Have you heard of Ashwagandha before, and are curious about its benefits? Or perhaps you’ve never heard of it, and would like to learn more?
Let’s explore why Ashwagandha is one of my favourite herbs and what the science has to say about this incredible adaptogen.
What is Ashwagandha?
In Australia, we call it mostly by its scientific name, Withania somnifera and it’s a herb that grows across India, the Middle East and even some parts of Africa.
It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional/indigenous medicines for thousands of years.
WHAT IS AN ADAPTOGEN?
You might have noticed I referred to Ashwagandha as an adaptogen, so here’s a quick overview of what that term means.
An adaptogen is any herb (or even mushroom) that helps to counteract the impact of stress on your body. Because herbs have so many actions, there are different mechanisms that could classify them as an adaptogen.
For example, some help to relieve fatigue and increase energy, while others support the function of the nervous system and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Overall, they encourage a state of balance or homeostasis within the body’s systems.
The health benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a favourite with many Naturopaths and Herbalists, and for good reason. Some of the potential benefits of Ashwagandha include:
- Supporting stress and anxiety
- Support nervous system function and cognitive function
- Reducing fatigue
- Protecting against Alzheimer’s
- Supporting heart health by reducing blood pressure
- Decreasing inflammation
- Supporting a healthy mood balance
It’s also often used as a women’s tonic, as it’s also rich in iron. It is one of my top 3 adaptogens for perimenopause and healthy ageing because it has such a wide range of beneficial actions in the body.
WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE Ashwaghanda?
Unlike most herbs, there are only very rare known contraindications for Ashwagandha. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medications, you may wish to consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking it.
THE FORM OF YOUR Ashwagandha MATTERS!
I personally use and recommend KSM 66® Ashwagandha. KSM 66® uses only roots (not leaves), which are what the clinical research and traditional use of Ashwagandha have used. KSM 66® is also a full-spectrum extract, meaning it has the same balance of the various compounds that you would find in nature.
There have been 22 gold standard (randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled) human clinical trials using KSM66® and it’s the highest concentration, most bioavailable full spectrum root extract on the market today. The form of your Ashwagandha matters.