Modern medical science has come a long way over a very short period of time. That being said, there are plenty of things that many of us have to deal with on a daily basis, like anxiety, stress, and related issues, that can’t be treated so easily. In times like these, more and more of us turn to the wisdom of the ancients to find traditional medicines for help.
In this case, the Ayurvedic herbal remedy known as ashwagandha is one of the best ways to combat not just stress and anxiety but a number of other related physical issues. In fact, ashwagandha is so good at what it does that medical researchers are working hard to uncover the secrets of this mighty natural medicine.
The History of Ashwagandha as a Traditional Medicine
The history of ashwagandha root as a traditional medicine stretches back some 3000 years, or perhaps even longer! The ashwagandha is a plant that grows in the form of a short, leafy flowering bush that can be found in abundance in the higher elevations of the Indian peninsula.
Also known as Indian ginseng or winter gooseberry, the word “ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “the smell of the horse”, which refers to the unique smell of the plant’s roots, which are the parts of the ashwagandha bush that are used in Ayurvedic medicine, though the leaves are also sometimes used as well.
Ashwagandha is something of a panacea in Ayurvedic medicine in that it has been used to help treat a number of very different ailments. Whether it’s to reduce stress or treat anxiety, to support better brain health, to increase muscle mass and strength, or provide better cardiovascular health in a number of different ways (including lowering blood pressure and helping to control cholesterol), the list is seemingly unending.
Here’s a breakdown of all the ashwagandha benefits we know of.
Ashwagandha for Stress
Stress relief and reduction is an absolute must in our hectic modern life, and there’s plenty of evidence that ashwagandha supplements can help with that. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the bloodstream. Too much cortisol can lead to all sorts of physical problems such as weight gain and high blood sugar, so anything that has shown evidence to reduce cortisol is a major boon to your mental and physical health!
Ashwagandha for Anxiety
Yes, stress and anxiety are two very different things, and there are few things that can be as dangerous as treating one without the other. Good thing that ashwagandha has shown some real promise for reducing anxiety as well as stress! In fact, research has shown that taking ashwagandha can help reduce anxiety when taken regularly.
Ashwagandha for Depression
Ashwagandha turns out to be 3-for-3 when it comes to dealing with mental health issues that so many of us face. In this case, there’s mounting evidence that taking ashwagandha extract regularly can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Ashwagandha for High Blood Sugar
If you’re struggling with high blood sugar levels due to being diagnosed with diabetes, you know how challenging it can be to keep those glucose numbers down. There’s good news on this front, though; ashwagandha has shown the ability to improve glucose absorbption, which means more sugar moves out of your bloodstream and into your muscles where it belongs.
Ashwagandha for Brain Health
Whatever it is about ashwagandha that helps keep you free from stress, anxiety, and depression also helps keep your brain more healthy overall. Studies have shown that ashwagandha might play a role in protecting your brain from the effects of injury or illness, including dementia.
Cardioprotective Elements of Ashwagandha
Heart health is extremely important. Whether it’s keeping your cholesterol in check or making sure you’re not suffering from high blood pressure, it’s all crucial in keeping your heart pumping well and without strain — and ashwagandha has shown evidence that it can help do just that.
Miscellaneous Ashwagandha Benefits
As if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s a grab bag of benefits that ashwagandha is said to have. Ashwagandha extract has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to increase testosterone levels, and might even help fight against certain types of cancer. As if there weren’t enough reasons to take an ashwagandha supplement!
How Much Ashwagandha Should I Have Each Day?
While the recommended dose for ashwagandha will differ depending on whether you’re taking it in a root or leaf powder, the general guideline for this nutritional supplement is to take ashwagandha extract in 450-500mg capsules. You can take ashwagandha this way anywhere from once to twice daily.
There’s not much research that has shown the effects of taking ashwagandha supplements for long lengths of time, but it’s generally considered safe for most people. It’s not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, if you have an autoimmune disease or thyroid disease, or if you’re on blood sugar medication without first speaking to your doctor.
Ashwagandha: Good for What Ails You
No matter how healthy you are, you can always use a little boost to keep you in tip-top shape. For many people in our modern world, the kick that ashwagandha can give us can make all the difference when it comes to staying healthy. With this versatile little Ayurvedic root capable of helping with stress and anxiety, heart health, brain health, and everything else it can do, there’s never a bad time to add ashwagandha supplements to your daily regimen!