Reproductive and Sexual Performance.

Ashwagandha is a natural aphrodisiac herb in the Ayurvedic tradition. The herb has beneficial effects for sexual performance and reproduction functions of both male and female.

A 2015 study reported in the BioMed Research International investigated the therapeutic effects and safety of ashwagandha roots in the sexual function of women.

The pilot study was conducted among 50 women. An oral administration of ashwagandha extracts 300 mg twice daily for 8 weeks could improve their orgasm, lubrication, and sexual arousal. [18]

Several other clinical research found the efficacy of ashwagandha in increasing sperm count and testosterone levels in potential infertile men.

In one of the studies, 46 low-sperm count male patients were treated with ashwagandha extract (675 mg in three doses per day for 90 days). The treatment showed a 53% increase in semen volume and a 167% increase in sperm count. [19]

The researchers concluded that ashwagandha may be an effective remedy for preventing male infertility.

Ashwagandha Essential Oil Safety and Precautions

Ashwagandha herb and its supplementation in powder and the essential oil are safe for most people. [20]

However, you should avoid using ashwagandha oil in case you are a pregnant and breastfeeding mother.

People who are diagnosed and under treatment for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, arthritis, type-1 diabetes, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis should also follow caution.

It’s recommended that you consult a doctor first before using ashwagandha supplements in any form.

The usage and recommended dosage of ashwagandha depend on the kind of supplementation. There are various types of ashwagandha supplements available in the health stores, vitamin and food shops and also in online stores.

The standard practice can be found inscribed in the labels of the products. Generally, 450–500 mg capsules of ashwagandha root extract is consumed once or twice daily.

Bottom Line

Ashwagandha is a vital herb in the Indian ayurvedic tradition. The herb and its extracts in supplement forms such as capsules, powder, and essential oil have numerous therapeutic benefits for the health.

Recent medical research has proven the efficacy of ashwagandha oil in the treatment of stress, anxiety, depression, cancer, diabetes, and reproductive health.

There are promising medicinal uses of the oil in boosting stamina, energy, and heart health as well. Ashwagandha essential oil is easily available at the local health stores and online shops.

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