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Withania somnifera

Ashwagandha is the common name for the herb Withania somnifera. A popular request in the shop with people recommending this to their friends, yet a difficult one to pronounce and so quite often we get asked for Ashwanga. We don’t mind what you call it so long as it works for you!

Ashwagandha root is an adaptogenic herb which means it is in the classification of herbs that help the body ‘adapt’ when things are out of balance. The primary area of use for this herb is during times of heightened stress or anxiety. In a review looking at five human studies reporting on the use of this herb, it is shown to significantly improve scores measured on a variety of anxiety and stress scales[i]. Not only has it been shown to have a perceived improvement on stress assessment scales but other studies have also monitored cortisol levels comparing intake of the herb to placebo and also seen a significant reduction in the levels of this stress hormone when taken over a 60 day period[ii].

Not only are stress and anxiety a frequent feature of modern day society, especially during recent times, but also poor sleep quality is another more prevalent problem. Sleep is critical to good health with this restoration time being a crucial part of our natural immunity and cellular repair. Ashwagandha root has demonstrated sleep inducing properties and has been shown to significantly improve overall sleep quality in small scale studies looking at those suffering with insomnia[iii].

Other benefits of Ashwagandha include its anti-inflammatory properties in relation to joint health, its benefits around energy production in relation to mitochondrial health, and also its uses in relation to memory and cognitive health in both children and old age[iv].

As a first intervention, we would always recommend people to look at lifestyle factors to reduce stress at the same time as ensuring that nutrients such as vitamin C are replete to help cope with life’s stressors. However, we also recognise that there can be more challenging times in life where we just need some additional strategies to help minimise the impact of stress and this is where Ashwagandha can be a useful herb to help provide us with some additional support.

Recommended For

Stress , Anxiety , Sleep , Rheumatoid Arthritis , Brain Health , Energy , Fatigue , Adrenal Fatigue , Chronic Fatigue

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