Ashwagandha - known also as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry - is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which serves as a potent root that calms.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen: a strong, safe, and corrective superherb that helps protect your body from the damaging effects of stress. This mineral dense adaptogen aids thyroid function, alleviates depression, improves sleep and even contributes to virility.
so what actually is an adaptogen?
Adaptogens help the body to be in harmony with its environment by adapting to stress and change. The clue is in their name: they literally help the body to adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on our emotional and physical surroundings. For example, they can help calm in times of stress. They can give clarity when times feel tumultuous. They can give energy when we are tired. Basically, adaptogens restore the body’s innate immune function and help the body adapt to different stressors. This gives them preventative and protective, as well as curative activity in compromised immunity. Mineral-dense apaptogens allow your body to absorb nutrients, maintaining the body’s optimum energy and metabolic rate - This increases libido, eases inflammation, plus balances depression and anxiety.
Back to ashwagandha, who should take it and why?
This herb, used prolifically in traditional Indian Ayurvedic practice, is becoming increasingly popular in the West for its ability to reduce stress and promote a calmer and happier sense of being - No body is immune to the pressures of modern life, whether it be work deadlines, a daily commute, financial stress and not to mention, that our bodies are over-exposed to toxic stress too; from household chemicals, pesticides in our foods, pollutants in the air, intensively farmed meats and refined sugar to name but a few. Thankfully, this is where our favourite adaptogen, ashwagandha, comes in. Boasting an impressive variety of health benefits, here are the best:
Supports adrenal glands to reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha has been shown to support the adrenals via normalising cortisol levels. This reduces the negative effects of high (or low levels) of this hormone. This elevates ashwagandha as a highly significant supplement retort, because ongoing stress can be detrimental to our health so it is wise to seek measures that reduce it.
Stabilises blood sugar
Ashwagandha has been shown to stabilise blood sugar levels, reducing blood sugar when it's too high, or increasing it if too low. This is an example of the herb’s adaptogenic effect. Considering the evidence of the impact on blood sugar levels in diseases such as depression and dementia, this herb evidentially has been proven to have a profound impact on mental health.
Combats neurodegenerative diseases
The active ingredients in ashwagandha, called withanamides, have shown protective effects against B-amyloid-induced plaques in Alzheimer’s Disease. This is thought to be due to the natural antioxidants found in ashwagandha that scavenge free radicals to prevent cell damage. Studies also show promising results of ashwagandha’s protective effects against Parkinson’s Disease.
Immune boosting and anti-inflammatory
Ashwagandha has also demonstrated impressive immune-boosting effects on our immune system. It has been shown to encourage anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting immune cells that help to ward off illness. As Ashwagandha has potent anti-inflammatory properties, thus it is very useful in conditions such as arthritis. As the herb is rich in iron it also contributes to red blood cell count, which little jewels carry oxygen to our tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide, i.e. purifying our biology, deeply.
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