Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that has many benefits. It not only increases energy levels, but it also reduces stress.
Have you ever noticed that stress seems to push the pause button on your memory? During times of increased stress, our memory can turn from razor sharp to MIA.
As we navigate the minefield of modern living, it’s not just memory we need to worry about. It is important to pay attention to all the clues that tell us our body, mind, and emotions are dealing with stress. Some common signs of stress include anxiety, lack of focus, memory problems, digestive troubles, and occasional trouble sleeping.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) offers a way to balance the body’s response to stress. Grown in India and other areas of the Middle East, it’s been used for many millennia as a medicinal herb. It is well known as one of Ayurveda’s most prominent rasayanas or life extenders. Classified today as an adaptogen, ashwagandha is credited for a host of important benefits, including energy-increasing and stress-reducing properties, and its ability to activate a healthy immune response.
The stout and fleshy ashwagandha shrub’s name has a humorous translation. In Sanskrit its name means “smelling like a horse or mare,” which we translate today as “strong as a horse.” But giggles aside, the plant contains alkaloids called withanolides that show relaxant and antispasmodic effects. These give ashwagandha its reputation as a stress buster with overall adaptogenic benefits resulting in general good health and wellness.
Ashwagandha’s long history of traditional health use is supported by clinical studies on animals that verify its ability to
- increase energy and physical endurance
- strengthen the immune system
- reduce inflammation
- reduce anxiety and depression
- improve memory and brain function
- support normal levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- promote restful sleep
Ashwagandha’s antioxidant effect on brain cells has also been studied. A 2011 study from India showed the herb’s potential preventive effect on oxidative stress levels in the brains of mice and its potential use as a therapeutic agent to treat neurodegenerative disorders.
Used worldwide in nutritional supplements and herbal medicines, a review of the ever-widening library of scientific literature on ashwagandha shows that it appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine and central nervous systems.
The next time you’re going crazy trying to remember what’s next in your hectic schedule, or you’re stuck in traffic and your fight-or-flight response has you jumping through the sunroof of your car, remember history’s antistress herb, ashwagandha. It can help boost your brain, help you unwind, and relieve your fatigue.