As with the benefits of borage oil, discovering how new varieties of botanicals can help us navigate through our lives and personal health can be an eye-opening experience. Today, we’re shining the spotlight on ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), a plant native to India and Northern Africa whose roots and leaves have been used for more than 3,000 years as one of Ayurveda’s most important medicinals for stress.
Soothe your stress
Stress is an all-too-familiar issue right now, as many people worldwide feel confused, anxious, and downright scared over the effects of COVID-19 and the state of the world, in general. While exercise, meditation, and open conversation with others can be beneficial in managing stress, it’s good to know we can turn toward the world of natural medicine as well.
Otherwise known as the “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng,” ashwagandha has been used as an adaptogenic tonic for thousands of years to combat stress. Ashwagandha root is usually ground into a fine powder, and can be consumed after being mixed with water and honey, or in smoothies.
Studies around the world have investigated the benefits and links between ashwagandha root and stress. Researchers in India found, through a recent small randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that those who took ashwagandha supplements daily for 60 days reported reductions in feelings of stress and improved mental well-being.
And it’s not just stress and anxiety that ashwagandha may help with. In 2017, a university sleep institute in Japan found that ashwagandha may have a significant effect on those who struggle with insomnia. It was discovered that a water extract from ashwagandha leaves contained triethylene glycol (TEG), a chemical that promotes non-rapid eye movement, an important component of restful sleep.
Additional studies have also found ashwagandha may improve memory and cognitive function for those with mild cognitive impairment. In a 2017 study involving 50 adults, those treated with ashwagandha root demonstrated an improvement in memory, attention spans, and information processing speed.
Ashwagandha supplements are available in capsule form, but it’s best to consult with your local health food store or health care practitioner to determine if it’s a good method for you to combat stress and get some much needed relaxation.