Getting to Know Ashwagandha

The world’s great holistic health systems incorporate many elements, including acupuncture, massage, exercise forms, meditation, and careful attention to diet. However, herbs are also a major factor, because they contain unique phytochemicals, each of which supports vital body functions. The goal of these herbs is to promote balance between body, mind, and soul.

One of the most amazing of these herbs is Ashwagandha.

 

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an herb that grows primarily in India. Because it is used in many of the same ways as ginseng in China, it is often called Indian Ginseng.

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest, most honored holistic medical system. Its most prized herbs are “Rasayanas,” which are special plants that are thought to support all aspects of human health and longevity. Most Rasayanas are also “adaptogens,” meaning that they help the body “adapt” to stress. Ashwagandha is one of Ayurveda’s most sacred Rasayana herbs. It has been used for over 5000 years to support energy, memory, focus, and cognition, and support healthy immune, stress, and antioxidant responses. It also supports healthy inflammation and may reduce pain and anxiety.

Ashwagandha can do these things because it contains special phytochemicals called “Withanolides,” which are found in no other plant on earth. It is an absolute superstar among the herbal constellations, and one of the world’s most treasured plants.

 

pile of ashwagandha root clippings next to bowl of ashwagandha powder

 

 

Effects of Stress

While feeling stressed is stressful enough in its own right, the affect it has on your body is even worse. When danger presents itself, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration and sharpen your vision, hearing, and other senses. You become temporarily stronger and more alert so that you can fight more fiercely or flee more quickly in times of danger. However, as you become stronger, quicker, and more alert, energy is drained from digestion, immune activity, etc.

While an occasional stress response causes no harm, a constant string of stress responses is a recipe for disaster. And, unfortunately, your body responds the same way to mental or emotional strain as it does to real, physical danger. In other words, arguments or disagreements, disciplining children, financial pressures, relationship issues, being late, dealing with traffic, problems at work – all of these trigger your stress response.

When your stress response occurs all day, every day, your adrenals keep pumping out hormones and your pulse, blood pressure, and respiration remain constantly elevated, and digestion and immunity are impaired. Obviously, this is a recipe for disaster. Eventually, your adrenal glands can wear down, brain cells can die, and the size of your brain can shrink!!!

A short list of the health problems associated with frequent stress responses includes:

  • Agitation, frustration, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty relaxing

  • Low energy, headaches, stomach and digestive issues, including diarrhea and constipation

  • Aches, pains, muscle tension

  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat

  • Insomnia

  • Frequent colds and infections

  • Low libido

  • Nervousness, worry, difficulty focusing, poor judgement, negativity

Again, this is a short list, of early symptoms. Frequent stress responses over the long term can elevate these issues into serious disease conditions.

             

Ashwagandha and Stress             

Thankfully, there are lots of healthy ways to keep the stress response at least somewhat under control. Regular “quiet” times, prayer or meditation, yoga or martial arts, more conventional exercise and regular breaks from your daily routine can all help. But, no matter how much you try to avoid it, stress will still be there. That’s why adaptogens, or Rasayanas, like Ashwagandha can be tremendous partners.

Of all the world’s herbs, Ashwagandha is perhaps the very best for helping you cope with stress. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha reduces perceived stress levels [1], reduces cortisol levels [2] in those when stress is present, and supports a quicker return to normal from stressful conditions [3].

Because Ashwagandha reliably helps improve stress response and possesses many other health-supporting benefits, you’ll find it in all the supplements we formulate to support a healthy stress response, like AdrenalStability™ and Stress Support System™.*

Bottom line, Ashwagandha is a powerful herb and the perfect natural option for improving all aspects of your health. For the best quality of life, be sure to add a bit of Ashwagandha to your daily regimen. Once you do, it will be your new BFF.

 


 

Sources

[1] Salve, Jaysing et al. “Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study.” Cureus vol. 11,12 e6466. 25 Dec. 2019, doi:10.7759/cureus.6466

[2] Lopresti, Adrian L et al. “An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Medicine vol. 98,37 (2019): e17186. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017186

[3] K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, and Sridhar Anishetty. “A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults” Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022

December 13, 2021

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