Deep Dive: What is Ashwagandha?

Have you been stressed out lately?

I’ve got just the herb for you. It’s called Ashwagandha, but also goes by Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry.

If you are looking for a natural supplement that will relax you without putting you to sleep, keep reading to find out more about this magical herb.


What is it?

This Ayuvedic herb is all the rage lately. It’s roots trace back to India, the middle East, and parts of Africa. herbs

It’s historically been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years, and continues to be used today as an adaptogen: “non-toxic plants that are marketed as helping the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.”* 

It’s got a tuberous root, and is shaped like a carrot or like ginger. Ashwagandha has a distinct smell: kind of like a horse! That’s where it got it’s name: ASHWA is Sanskrit for horse and GANDHA is smell.


Who would benefit from Ashwagandha?

This herb is great for:

  • Those who want to relieve stress & anxiety (Ashwagandha can block the stress pathway in the brain. Can also help with insomnia, as it helps to relax you before sleep!)
  • Those who want to improve concentration
  • Those who want jitter-free energy
  • Those who are trying to lower their blood sugar * – (effects insulin sensitivity and secretion)
  • Those who want to reduce the stress hormone, Cortisol (good for those who are chronically stressed)
  • Those who want to reduce symptoms of depression * (I wouldn’t recommend this over medication if you are currently using an SSRI or SNRI, but for those going through bouts of sadness, it could help!)
  • Those looking to boost testosterone (that’s right! You can use this along Tribulus or Ginseng for a boost in the bedroom & to increase fertility in Men!)
  • Those looking for muscular gains and fat loss (I don’t think this would be my number 1 pick for increasing strength, but it can work really nicely alongside products like Nitric Oxide, a Testosterone booster, or a Fat Burner to even out the effects of a pre-workout)
  • Those looking to reduce inflammation * (Ashwagandha increases the activity of natural killer cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy!)
    ashwagandha root and powder

    Source: clevelandclinic.org

  • Those who want to improve brain function & memory (great option for those with memory and brain function issues due to injury or disease, by promoting antioxidant activity that protexts nerve cells from harmful free radicals)

Basically, the question is: what CAN’T it do?!

Well there are some people who may want to stay clear of Ashwagandha. This herb is fairly easy to tolerate for most people, however, the long-term effects are still unknown.

If you are any of the following, please consider another supplement:

  • If you’re pregant
  • If you are breastfeeding
  • If you are on medication for thyroid disease (if could increase thyroid hormone levels in some individuals)
  • People with autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s and type 1 diabetes)
  • If you’re a child, ashwagandha is not typically recommended

How to incorporate it into your life

This supplement is easy to take any time of day, especially if taken along with a meal with balanced macros. You can either take the full dose all at once, or split the recommended dose into 2 different mealtimes. 

Some sources, like Examine, will recommend you take 300-500 mg of the root extract with your breakfast. Some will require a lower dose (100 mg) in order to reduce stress-induced immunisuppression (when you start to feel the inkling of a sickness coming on!). Other sources will recommend up to 1000 mg of Ashwagandha for up to 12 weeks, so you can choose to cycle on and off of this herb to see the difference it makes and give your body a detox from all adaptogens if it is not absolutely essential.

NC ashwagandha bottle

 

I enjoy the Ashwagandha from NutraChamps, as it’s super potent and I can just take 1 capsule if I feel that’s all I need.

CEO, Sam Davies, gives us some insight into the product he helped formulate: “Ashwagandha is one of the most popular herbs in Ayurvedic healing, and has been used since ancient times. It’s unique in that it causes the body to “normalize”, giving us smooth and positive energy when we need it during the day, and also helping us take the edge off and wind down at night. As an adaptogen herb, it helps the body adapt to stress, making us function how we should function while being non-addictive and safe.”

I especially like that black pepper has been added to this formula for easier absorption. I start feeling the effects in as little as 30 minutes, and feel the difference in my routine within a couple of weeks of consistent use!


Conclusion

I’ve been taking Ashwagandha on and off for a few years now, and tend to bring it out of the cupboard in times of high stress, when I’m studying, and when I know I’m going to have trouble sleeping.

That being said, it may cause mild drowsiness and sedation for some people. This could be a good thing if taken before bed, but keep that in mind if you take it with breakfast before a full day of work! zZzZz

Have you tried NutraChamps Ashwagandha or tried to add a variation of it into your daily routine? Maybe you’ve used it in bouts of depression or anxiety and felt a mood shift? Let me know in the comments below, even if you’ve been using a different brand or if you prefer a different ayurvedic herb to Ashwagandha.


Resources:

  • https://examine.com/supplements/ashwagandha/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
  • https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-ashwagandha/

Alexia Palmeri

Alexia Palmeri is a 28-year-old personal development enthusiast! She looks at life experiences as an opportunity to always learn and grow. Alexia is also a broadcast journalism graduate with a passion and knack for communications and media. She is always on the lookout for new trends on social media and keeps up to date with what's happening in the world. In her free time, Alexia enjoys socializing with family and loved ones, being in nature, cooking nourishing meals, and discovering new places to dine and adventure!

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