With Ayurveda being one of the oldest medicine systems in the world, it’s to no surprise that Ayurvedic herbs are still being used and prescribed extensively in today’s healing practices.
Ashwagandha root, also known as “Indian ginseng”, is a remarkable Ayurvedic herb that delivers mental, physical and emotional benefits to one’s well-being.
If you’re one to experience stress, fatigue, lack of energy or poor stamina, ashwagandha’s powerful adaptogenic properties may help to reinforce your body’s overall equilibrium!
What is an Adaptogen?
In herbal medicine, adaptogens are compounds that normalize the endocrine system. An ‘adaptogen’ does simply what it’s name implies, in that it helps the body ‘adapt’ to certain conditions. In short, adaptogens help strengthen and balance your body’s response to stress or other changing environments. These herbs, ashwagandha being one of them, promote amazing benefits when taken long term.
Internal Adaptogenic Benefits of Ashwagandha Root
Ashwagandha Root For Stress-Reduction
Ashwagandha is an excellent anti-stress tonic. Not only has this herb been used for centuries, but it has also been used in various clinical trials for stress and anxiety.
Since stress is inevitable these days due to money, work, relationships or time constraints, it’s important to take adaptogens on a daily basis to help the body cope with these stressors.
It’s been known that elevated levels of the hormone “cortisol” are linked to the many negative effects of stress including: memory and learning interference, increased risk of depression and weakened immunity: all of which are undeniably detrimental.
In one comprehensive study, standardized extracts of ashwagandha (300 mg, 2x a day) were given to sixty-four adult participants, all with a history of chronic stress, for 60 days. The results were extraordinary, reporting a reduction of cortisol levels up to 28%!
Adaptogens really do help with taking the edge off!
Ashwagandha Root for Fighting Fatigue
The adrenal glands fuel our fight or flight responses (also known as our stress responses). Every time the body registers stress, these glands release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the body. If the adrenals are overworking themselves due to these constant stressors, then this often results in something called ‘adrenal fatigue’.
When your adrenals are taxed and aren’t able to meet the demands of everyday stress, other problems in the body can occur like chronic tiredness and insomnia.
According to Christiane Northrup, M.D, people who have adrenal fatigue typically have low levels of cortisol in the morning and excessively higher levels at night. This means that you may feel low energy throughout the day (when you need it most) and high levels of energy at night (when you should be resting). These up’s and down’s take a toll on the body, which is why adaptogens play an important role in our health and harmony.
Ashwagandha Root for Stamina
Who doesn’t need an energy boost? And no, not the instant euphoria you get from drinking a cup of coffee, but rather that steady and sustainable energy you get from the power of adaptogens.
Ashwagandha’s revitalizing properties help to increase your stamina! By stamina, we mean sexual endurance along with muscular and physical strength.
In India, ashwagandha is commonly prescribed by physicians for both men and women to increase libido and to improve sexual function. In addition to boosting libido, the acclaimed author and medicine hunter, Chris Kilham, states that: “The Indian Materia Medica recommends use of ashwagandha for general debility, impotence, general aphrodisiac purposes, brain fatigue, low sperm count, nervous exhaustion, and in any cases in which general vigor must be restored. For men and women, for the old and the young, ashwagandha builds strength from within. ”
An interesting study on the effects of ashwaghanda supplementation for increasing endurance was performed on forty elite indian cyclists who received 500 mg of ashwagandha capsules twice daily for eight weeks. The results showed significant improvement in cardiorespiratory endurance of all the elite athletes.
This potent adaptogen seems to be making it’s way even into the world of athletics!
How to Add Ashwagandha Into Your Diet
Ashwagandha is incredibly safe and is considered to have no known contraindications or side effects. This herb is available in many forms, the most popular being in capsule form, but is also available as a powder or liquid extract. A typical recommended daily dose of this herb is about 500 to 1000 mg twice daily.
As a powder or liquid extract supplementation, these forms may be added to your daily smoothie or a warm cup of tea or milk.
Check out our favorite brand, Organic India, which offers an amazing quality of ashwagandha root, along with other powerful and supportive Ayurvedic herbs.
Discover the magic of ashwagandha and it’s adaptogenic benefits!
by Abby Jean
Kilham, Chris. “Hot Plants: Nature’s Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women”
St Martin’s Press 2004