What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a small woody plant with yellow flowers native to India and North Africa.
It’s classified as an adaptogen and one of the central herbs in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine system native to India. It's been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to target everything from stress, insomnia, fatigue, to strengthening the immune system.
Ashwagandha - The Adaptogen
Adaptogens are generally non-toxic which means they can be taken in much higher doses. In Ayurvedic practitioners take up to 12g a day, which is a lot! Ashwagandha specifically is most effective when taken daily doses of 125 mg to 5 grams for 1–3 months. It has shown to lower cortisol levels by 11–32%.
Adaptogens also produce a non-specific response, this means that they increase our overall resilience and strength when it comes to mental, physical and emotional stress.
Ashwagandha – The Benefits
1. It Enhances Memory and Concentration.
Ashwagandha was also found to be beneficial in enhancing memory, focus, and concentration. One specific analysis revealed that after taking 500 mg of Ashwagandha root extract for 14 days, people involved reported significant improvements in their minds and motor skills by taking response time, cerebral endurance, and card sorting measures. Part of this is because of the calming properties of Ashwagandha – you can experience steady focus when you feel calm.
2. Strengthens the immune system.
Ashwagandha has been proven to have antioxidant effects that help resist damages from free radicals. In fact, Ashwagandha promotes healthy white blood cell generation, which is essential for a strong immune system.
3. Encourages healthy sleep-cycle.
People are not only using Ashwagandha to help concentrate and focus properly, this adaptogen is very useful in attaining a good night's sleep. How does that happen? Because of its potential to reduce anxiety and tiredness by decreasing cortisol production, it tends to balance the body and brain by facilitating stress relief, contributing to sound sleep.
4. It has stress-relieving properties.
One of the most remarkable advantages of Ashwagandha is its stress-relieving powers. Ashwagandha is able to better handle intermittent everyday tension by reducing the levels of stress hormones, which, in effect, allows one to feel more comfortable and confident.