ASHWAGANDHA: Nature’s gift for Health and Wellness

What if I told you that there is a natural way to boost your Energy, help balance your hormones, help your Insulin resistance, help your thyroid problems, help your adrenal glands, strengthens your heart and decrease your anxiety or depression? Just ONE natural herb to take, with no side effects?

Congratulations. This is not a dream. These are a few things that Ashwagandha can help you with, and this is why you should know all about it.

1.       What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for thousands of years by East Indian cultures for its potent therapeutic health benefits. Also called “Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng", this herb comes from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka. It has been emerging in the West only in the past 50 years. Many compare it to the Asian Ginseng.

Its main characteristic is to be a potent ADAPTOGEN: it means that it decreases cellular sensitivity to stress, therefore reducing chronic stress effects and helping maintain a healthy balance and decrease risk of disease.

Ashwagandha means “Smell of a horse” in Hindi…. Ok, it doesn’t sound very appealing, but if you can somehow recognize the smell of a horse, it is mostly called like that because it has been used for so long for its strength and vigor benefits, just like those of a stallion!

2.       Many Health benefits

Ashwagandha is showing many good results to help people fighting chronic diseases like Diabetes, imbalanced Cholesterol levels, brain dysfunctions (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s…), and emotional distress like anxiety or depression. This is mainly due to the fact that it is an effective IMMUNOMODULATOR: it means that it has a direct impact on the functioning of your Immune System. It balances out the Immune response of your body by inducing, suppressing or enhancing it, depending on your body’s needs. It is as if Ashwagandha’s first role was to balance your body out, whether it is the hormones, the Immune System, the blood pressure, the stress activity…. If your body is able to stay in a good balanced state, the risk of disease is much lower than if it is in a chronic stress state.

a.       Energy and Heart Health Booster

One study in the World Journal of Medical Sciences shows that Ashwagandha increases your overall energy levels. Because it balances your body out, you don’t feel as fatigued anymore.

Furthermore, It helps prevent heart failure and improves overall cardiac function.

b.      Help for Diabetes and Hypoglycemia

Ashwagandha has a very potent antioxidant effect: it scavenges free radicals, significantly decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation (which are major causes of disease). This is very important especially for people suffering with Diabetes, as they have a greater risk of chronic inflammation, as well as Heart failure, obesity or even cancer.

In a study made on rats, Ashwagandha was able to stabilize blood sugar levels. It can balance out Insulin levels when the body needs it. In another study, results show that leaf (not root) extract increases insulin secretion in basal pancreatic beta cells. It is the compound Withaferin A that was found to improve glucose uptake: 10μM produce a 54% increase compared with control. This mainly explains Ashwagandha’s anti-diabetic activity.

In 2013, a clinical trial was made with human subjects, aiming at analysing the preventive effects of Ashwagandha on Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk especially for people taking second-generation of anti-psychotics. The patients were all schizophrenics with very bad overall blood tests results:

-          high triglycerides and LDL levels showing chronic inflammatory state

-          high fasting blood glucose

After just 1 month of Ashwagandha consumption, results were clear: compared to the placebo group, people taking Ashwagandha had their serum profile significantly improved. Their overall cholesterol profile as well as their fasting blood sugar levels were much more balanced.

c.       Brain health

One of Ashwagandha traditional uses is to improve memory and enhance brain activity and function.

Modern research shows that Ashwagandha boosts an important antioxidant in the brain: glutathione. Glutahione is CRUCIAL for brain’s cells development and enzymes efficiency. It is also essential for the detoxification process: it helps clearing out harmful toxins from your body. This is why Ashwagandha shows many good results for:

-          Memory, concentration and cognition

-          Patients suffering with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s or Parkinson’s

d.      Mental Health – help for addictions

Ashwagandha has a powerful anxiolytic and antidepressant effect, which allows it to stabilize your mood. It regulates neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and balances out your stress hormones levels such as cortisol as well.

It induces calmness, and clarity of mind, decreasing therefore chronic stress and anxiety levels.

It has also been able to help cases of opioid withdrawal, as well as other cases of people addicted to drugs such as Xanax or Valium.

e.      Fertility Issues

Mainly because Ashwagandha can regulate the harmful effects of chronic stress on your body, it has been able to help people suffering with infertility. It proved being able to:

-          Decrease overall stress levels and therefore strengthen overall body functions

-          Increase antioxidant levels, which is essential to allow the body to rest and repair

-          Increase men semen quality, helping people get pregnant

-          Stimulate women’s libido, also soothing painful periods and strengthening the uterus after miscarriage

On top of that, after 8 weeks of regular consumption, Ashwagandha helps improve muscle strength, mass and recovery.   

It is mainly due to Ashwagandha’s overall regulating effect that it can be a great added value for people suffering with these health issues.

f.        Glands and hormones balance

Ashwagandha can be a great help for people suffering with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). It helps the fatigued gland produce balanced levels of hormones, as needed by your body. When taken over time, it can also help balance your Adrenal gland function, which is essential for your overall health and wellbeing (see article about ADRENAL FATIGUE HERE).

g.       Might help for Cancer and Tumors

As we said earlier, Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that fights inflammation all over your body.

It actually also helps combat tumor growth by activating Cancer cell apoptosis (programmed CELL DEATH). On top of that, it triggers Reactive Oxygen Species and as a result, it helps kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. Ashwagandha also helps decrease tumor growth by inhibiting metastasis (spread of tumor cells growth).

More specifically, results of trials showed that Ashwagandha may be a potent help for lung, breast, colon, and some brain cancer.

As a conclusion, Ashwagandha is a very potent herb that you should definitely know about. There is always a good reason why a traditional remedy has been used for more than thousands of years. Even if research has to dig deeper into it, Ashwagandha has already showed, on real cases, that it can help many people with chronic health issues, whether these are physical or mental. Knowing that there are no side effects, why would you not give it a try and start consuming some? So many natural herbs and spices are good for you. By alternating them and consuming more various ones, you increase your chances of getting more of their own benefits. So be adventurous and be open to new savory tastes!

Ashwagandha is best taken in the evening. As usual, I like to mix it with my Organic Coconut Kefir, and I always add some Cinnamon for the taste :-) This is my very special mix! You can add it to your smoothies or salads, just be creative.

Yes, I talked about MORINGA, SPIRULINA, CHLORELLA, and now ASHWAGANDHA! Herbs and Algaes are quite different in nature, but you can eat them the same way. Alternate and vary your consumption. This is the best way to get all benefits from them.

In Health and Happiness,