You may have never heard of ashwagandha but it is one of the best herbs you can take if you are stressed, anxious, have brain fog, trouble concentrating or remembering information. While food is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, there are times when herbal supplements can help.
What is ashwagandha? According to The Chopra Center, ashwagandha is an herb that has been used since ancient times to heal a variety of health issues. Interestingly enough, ashwagandha is part of the night-shade family, which includes foods like the tomato. While the ashwagandha plant produces an orange-red fruit, the plant is mostly used for the ashwagandha root powder.
ASHWAGANDHA AND ANXIETY
Having anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. (Source: ADAA)
The reason ashwagandha is so good at reducing stress and anxiety is because 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, IBS, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, stomachaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Ashwagandha has been clinically studied for its effects making it a natural anti anxiety solution. Below are three studies:
In 2010, ashwagandha 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 ashwagandha twice a day, for 60 days. The treatment group given the ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in anxiety scores after two months relative to the placebo group, without side effects. Most notably, serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced in the herbal group. (Source: Psychology Today)
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 ashwagandha, I decided to give it a try. After all, I am stressed (who isn't) and suffer from bloating, gas and occasional abdominal pain. Plus, I 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 ashwagandha. If you don't think you would like to add it to a beverage, then a supplement is a better choice.
Using an herbal supplement such as ashwagandha is just one way to support a healthy body.
Does any of this sound like you?
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation
👉Bloating and gas
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Acne and itchy skin
👉Tired all the time
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you said yes to just one of the above, your body is telling you something is not right. Discovering the root cause and how to get healthy can be confusing and hard! I am here to help.
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ASHWAGANDHA ROOT BENEFITS
While ashwagandha is known for stress relief, which can support a healthy digestive system, there are additional health benefits for this powerful herb.
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)
I hope you enjoyed learning about the health benefits of ashwagandha. Stress reduction, anti-cancer properties, decreased inflammation, lowered cholesterol and thyroid support are just 5 reasons ashwagandha may be beneficial 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 ashwagandha? Leave me know by leaving a comment below.