Introduction: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) has been traditionally used for various actions ranging from vitalizer, improve endurance and stamina, promote longevity, improve immunity, and male and female fertility. However, clinical studies are needed to prove the clinical efficacy of this herb, especially in cardiovascular endurance and physical performance.
Aims: This prospective, double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study evaluated the efficacy of Ashwagandha roots extract in enhancing cardiorespiratory endurance and improving the quality of life (QOL) in 50 healthy male/female athletic adults.
Materials and methods: Cardiorespiratory endurance was assessed by measuring the oxygen consumption at peak physical exertion (VO2 max) levels during a 20 m shuttle run test. The World Health Organization self-reported QOL questionnaire (physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environmental factors) was used to assess the QOL. Student's t-test was used to compare the differences in a mean and change from baseline VO2 max levels, whereas Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to assess changes in QOL scores from baseline in the two groups.
Results: There was a greater increase from baseline (P < 0.0001) in the mean VO2 max with KSM-66 Ashwagandha (n = 24) compared to placebo (n = 25) at 8 weeks (4.91 and 1.42, respectively) and at 12 weeks (5.67 and 1.86 respectively). The QOL scores for all subdomains significantly improved to a greater extent in the Ashwagandha group at 12 weeks compared to placebo (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The findings suggest that Ashwagandha root extract enhances the cardiorespiratory endurance and improves QOL in healthy athletic adults.
Keywords: Ashwagandha; VO2 max; cardiorespiratory endurance; healthy athletics adults; quality of life.