The Benefits of Ashwaganda
We all need stress relief. We can’t predict and help the chronic insult of what is going on in the world, but you can choose your response. Start with Ashwaghanda and you’ll make better decisions. I have ever since I started it. I use my own medicine. I prescribe this to nearly all of my patients. Back in January of 2017, I provided information to Cassie Shortsleeve of the Vitamin Shoppe regarding Ashwaganda. I believe you all will enjoy this article! Read on!
In the age of superfoods, it seems there are constantly new names and ingredients for the health conscious to be in the know about. The latest craze, ashwagandha, isn’t a fad at all, but rather an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb that’s been around for years.
Not to worry—we touched base with Peter K. Raisanen, NMD., a naturopathic physician to break down what’s essential about this plant and how it could benefit your day-to-day.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an herb that comes from the Solanaceae (a.k.a. nightshade) family, explains Raisanen.
In Ayurvedic medicine—a form of ancient Indian medicine that’s all about natural healing—ashwagandha is an all-star. The highly-revered herb has been used for millennia, says Raisanen.
“The root is the portion of the herb used for the medicinal action,” Raisanen says. It can come in the form of bulk herb (the full physical root), tincture of root (alcohol), ground root in tea, or ground root in a capsule form, he explains.
Ashwagandha’s Traditional Uses
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen, which is a type of plant extract believed to promote a healthy stress response in the body. “They work through a variety of body systems, especially the endocrine, immune, and central nervous systems,” says Raisanen.
Traditionally, the herb has been used in response to stress and anxiety. According to Raisanen, ashwagandha helps to boost the nervous system and is often beneficial for those dealing with excess or chronic stress.
A study published in The Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that when people under chronic stress supplemented with 300 milligrams of ashwagandha (in capsule form) a day for 60 days, they experienced a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reported improved feelings of well-being. (Additional note: these days I see INCREDIBLE stress relief in all my patients with 1000-2000mg of this herb. Create an account here and get 5% off the retail price. After you set up your account, order Ayush Herbs Ashwaganda capsules. I get the 120 capsule bottle and at 4 caps per day it lasts me one month. It is the best money I spend every month on myself second to good food.)
Plus, ashwagandha may promote strength gains from exercise. One study published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that men who supplemented with 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day while following an eight-week strength training program saw greater increases in muscle strength compared to those who didn’t take the herb. (Additional note: This is true to a very large degree. Decreasing cortisol, which is a key mechanism of Ashwaghanda, allows for anabolism and easy strength gains as well as increasing testosterone in males. My testosterone ranges between 950 – 1100 ng/dL naturally with my own regimen.)
What To Know Before Supplementing
Since ashwagandha is an herb, there’s no single recommended dosage. Raisanen recommends either three to six grams daily via one cup of tea one to three times a day, one to three teaspoons of tincture in water, or (most easily) one gram via 2 capsules. (Additional note: if you want to purchase supplements, please do yourself a favor and buy the high quality stuff that works. Did you know that a large percentage of supplements on store shelves that have been tested have contained grass and other ingredients?? You get what you pay for actually is true with supplementation. You need stuff that is produced in GMP facilities and third party tested).
According to Raisanen, ashwagandha may affect autoimmune diseases and interfere with immunosuppressive drugs…. It’s best to touch base with your doctor to find out the right dosing for you before you start supplementing.