Today, our lives are a bit stressful. We have to juggle jobs, families, social lives, bills and more. It can be hard to relax, and the resulting chronic stress takes an undeniably harsh toll.
Putting this kind of stress on your body and mind often leads to serious health issues like high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and neurological diseases.
The Indian herb ashwagandha helps alleviate many of the lingering symptoms that come along with stress and the conditions associated with it.
What It Is
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub found in India, Africa and other parts of the Middle East. The plant is an adaptogenic herb, also known as the Indian ginseng.
The herb has been shown to help the body become more resistant to stress enabling you to reserve and sustain vital energy throughout the day and sleep through the night. 1
How It Works
The active constituents in the herb include alkaloids, steroidal lactones and withanolides. All of these have properties in relaxation and stress relief.
Studies on animals have also shown that ashwagandha has the ability to stifle tumor growth while the body’s production of the signaling molecule interleukin-2 (IL-2), which is known to strengthen immunity. 2
Signaling molecules send orders to cells throughout the body. Specifically, IL-2 directs the actions of white blood cells and therefore plays an immense role in immunity. The body naturally produces IL-2 to combat infection, and a synthetic form, known as aldesleukin, has even been used to "boost the immune system in cancer therapy."3
Ashwagandha has been used to treat the following conditions:
- Central Nervous System disorders (ex. Epilepsy), neurodegenerative diseases (ex. Parkinson's/Alzheimer's)
- Blood pressure
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Erectile dysfunction/low sperm count
- Muscle fatigue
- Muscle/back stiffness
- Muscle power/stamina
- Calf myalgia (lower leg pain)
The supplement also maintains proper nourishment of the tissues, while supporting proper functioning of the adrenals, the glands responsible for releasing hormones in response to stress. The herb is also used to promote muscle strength, support joint movement and to maintain a healthy libido.4
What You Can Do
Though it is often available in both local and online retailers, ashwagandha's bitter taste and non-specific purpose probably make it less desirable than, say, vitamin D (which is known to fight disease and is easy to remember).
Ashwagandha can ease arthritic pain, stress and other neurological conditions if properly consumed. Regardless of the struggle and situations in your life, this all-natural herb can help you de-stress while boosting your immune system.