Herb of the Month: Ashwagandha

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Rejuvenating, restorative, rebuilding—these are just three of the terms that apply to the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha. Known as one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha has been supporting and balancing lives for thousands of years. Today, as we develop new formulations using new discoveries, a large portion of the world still uses tried-and-true herbs and formulas that have been passed down throughout history. I’m not by any means against new techniques and discoveries, but we should never turn our back on the power of nature and history.

Ashwagandha is one of my favorites because of the broad spectrum of benefits it can provide, and the vast categories of health it can benefit. Today’s stressful world has led us down unhealthy paths that aim us directly towards pharmaceutical drugs and cause us to bypass the natural, historic products that may be equal to—or even more effective than—pharmaceuticals, with less possibility of adverse reactions. Many of us may not know that there are possible compliments or alternatives available, so while talking with a physician, one should ask about natural alternatives.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, giving the body the tools of nature to help adapt to external stressors like stress-based insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Using Ashwagandha during stressful times can help to reduce elevated stress-based cortisol, support homeostasis, and improve wellbeing (1). Today our stress levels lead us towards a laundry list of life-altering health problems. Elevated cortisol can lead us to unhealthy blood sugar levels, hypertension, and weight problems. Ashwagandha has been found to be effective for weight management in individuals with chronic stress (2).

Ashwagandha can be used both daytime and at night, but there is a possibility of relaxation, so users should try it at home first to monitor their reaction; as with many traditional herbs, everyone can react differently. Many people prefer it at night for this wonderful sleepy relaxation benefit.

Although Ashwagandha is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, it is generally deemed safe and effective. Dosages vary among manufacturers, so it is important to follow stated recommended dosages on direction panels. Those presently on blood sugar, blood pressure, depression, or anxiety medications should be sure to share information with their medical practitioner on Ashwagandha, as prescription dosages may need to be adjusted.

 

References

  1. KSM-66 Ashwagandha for Stress And Anxiety

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  Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255

 

  1. KSM-66 Ashwagandha for Stress and Weight Management

Body Weight Management in Adults under Chronic Stress through Treatment with Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2017). Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 22(1), 96-106 .

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