Ashwagandha has been used for millennia in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for everything from stress to fertility. And finally, this superfood is making a name for itself in the western world.
Why? Well, the name gives us a clue. Meaning “the strength of the horse” in Sanskrit, it hints at the strength and vigor that ashwagandha can offer. And its effects really are worth getting excited about. The focus of many new studies, this adaptogenic herb has been shown to improve stamina, boost thyroid function and potentially ward off a long list of diseases.
What is ashwagandha?
Called ‘Indian ginseng’ by some thanks to its invigorating properties, ashwagandha is actually more closely related to the tomato. Grown in the hot climates of northern Africa and India, the shrub bears delicate red fruit – inspiring its other common name, ‘winter cherry’.
But while the fruit may be the most striking part of the plant, it’s the root that holds the secret to many of ashwagandha’s health benefits. Classed as an adaptogenic herb, it helps the body adapt to both physiological and psychological stress. For ashwagandha in particular, these adaptogenic properties work by boosting adrenal function, giving the body a helping hand in dealing with stress.
Why use ashwagandha?
Do you ever face these common health complaints?
Yes? Then you’re in good company. As many as 77 percent of Americans report physical symptoms caused by the stresses of modern life. So what better time to introduce ashwagandha to our diet? As an adaptogenic herb, ashwagandha can help modulate the body’s response to stress or a changing environment. The result is better physical health, as well as an improved sense of wellbeing.
And it’s not only stress that ashwagandha can treat. The superfood has also been shown to help a wide range of common diseases and conditions, including:
By tackling the common root causes of fertility problems including hormonal imbalance, stress and nutrient deficiencies, ashwagandha can potentially help to boost fertility.
Ashwagandha has shown huge potential in improving the health of your thyroid thanks to its ability to balance hormones. Amazingly, the herb has been shown to support a sluggish thyroid for people diagnosed with hypothyroidism, as well as an overactive one for those with hyperthyroidism.
With rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s at record levels in the western world, the potential of ashwagandha to support healthy brain function is exciting. Shown to protect brain cells, the herb is often used to treat depression, as well as potentially help prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Research suggests that Ashwagandha could help women suffering from the troublesome symptoms of the menopause. Thanks to its adrenal benefits, the herb can help boost energy levels, zap fatigue and reduce hot flashes.
Ashwagandha doesn’t simply promote calm – it can help you feel energized too! In one recent study, researchers found that rats fed ashwagandha were able to swim twice as long as those fed a regular diet. So it’s well worth taking a regular ashwagandha supplement as part of an active lifestyle.