What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, ashwagandha…ashwagandha! For some reason, I absolutely love to say this word! Perhaps this is because I know how amazing this herb truly is and how helpful it can be in times of stress. Since ancient times it has been used for a wide variety of conditions. Ashwaganda (withania somnifera), according to Ayurvedic healing, is considered a “grounding” herb. It is specifically known to nourish the body, regulate metabolic processes and stabilize mood. Even more, it is considered one of the most powerful adaptogen herbs in Ayurvedic healing–traditional Indian medicine. It is interesting to note, Ashwagandha is called the ‘ginseng’ of Ayurvedic medicine, however it is not actually related to the ginseng plant. Unlike ginseng, ashwagandha is not stimulating, but it is instead relaxing, making it superb for stress relief.
Benefits of using Ashwagandha…
This amazing herb can reduce anxiety and depression, combat the effects of stress, increase stamina and endurance, lower cortisol & bad cholesterol, reduce brain damage, stabilize blood sugar, boost immunity, treat adrenal fatigue and improve the thyroid. Moreover, it offers anti-inflammatory benefits, and enhances sexual potency & fertility for men and women. Last, but certainly not least, it has anti-tumor effects, making it helpful with cancer too!
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are natural herbs considered to help the body adapt to stress and exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes. Basically, adaptogens help the body cope with external stresses, such as toxins in the environment and internal stresses. Ashwagandha has been traditionally used to treat diseases associated with nerve tissue damage related to the harmful effects of free radicals, and because of this researchers have theorized the herb may have antioxidant properties. Ashwagandha contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides (steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars. While the leaves and fruit have valuable therapeutic properties, the root of the Ashwagandha plant is the part most commonly used in Western herbal remedies.
Recommendations & Therapeutic uses…
The recommended dose is 500 to 1,000 mg twice daily. This along with a diet high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber as well as removing processed, refined grains and sugars from your diet can help in aging slower, reducing stress, balancing hormones, boosting energy, and improving brain health. Ashwagandha is usually found in capsule form, but liquid form may be more absorbable if digestion is compromised. For insomnia and anxiety, a cup of calming tea that contains a teaspoon of powdered or dropper full of liquid Ashwagandha before bedtime is beneficial. Mix it in warm water or milk with a tsp of honey for a great calming bedtime tea. Due to the calming nature of this herb, if supplementing, it may be helpful to take it before bed. Everyone is different, so use your best judgement. If you are taking a prescription medication or pregnant, please consult your doctor before supplementing with ashwagandha. Do NOT take this supplement if you are currently taking an anti-depressant (SSRI) medication.
In Divine Health,
*All information, content, and material of this blog is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the diagnosis, and/or medical treatment by a qualified physician.
Karta, P., Singh, K., & Tierra, M. (2008). The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press