We would like to introduce you to one of our many valued plant medicines, Ashwagandha. This is a versatile root medicine, used most commonly for folks who experience issues with stress, anxiety, low immunity and sleeplessness. It is one of our best "Adaptogenic" herbs, helping the body adapt and adjust to higher levels of stress. It supports regulation of any systems in the body and brings back a state of equilibrium, naturally.
Needless to say, we think Ashwagandha (Withania somniferia) is a plant you should know about.
Commonly referred to as "Indian Ginseng" this plant is revered in India where it is commonly found (as well as in parts of Africa and Asia). Its medicinal uses have been introduced to the western world from traditional Ayurvedic use and knowledge of this root. Ayurvedic medicine has utilized the root of Ashwagandha as medicine for thousands of years for it's rejuvenating effects and to help promote longevity and health.
Like many of our amazing adaptogenic medicinal plants, the root of Ashwagandha is used, making it a slightly more tedious plant to cultivate and make medicine from. It's important to keep in mind that when we use root medicines it takes years to grow them to maturity and we have to take the whole plant when we harvest. It is super important we are harvesting and growing in sustainable ways and making sure that if you use medicines like this they are coming from reputable sources.
Back to that fancy word we dropped a few sentences ago... "Adaptogen".
To simplify I will elaborate in one sentence:
An adaptogen is a medicine that helps the body adapt or become more resistant to stress.
Adaptogens are more complex than they sound and can include things like; digestive support, adrenal support, immune support etc (all things impacted by stress!) You can think of them as a whole-body medicines, having beneficial general effects on many of our body systems. They help us ADAPT and THRIVE, bringing back balance in this ever-tumultuous world.
The main constituents looked at in the root of Ashwagandha are the steroidal lactones such as the "Withanolides." These bad boys are potent and have been studied to cause a range of beneficial impacts in the body that are pretty impressive, here are some examples:
- Increase immune support in chronic stress (improved white blood cell counts).
- Reduce anxiety in generalized anxiety disorder as well as "hyper states," including anxiety and excessive thinking.
- Improve mental function in the elderly and in aging brains (yup your brain is aging BTW, no escaping it.)
- Improve muscle tone and strength throughout body while reducing inflammation. It is gentle enough for elderly patients and effective enough to help with athletic performance and recovery time.
- Shown to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Nourishes the nervous system promoting restful sleep.
If you're human, chances are could benefit from support in one or more the above areas. It is all about finding what fits your needs best, not necessarily taking everything you read about.
People who tend to benefit from taking Ashwagandha are:
- Folks who experience chronic stress (high stress jobs, stressful life events, excessive computer or desk work, long hours, shift work..)
- Elderly patients or people needing a leg up in times of recovery/convalescence.
- Folks who have gone from exhaustion (over-work, stress, life event) to a state of HYPER symptoms (anxiety, instability, emotional distress). Individuals who need some help re-setting their stress response.
- Athletes and highly active individuals. Folks whose bodies are chronically inflamed.
- Sexual function and fertility support in testosterone primary reproductive systems
- People with compromised immunity (who are always getting sick) who feel in need of extra support.
NB: Ashwagandha does have a mild thyroid stimulating effect and it is not recommended for people with hyperthyroidism.
Comment below and share your experiences using Ashwagandha. We love to hear from you!