To say nature is pretty amazing is a vast understatement; we already know that nature is beyond words amazing and capable. She’s gorgeous. There are all kinds of wonderful things that come from nature that we can eat, and so many of these delights are so much more than just things that taste good or make other foods taste good. Some things that come from the Earth are great for kicking nasal congestion, some ease a dry, scratchy throat, and some can even help relieve stress, help you get better sleep, and alter your immune system. As you already know, we are here to tell you all about Ashwagandha.
(image via: aerat)
Ashwagandha is a small shrub with yellow flowers that grows in spades in Asia and Africa and is also one of the most important herbs in what is known as Ayurveda. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic systems of healing, and while we don’t claim that holistic practices are better or should be used in place of modern medicine, we were and are very interested in the possible health benefits ashwagandha can provide. Let’s get started!
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Reducing stress is probably what ashwagandha is best known for and what typically draws people to it. Ashwagandha appears to help control mediators of stress, including heat shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol, and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1) (4Trusted Source). It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a system in your body that regulates the stress response. (source, source) A number of studies have shown that there is a really good chance ashwagandha may be helpful in reducing stress, but there still isn’t enough evidence to say those experiencing stress and anxiety should take a particular dosage.
Reduced Blood Sugar Levels
Again, there is limited research, but what research has been done has shown that there is a trend of lower blood sugar levels among those that took ashwagandha versus those that didn’t. It’s believed that certain compounds within ashwagandha, including one called withaferin A (WA), have powerful antidiabetic activity and may help stimulate your cells to take in glucose from your bloodstream. (source)
Once you hit a certain age, you start to notice a little more inflammation all over your body, trust us on this one. In one study from 2008, adults experiencing stress took ashwagandha extract for 60 days. As a result, they had significant reductions in C-reactive protein – an inflammatory marker – compared with those who consumed a placebo. (source)
There are a number of other benefits such as boosts in testosterone, improved athletic performance, improved brain function, as well as improved memory and sleep. All in all, ashwagandha has proven to be safe and effective for people to take and is worth looking into if you suffer from any of the above conditions. (But of course check with your doctor first! Your real doctor, not just Facebook doctors.)