From reducing seasonal affective disorder to boosting immunity, Ashwagandha root and St. John’s Wort are two powerful antioxidants that offer multiple health benefits. If you’re interested in adding these healing plants to your diet, check with a medical professional to determine if Ashwagandha or St. John’s Wort is a good fit.
Also known as “Winter Cherry”, “Withania Somnifera”, and “Indian ginseng”, Ashwagandha has been used for centuries for its energy, heart healing, immunity, and fertility properties in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India. From ancient Greece to modern Europe, St. John’s Wort not only treats depression but helps fight cancer and improve memory.
Learn about Ashwagandha vs. St. John’s Wort’s multiple uses, including four health benefits you may not know about.
1. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
According to recent studies, Ashwagandha boosted insulin sensitivity and secretion in people who had and did not have diabetes. This means that Ashwagandha can lower blood sugar levels whether a person has diabetes or not.
In contrast, St. John’s Wort can cause issues with up to 500 medications. For example, it may interfere with blood pressure drugs designed to lower blood pressure in some people.
2. Fights Cancer
Multiple scientific experiments demonstrated that Ashwagandha has potent anti-carcinogenic properties.
A US National Library of Medicine study found that Ashwagandha root reduced new cancer cell growth and killed pre-existing cancer cells. While most evidence occurred during animal studies and requires further human testing, the results indicate that Ashwagandha is an effective cancer fighter.
The study discovered that the plant reduced tumor growth in mice by up to 70-80% while preventing metastasis to other body parts.
According to an April 2018 study published by the National Library of Medicine, St. John’s Wort is also a chemo-preventative agent.
The study found that St. John’s Wort extract inhibits some types of breast cancer from spreading by activating the mitochondrial pathway that controls cell access.
Several other studies discovered that St. John’s Wort contains a flavanol glycoside that induces death in pancreatic and non-small cell lung cancer cells.
3. Increases Immunity
Stress, lack of sleep, inflammation, and environmental factors weaken our immunity. Conversely, boosting immunity can improve a person’s overall health.
Multiple studies demonstrated Ashwagandha’s ability to stimulate the body’s natural killer cells. These immune cells help the body fight off infection. As a potent adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps the body respond better to stress and strengthens the body’s resistance to disease by increasing cellular immunity. With powerful antioxidant qualities, Ashwagandha helps protect against free radical damage that can injure cells.
Medical News Today says St. John’s Wort can fight viral and bacterial infections. Applied topically, St. John’s Wort can also heal wounds and prevent infection. Both vitro and in vivo studies found that St. John’s Wort’s H. perforatum properties activated antiviral activity to fight hepatitis C, infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), and other coronaviruses.
4. Eases Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
During the cold winter months, particularly on “Blue Monday” in January, which is the darkest day of the year, many people suffer from seasonal depression. Caused by seasonal changes, coldness, and lack of light which can induce feelings of stress, anxiety, isolation, and depression.
Taking an Ashwagandha root supplement can improve depression since it’s an adaptogen herb that boosts the body’s resilience to moods and stress.
Studies have shown that St. John’s Wort boosts serotonin in people with SAD and other mild to moderate depression types. While SAD is typically treated with phototherapy, research shows that combining St. John’s Wort with daily light therapy can boost results to lift seasonal depression.