There are so many ways that you could go about relieving stress (yoga, meditation, flotation tanks etc.), but one of the most effective, by far, is tapping into the power of natural, stress-busting ingredients. In that regard, there are few ingredients more effective in keeping your mind relaxed and at ease than that of Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb (ie. an herb that helps you adapt in the face of stress), that has been used as an ancient Ayurvedic ingredient that has long been recognized for its calming, stress-alleviating properties. Ashwagandha a perennial herb native to Southern Asia and is cultivated in the drier regions of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India. It features small, green flowers and fruit that is orange to red when ripe. A member of the nightshade family, ashwagandha is related botanically to potatoes, pepper, and tomatoes.
Here are some of the key benefits of adding Ashwagandha to your daily wellness routine, starting with stress relief but going far beyond:
Can Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
- Several studies have shown that it increases insulin secretion and improves insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. Several human studies have confirmed its ability to reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy people and in those with diabetes.
Has Anti-Cancer ( Anti-tumor ) Properties
- Studies have shown that it impedes the growth of cancer cells in multiple ways, including that of generating reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are toxic to cancer cells but not to normal healthy cells.
Can Reduce Cortisol Levels
- In studies done on chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared to those who didn’t.
May Help Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Aid in Better Sleep
- Research has shown that it blocks the stress pathway in the brain by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system.
Can Boost Testosterone and Increase Fertility in Men
- Ashwagandha supplements may have powerful effects on testosterone levels and reproductive health. In one study in 75 infertile men, the group treated with ashwagandha showed increased sperm count and motility.
May Increase Muscle Mass and Strength and Reduced Stress and Fatigue
- Ashwagandha has been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat and increase strength in men. Studies show that those who took ashwagandha had significantly greater gains in muscle strength and size. It also more than doubled the reduction in body fat percentage, compared to the placebo group.
May Reduce Inflammation – Anti-arthritic Effects and Improved Immunity
- Studies have found that it increases the activity of natural immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy.
May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides
- Ashwagandha may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
May Improve Brain Function, Including Memory
- Research has shown that it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals. Ashwagandha supplements may improve brain function, memory, reaction times and the ability to perform tasks.
Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people.
However, certain individuals should not take it, those include pregnant and breastfeeding women. People with autoimmune diseases should also avoid ashwagandha unless instructed to by a doctor. This includes people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes. Additionally, those on medication for thyroid disease should be careful when taking ashwagandha, as it may possibly increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.