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Ashwagandha benefits, recipes and more
Have you ever heard about incredible Adaptogenic herb Ashwagandha? Have you ever heard about Ashwagandha benefits?
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that is also called the Indian Winter Cherry. Ashwagandha is well-known for rejuvenating the body and fighting fatigue, in Ayurveda. You are going to discover the vast array of the benefits of Ashwagandha and the most relevant information about this amazing product. Before we continue with the many benefits, we want to give you an overview if this very special herb.
A) What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda and holds great importance due to its vast area of application. It has been known in India for its many healing properties and Ayurvedic physicians have been recommending this herb for thousands of years. Ashwagandha’s botanical name is Withania somnifera. Ashwagandha is also commonly known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, and is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family.
The part used of the plant used is the root. It derives its named "ashwagandha" due to two reasons. The first reason is that its root smells like horse and the other reason is that it vitalizes body to provide strength just like a horse possess.
What is the difference between Ayurveda root and Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha root is a herb that has been used for the past 4,000 years for a variety of medicinal purposes. It is the traditional medicine of India, and is known as a type of Ayurvedic medicine. The word Ayurveda, literally translated, means the science of life. It comes from the Sanskrit root words ayur which means life, and veda, which means to know.
Ayurveda differs from traditional medicine which looks to science and research for answers and cures. Instead, Ayurveda followers believe that five great elements make up the universe and the human body: earth, water, fire, air and space. Consequently, this type of medicine seeks to look at these elements to cure ailments of the body.
Ashwagandha is a plant, but it is the root and berry that are used to make medicine. In keeping with Ayurveda, which uses senses to define its medicinal value, ashwagandha gets its name from the Sanskrit ashva (meaning 'horse') and gandha (meaning 'smell'), which refers to the odour of the root.
Ashwagandha bears yellow flowers and red fruit - all of which are berry sized. However, never take the plant without buying it as there are serious health implications involved.
"Do not eat ashwagandha berries, as they can cause severe gastrointestinal pain. Taking ashwagandha with tranquilizers may result in drowsiness and loss of coordination. You should avoid this herb if you are taking prescription drugs for anxiety, insomnia, or a seizure disorder" herbal specialist Phyllis Balch advised.
The plant grows in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
B) Ashwagandha benefits to your health
There are many well- known benefits of Ashwagandha which we will list below for you and then go in depth to explain the possible benefits of each one.
- Stress / anxiety
- Mental health
- Immune system
- Thyroid levels
- Urinary tract
- Reproductive system
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means that it allows people to adapt better to environmental factors. For example, a person who is suffering physically may benefit from an adaptogen, while someone who has mental anxiety may also feel the effects.
In terms of psychological problems such as nervousness, people sometimes take Ashwagandha for its calming effects. Medicinal expert Tori Hudson advises taking ashwagandha for general mental well-being. She comments that Ashwagandha is well-known in the area of the Himalayas as a treatment for general debility, loss of muscle strength and general debility.
To confirm this, a study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Centre found that ashwagandha inhibits the number of nerve cells that fire in the brain - which makes for a less anxious mind. As well as mental benefits, it also helps the immune system. Attending to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians reports, ashwagandha can help fight illnesses (eg. colds) and improve the immune system.
The test mixed the herb with cow's milk, and found that there was a direct correlation between the immune system cells count and the amount of Ashwagandha taken. According to other specialists, the herb can stabilise thyroid levels, as well as prevent cancer cells activity. In addition, it is thought to be beneficial in clearing up urinary infections.
Possibly most famously, the herb is known as a sexual stimulant. According to Ms Balch, Ashwagandha could affect the sexual life, increasing the sexual stamina and reducing the frequency of premature ejaculation. So, summarizing, here are the most important Ashwagandha benefits:
- It has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to be helpful for swellings and goitre as well used locally it assists a body part which is experiencing inflammation and pain.
- Ashwagandha is known for its abilities to help the body deal with stress, it encourages calmness helps nurture the nervous system.
- Another Ashwagandha benefit consists of helping to provide nourishment to the brain and enhances its better function.
- Ashwagandha helps increase stamina levels, revitalizes the body and helps reduce fatigue that may have been caused by a weak body and system.
- It also has antioxidant properties and therefore is beneficial for anti-aging.
- It is considered as one of the most commonly used herb in relieving hypertension with excellent results.
- The last point about Ashwagandha benefits is about how helpful it’s for increasing physical endurance and a very rejuvenating herb for people who are recovering from a long illness.
C) How can Ashwagandha be taken?
So…how can you take Ashwagandha to get the maximum benefits?
Tinctures and capsules
You can take this herb in a variety of different ways, from tinctures to capsules. Choose whichever you think you'd prefer to take, and always read the label carefully. Tinctures are known to be a more effective and potent way to take herbs as they can enter your bloodstream much quicker than in the ground herb form.
To get a high absorption rate you can take Ashwagandha on an empty stomach. It’s important to have into account that ashwagandha may cause drowsiness in some people and it’s recommended not to drive after taking it.
An addition to your beverage
You can even add Ashwagandha and other adaptogens to your beverages! Of late there has been a huge interest in Adaptogenic lattes and smoothies. These new drinks are offered in health cafes and stores which include the powder of certain adaptogens. You can of course make your own Adaptogenic drinks at home. We have an amazing recipe for a homemade Adaptogenic Mocha.
What is important when choosing an Ashwagandha supplement?
Here we are going to explore the top three factors in choosing a great Ashwagandha supplement!
When choosing an Ashwagandha supplement it is important to find one which contains a minimum of 5% withanoloids. Withanoloids are the compounds of the root of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha plant). They are what is believed to account for the herbs extraordinary medical properties.
2. Fresh ground herb
It is important to find a supplement which is freshly ground and ideally ground and the capsulated within 3 hours. This will help retain the freshness and nutrients of the herb. Herbs should ideally be organic and biodynamically grown. Where it is not possible to source organic, then you should opt for wildcrafted. Wild crafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or "wild" habitat, for food, medicinal, or other purposes.
3. Free from nasties
Supplements should be free from fillers, binding and bulking agents and other nasties that many mainstream brands tend to use. They should be formulated with pure ingredients in bio available form for the best absorption.
D) A how-to-guide to make a home-made Adaptogenic Latte
Use magical Adaptogenic herbs, for a luscious Adaptogenic Mocha laced with cocoa, honey and tahini, with almond milk.
This recipe can work to nourish your body with calming herbs, and make yourself a warming, soothing Latte for the Wintertime. Not only will this mixture nourish your body, but it may provide your mind with mental clarity too.
The Adaptogens Ashwagandha and Maca are incredible female centered herbs. They are roots, which make this latte nutrient dense and grounding. Topped with a sprinkle of lovely cinnamon powder for an autumnal feel.
They are paired with superfoods, high in calcium, magnesium and iron. This mixture will give your mind a gentle lift while also nourishing your body and mind. This creamy, delicious drink is like a natural medicine for the mind!
-2 cups almond milk
-1 teaspoon Cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon Maca Powder
-1 teaspoon Ashwagandha
-1 teaspoon honey (or more, depending on preference)
-1 teaspoon tahini (optional) for creaminess!
-Dash of cinnamon on top!
- In a pot, warm the milk gently over heat.
- Whisk in the powders and herbs until fully incorporated. Then whisk in the honey for a little sweetness. Add the optional tahini.
- You can blend for ten seconds or use a hand frother for maximum froth and enjoy - with a dash of cinnamon!
The soul-soothing ingredients
- ADAPTOGEN: ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is the root of a plant in the night shade family. This herb can provide you with energy and mental clarity. This a calming adaptogen which is known to help reduce the effects of little sleep and stressful living.
This herb is extremely nutrient dense and has been used to enhance endocrine function, helping to re-balance the adrenal glands. It can be effective for anxiety, nervousness and is very rich in iron.
- ADAPTOGEN: MACA POWDER
A Peruvian radish that actually tastes like caramel! Ours is a blend of four root powders from Peru; yellow, black, red and purple.
This Adaptogenic powder is renowned for balancing hormones, giving energy and stamina, supporting your mood and overall brain health, fertility, bone density, and it extremely nutrient rich – calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins B and C.
- MOOD BOOSTER: COCOA POWDER
Cocoa powder is actually known to have anti-depressant qualities, and may boost a neurotransmitter in the brain, which can boost endorphins! Cocoa also has a massive amount of antioxidants, and essential minerals, calcium and potassium. Including this powder along with the adaptogens, will add a nutrient-mood boost, and a lovely chocolate flavour (and who doesn’t like chocolate?!)
- A LITTLE SWEETNESS: HONEY
Add a little bit of natural sweetness to the latte with raw honey, which is a natural energy source. It is also known to boost the immune system and is full of antioxidants. If you are vegan, you can switch this to Agave nectar.
- PROTEIN: ALMOND MILK
Great alternative to dairy. A good source of protein, calcium, and fibre!
- CREAMY: TAHINI
One of the highest plant sources of calcium, as well as magnesium, fibre, and a whole array of phytonutrients!
Do you have any questions about the Ashwagandha benefits or anything else you need to know?! Please do not hesitate to leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you!