Multi-tasking, challenges, and stress daily can sometimes seem overwhelming for many of us. In such moments, support for better functioning of the brain, better response to stress, and better sleep that will make you feel well rested is more than welcome. If this sounds familiar to you too, we might have the perfect solution for you – an exotic plant with amazing properties – Ashwagandha!
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or “winter cherry”, was initially cultivated in the dry regions of India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, but it is now cultivated in many other parts of the world thanks to its renowned benefits.
It is a rather small plant, with greenish-yellow flowers, and red, berry-like fruits.
The primary part of the Ashwagandha plant is its root. The large, woody root is typically harvested, dried, and then processed into various forms, such as powders, capsules, extracts, and liquids, which are used as dietary supplements. Some supplements may also contain other parts of the plant, such as the leaves or berries, but the root is the most commonly used and studied part of the Ashwagandha plant for its potential health benefits.
From ancient medicinal plant to modern-day supplement
You might not have heard about it until relatively recently, but Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India. It has been mentioned in various Ayurvedic texts, including the Charaka Samhita and the Susruta Samhita, which are among the oldest and most comprehensive treatises on Ayurvedic medicine.
In these texts, Ashwagandha is classified as a rejuvenating herb believed to promote physical and mental health, as well as longevity. In recent years, studies have shown that the plant contains several bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, steroidal lactones (withanolides), and flavonoids, which are believed to provide its health benefits.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information mentions it as “a real potent regenerative tonic (Rasayana of Ayurveda), due to its multiple pharmacological actions like anti-stress, neuroprotective, antitumor, anti-arthritic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory, etc. It is useful for different types of diseases like Parkinson’s, dementia, memory loss, stress-induced diseases, malignoma, and others.”
Surprising Ashwagandha benefits for health
Ashwagandha has been traditionally used to help alleviate stress, anxiety, fatigue, and promote better sleep. It is also used to support a healthy immune function, as well as for its potential to improve brain function, physical performance, and overall vitality. Its benefits include:
• Reducing stress and anxiety: Ashwagandha has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety levels in some studies, possibly by regulating the body’s stress response system.
• Improving brain function: Ashwagandha may improve memory, attention, and cognitive function in some individuals, as well as help protect the brain from oxidative damage.
• Supporting healthy sleep: Ashwagandha has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration in some people, possibly by reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
• Boosting immune function: Ashwagandha may help enhance immune function and protect against infections, possibly by increasing the production of immune cells.
• Supporting healthy aging: Ashwagandha has been classified as a rasayana herb in Ayurvedic medicine, which means it is believed to promote longevity and healthy aging by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
4 ways to introduce Ashwagandha into your diet
Today, Ashwagandha is widely available in various forms, such as powders, capsules, and extracts, and is often used as a dietary supplement. There are several ways to consume Ashwagandha, including:
1. Ashwagandha powder: one of the most common ways to consume ashwagandha is in powder form made from the fleshy, woody root. You mix 1-2 teaspoons of ashwagandha powder in a glass of warm water or plant-based milk and drink it. You can also mix the powder into smoothies, fresh juices, or coconut yoghurt.
2. Ashwagandha capsules: Capsules are a comfortable way to carry your supplements when you are on the move or in a hurry. You take 1-2 capsules per day, depending on the dosage recommended by your healthcare provider.
3. Ashwagandha tea: Enjoying a cup of warm tea sip by sip is, on its own, a way to relax. The ayurvedic qualities of Ashwagandha will transform your cup of tea into a truly relaxing experience. Ashwagandha tea can be prepared by steeping 1-2 teaspoons of ashwagandha root powder in a cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. You can add honey or lemon to improve the taste – enjoy your tea warm.
4. Ashwagandha extract: If you want to make the most of this plant’s properties, try a concentrated liquid extract. You can add a few drops of the liquid extract to water, tea, or juice. We recommend the potent 10:1 Organic Ashwagandha Liquid Extract from Vimergy, a clean formula without any alcohol or chemical additives.
It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including Ashwagandha, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medications.