What is ashwagandha? It’s one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic medicine due to its treatment of a wide variety of conditions, used since ancient times. Its strength inspired its name, which means “the smell of a horse” in Sanskrit. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, maybe, but this “superfood” is worth your time.
While bitter (remember, smell of a horse?) this herb has been shown to help settle frazzled nerves by assisting your cells in adapting to environmental, emotional and physical stressors. Ashwagandha lowers your cortisol levels (cortisol produces glucose, which leads to elevated blood sugar levels) and mimics GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, in the body. In fact, ashwagandha is most often associated as an all natural stress reliever by many holistic practitioners.
This little wonder herb, however, can do much more. For many centuries in India, it’s been used in children who fail to thrive, due to its rejuvenating properties. By the same token, it’s very helpful to boost the immune system after such trauma as surgery, chemotherapy and illness and can aid in low endurance — mental, physical and sexual.
Those with more life experience (old age sounds somewhat insulting, doesn’t it?) can use ashwagandha to aid with rheumatism, weakness, fatigue and other debility and lower cholesterol. It’s also been said to assist with constipation, insomnia and joint pain/inflammation.
Recent research reports that ashwagandha may help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by stopping the loss of connection between neurons in the brain and may inhibit tumor growth while promoting new nerve growth.
You can even use this herb topically, making a paste from its root powder, and applying to boils, ulcers and other skin irritations.
Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? To take ashwagandha as part of your daily routine, you can mix the powder in honey or ghee (or sprinkle a teaspoon in warm milk before bedtime if you suffer with insomnia) or ingest a capsule (again, before bedtime if you have sleeping issues.)
If you suffer any medical conditions, always be sure to consult with your physician before taking any supplement.