The Healing Power of Ashwagandha
It’s no secret that herbs have a natural ability to heal. Many herbs can:
With so many natural herbs, sometimes it’s hard to figure out which you should consider for your natural medicine cabinet. Ashwagandha is one that’s on my shelf because it’s proven to relieve stress, increase energy levels, improve concentration and more.
What is Ashwagandha?
In Sanskrit ashwagandha translates to “the smell of a horse”. While that doesn’t sound too appealing, I believe it means that this herb contains the strength of a stallion.
And that’s what ashwagandha is: a healthy medicinal herb with many benefits for your brain and body that has been used for more than 3,000 years. It’s classified as an adaptogen, meaning it’s a non-toxic plant that can help the body resist stressors of all kind (physical, chemical or biological).
Here are some health benefits of ashwagandha:
1. Protect Against Cancer
Several animal studies show ashwagandha to induce apoptosis (cancer cell death) (source). It’s also been found to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading to other organs.
According to the National Cancer Institute:
Ashwagandha root powder extract contains numerous alkaloids, including withanine as the primary alkaloid, and steroidal lactone withanolides. The withanolides in this agent may suppress nuclear factor-kappaB activation and nuclear factor-kappaB-regulated gene expression, potentiating apoptosis and inhibiting tumor cell invasion.
2. Reduce Inflammation
Ashwagandha contains a high concentration of withanolides, which fight inflammation and tumor growth (source). This is important for your overall heath, but is especially crucial when it comes to cancer. Inflammation in the body can promote the growth and spread of cancer cells.
3. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
One study found that ashwagandha increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells (source).
It has also been studied for its anti-diabetic effects. This is because of the presence of phenolic compounds, including flavonoids. Research shows that flavonoids possess hypoglycemic activities, which can balance blood sugar levels.
4. Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Depression
The most popular use for ashwagandha is to reduce stress. It’s said to have effects similar to anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication.
In one of the most complete human clinical trials to date, researchers studied the effects of a standardized extract of ashwagandha on the negative effects of stress, including elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Many of the adverse effects of stress are thought to be related to elevated levels of cortisol. The results were impressive. The participants subjectively reported increased energy, reduced fatigue, better sleep, and an enhanced sense of well-being.
An ashwagandha capsule before bedtime is beneficial for anyone who suffers from insomnia and anxiety,
5. Lower Cholesterol
Ashwagandha is believed to help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is because it decreases inflammatory markers, which increases the risk of heart disease. This amazing herb can also boost muscle strength, which enhances the functioning of the heart.
6. Improve Memory
Research shows that ashwagandha promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.
At the National Brain Research Center (NBRC), scientists tested the herb on mice with Alzheimer’s. After 20 days of treatment cognitive performance of the mice improved significantly. At the end of 30 days, their brain function had returned to normal and the amyloid plaques that had been present in the mice’s brains were reduced (source).
Ashwagandha is traditionally taken as a fine powder mixed in honey or ghee. It can also be ingested in capsule form. The typical recommended dose is 500 to 1,000 mg.
I get my daily dose of ashwagandha in by drinking doTERRA’s TrimShake. It’s a convenient and delicious weight management shake mix that provides essential nutrients, including ashwagandha. Available in natural chocolate and vanilla flavors, TrimShake blends well with water or a milk alternative and provides 8 grams of protein per serving.
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