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Is Ashwagandha Right For Me?

Native to India and parts of Africa, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a small evergreen shrub with yellow/green flowers and reddish fruit. Its roots and berries have been used medicinally for centuries. It is commonly called Indian ginseng, Indian winter cherry or poison gooseberry and is a member of the Solanaceae family.

In this Healthy Insight:

What is Ashwagandha (Wishania Somnifera)?

Today herbalists consider ashwagandha an adaptogen, a member of a group of herbs, roots and other natural substances that “adapt” to an individual’s unique physical and emotional needs to create balance and bring the body back into harmony.  Other popular adaptogens include American and Siberian ginseng, Cordyceps, and Rhodiola rosea.

Scientists worldwide have been studying adaptogens for their ability to boost energy, lift mood and keep you feeling your best. Ashwagandha has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine for everything from physical comfort to stress management.

woman on Ashwagandha meditating

What is Ashwagandha Good For?

  • Mental health – promotes positive outlook
  • Stress – helps your body adapt to stress and balance your body’s processes
  • Men’s health – supports prostate and reproductive health
  • Brain function – clears mind and fosters concentration
  • Antioxidant – fights free radicals
  • Hormones – plays a role in the body’s stress hormone, cortisol
  • Stamina – promotes mental and physical stamina

Ashwagandha for Mental Health

While stress affects us physically, what we usually notice first is our mental state of general anxiety, sadness, or lack of concentration. It’s important to note that all stress involves cortisol which is released by our adrenal glands. Nicknamed the “stress hormone,” cortisol is great for giving you energy to wake up in the morning and get you through the day, but when cortisol is released continually throughout the day due to stress, it causes chronic mental health issues. Ashwagandha works to reduce the amount of cortisol being released so stress levels feel diminished. Individuals who faithfully take Ashwagandha swear by its ability to improve mental health, ability to focus, energy and quality of life. 

Man on Ashwagandha surfing

Ashwagandha for Men’s Health

There have been some studies that suggest ashwagandha is beneficial for men’s health in supporting testosterone levels, fertility, sperm health and muscle strength. One of the earliest recognized benefits of ashwagandha was its potential to boost strength, energy, and muscle mass while enhancing body composition. Small recent studies show positive results as well, especially as relates to weightlifting.

Ashwagandha for Brain Function

It is thought that ashwagandha can enhance mental capacity, memory and brain health.

Ashwagandha and Antioxidants

Ashwagandha supplies naturally occurring antioxidants that fight free radicals to inhibit cellular damage. Many herbalists believe free radicals are what cause long-term health issues.

Is Ashwagandha Right For You?

While ashwagandha is well tolerated by most people, it’s always best to consult with your doctor to see what’s right for you. If you do proceed, always take the lowest recommended dosage and follow instructions carefully. You will find several types of ashwagandha in root powder, leaf powder, or more potent extract form. It’s widely available but be sure it’s from a reputable retailer known for quality.

Tips to Improve Quality of Life

  • Foster healthy relationships
  • Disconnect from unhealthy relationships
  • Exercise regularly
  • Find meaning in your job
  • Enjoy the outdoors
  • Make time for fun
  • Remove energy drains
  • Get a good night’s rest
  • Learn something new everyday
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Let things go
  • Smile more

Ashwagandha has received a lot of positive press lately and is one of the most popular adaptogens on the market. It might be just the ticket you need for less stress and more enjoyment in your day. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary

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