Before the rise of modern medicine, advances in technology and healthcare innovation, people all around the world relied on the materials that came from the earth to cure their common illnesses. Today, many people are choosing to go back to their roots – so to speak – and opt for a natural alternative to combat a variety of physical, mental and emotional concerns.
One of the most versatile natural remedies comes from the traditional system of Ayurvedic healing practised in India. For many years now, the Withania somnifera root (also known as ashwagandha) has been used as a restorative medicine, prescribed to re-energise and restore the body as well as for a range of specific conditions.
What is the history behind ashwagandha?
Also known as winter cherry, Ayurvedic ginseng or Indian ginseng, ashwagandha is a leafy green plant that bears small red fruit. It is from the Solanaceae family of shrubs and grows in Africa and the Mediterranean as well as India.
For over 3,000 years the plant has been used in Ayurvedic and other traditional medicinal remedies. It was most commonly prescribed as a tonic for the liver, an anti-inflammatory, astringent and even aphrodisiac.
It's also considered to be an ‘adaptogen‘, the name given to a unique class of herbs and plants that are thought to help support a healthy adrenal system. The adrenal system is behind your body’s hormonal response to stress, meaning they manage how the body reacts to stress and improve the ability to fight against stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Stress is a factor that many of us have to deal with in our everyday lives. Without the proper balance, an excessive amount of stress can lead to effects on your body and your mind – changing the way you behave, eat and even sleep.
There are many methods for reducing stress and replenishing your natural vitality, but ashwagandha may be one of the more effective solutions out there.
What makes ashwagandha effective?
The ashwagandha herb is packed with a variety of potentially beneficial nutrients. Some of these are thought to help calm the brain, reduce swelling and even lower blood pressure.
These effects may be attributed mostly to the presence of withanolides within the plant, which are a specific type of steroidal lactone. Withanolides are one of the main biologically active parts of the plant and previous studies have shown they could support immune function by stimulating the activity of certain cells (such as lymphocytes). They may even be helpful in the fight against cancer.
Specifically, researchers have identified withaferin-A and withanolide D as two of the most important withanolides within ashwagandha.
Other studies have concluded that ashwagandha is a powerful antioxidant, a substance that protects the cells from free radical damage. It is also thought to be an effective remedy for stress and helpful at promoting general wellness and vitality.
For example, one research team found ashwagandha works in a similar way to gamma amino-butyric acid or GABA, which prevents nerve cells in the brain from over-firing. This helps to support better sleep, a positive mood and reduced anxiety.
What are the modern uses for ashwagandha?
Thanks to its powerful withanolides and other beneficial chemicals, ashwagandha is used in a variety of ways today:
- to help the body cope with the physical effects of stress, and as a way to restore vitality and energy
- to help decrease swelling, inflammation and pain
- to improve mental clarity
- also used as an aphrodisiac in some cases
- it can also be helpful for men and women with fertility problems
Although it’s not a ‘new’ medical innovation, ashwagandha could be the solution for chronic stress, fatigue and other common health complaints.
Good Health Stress & Vitality Support provides a triple action adaptogen formula to support the adrenal glands and therefore the capacity to deal with stress. It contains 3 key ingredients: Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng and Rhodiola. Buy it now from our secure on-line shop.
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