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Soothing Our Stress Response with Ashwagandha

Posted on April 07 2021

Pronunciation: Aash wuh gaan duh

Ashwagandha is one of the more difficult to pronounce medicinal herbs. It’s botanical name is Withania somnifera, and though ashwagandha is known for its energy-boosting, stress-relieving properties, somnifera actually means “sleep-inducing”. Stress being the number one cause of disrupted sleep - it actually makes quite a bit of sense.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, a classification of herbs that help the body adapt to stress. It’s been shown to decrease the perception of stress and even the actual concentration of cortisol coursing through the body.

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Ashwagandha is in great company in the adaptogenic category along with rhodiola, ginseng, schisandra and bacopa (just to name a few!).

Adaptogens support the body’s ability to decrease the damaging effects of stress by modulating the HPA axis (consisting of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands). These three glands are in constant communication deciding which hormones need to be released to manage stress, immune function, mood, and even digestion.

Learn more about Adaptogens here.

The effects of stress are not only mental but also physical. This makes adaptogens great for improving your workout, clearing the mind, and even supporting digestion.

The Herb of Good Health and Long Life Span

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng) can be found naturally sprouting in Northern Africa, Asia, and Southern Europe. Above ground, the bitter red berries of the ashwagandha plant are wrapped in a leaf-like husk, similar to tomatillos. The aerial parts of the plant (the parts above ground) are not used as often as the valuable, medicinally potent roots.

Discovery & History of Use

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine for over 5000 years! In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is characterized as “Rasayana” meaning it promotes good health and long life span. Due to its positive effects on cognition, learning, and memory it has been further categorized as “Medhya Rasayana”.

Traditionally Prescribed in TCM and Ayurvedic Medicine for:

  • Stress reduction
  • Cognitive function
  • Energy enhancing
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Libido
  • Rejuvenation
  • Invigoration
  • Long life span

Uses of Ashwagandha

Today it’s typically consumed in supplement form and used for many of the same ailments it was traditionally prescribed for.  Withanolides are the active ingredient within ashwagandha responsible for its adaptogenic properties. It mimics GABA, a feel good neurotransmitter that helps calm the mind. Ashwagandha root has been studied for its antioxidant profile which may be the culprit for its beneficial effects on brain health, nerve cells, fertility, and immune health.

Daytime Zen Stress Support

We could all use a little support adapting to the stressors of modern life. Daytime Zen is a balanced combination of ashwagandha, l-theanine, rhodiola and bacopa for the ultimate stress support. Formulated to help the body and mind manage stress so you can feel calm, cool, and collected.

Tackle stress from all angles:

Do you have a favourite stress relieving herb? What’s your favourite healthy way to relieve stress? Let us know in the comments!

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Other Stress related Niyama blogs:

Chronic Stress + Insomnia

L-Theanine

Stress and the Immune system

Staying Zen during a pandemic

References:

Science Direct

Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Variety of facts

What is an Adaptogenic Herb?

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