You may have never heard of ashwaganda but it is one of the best herbs you can take if you are stressed, have brain fog, trouble concentrating or remembering information. While food is a very important aspect of keeping the body healthy, there are times when herbal supplements can help. Herbal supplements have been widely used for thousands of years and can help support a healthy lifestyle.
So what is ashwaganda? According to The Chopra Center, ashwaganda is an herb that has been used since ancient times to heal a variety of health issues. Interestingly enough, ashwaganda is part of the night-shade family, which includes foods like the tomato. While the ashwaganda plant produces an orange-red fruit, the plant is mostly used for its root powder.
The reason ashwagandha is so good at reducing stress is it reduces cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, in our bodies. (Source: Examine.com) We all know how bad it is for our bodies to be under stress. The negative effects include gut health issues, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, stomachaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. When you reduce stress, you are helping your body to be healthy.
Ashwaganda has clinical studies for its effects on people who are stressed and have cognitive decline. A couple of them are cited below:
In 2010, ashwaganda was shown to improve the body’s ability to maintain physical effort and help the body adapt to various types of stress. It is especially beneficial in stress related disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis etc (Singh et al. 2010).
In 2012, a study of 64 people with a history of chronic stress were enrolled in a study to take ashwaganda twice a day, for 60 days. The people in the study saw an improvement in an individual's resistance to stress, which improved their quality of life. (Source: National Institutes of Health)
In 2017, a study was performed on adults who had moderate cognitive decline. It was determined that ashwagandha may be useful in enhancing immediate and general memory, attention, and information processing speed with few adverse effects. (Source: Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions; Journal of Dietary Supplements)
Given the history and the research on ashwaganda, I decided to give it a try. After all, I am stressed (who isn't) and could always use help improving recall and memory as I get older.
While ashwagandha is available in a supplement form, I bought TerraSoul SuperFoods ashwagandha powder to add to Chai tea in the morning. The dose states 1/3 tsp but I've been putting in 1/2 tsp. I can say it has a distinct flavor and texture. It took me about a week of putting it in the Chai tea before I don't notice the ashwaganda. If you don't think you would like to add it to a beverage, then a supplement is a better choice.
While ashwagandha is known for stress relief, there are additional health benefits for this powerful herb listed below. Before you read on, if you stressed and experiencing physical symptoms such as gas, bloating, stomachaches, brain fog, memory decline, diarrhea, or constipation, I am here to help!
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Additional Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
1) Anti-cancer properties. While ashwagandha has only been studied in animals and test tubes, not humans, there is promising research that shows the herb can help treat cancer, including breast, lung, brain, colon and ovarian. (Source: Healthline.com) How does it do this? By reducing tumor growth and prevention of the spread of cancer to other organs.
2) May reduce inflammation. For inflammation in humans, ashwagandha has been studied and shown to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). Also, ashwagandha demonstrated in studies the ability to increase the activity of killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help keep you healthy. (Source: Healthline.com)
3) May lower cholesterol and triglycerides. A study in rats showed that cholesterol lowered by 53% and triglycerides lowered by 45%. (Source: Healthline.com) This means ashwagandha may help you prevent heart disease if this is a health issue you are concerned about.
4) May improve thyroid function. From what I see on social media, there is an influx of thyroid diagnoses. Maybe we've gotten better at detecting it. Maybe we are more in tune with some of the common symptoms that were traditionally written off as getting old (weight loss or gain; fatigue; hair loss). Ashwagandha has been shown to increase thyroid hormones when you have an under-active thyroid. There are also studies that show it may help with adrenal imbalances when taken over time. (Source: Dr. Mercola)
There you have it! Stress reduction, anti-cancer properties, decreased inflammation, lowered cholesterol and thyroid support are the 5 reasons ashwagandha may be beneficial is supporting overall health.
If you start taking ashwagandha, it will take about 2 weeks of regular use before you'll notice a difference. Do you think you will try ashwaghanda? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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