There is usually nothing green in the urban lifestyle. Smog, traffic, getting up with an alarm, and long hours indoors and as a result we often find ourselves stressed and overtired. The next day we have to keep going and in order to cope, we start reaching for more and more coffee and sweets. This, as we know, is a vicious circle with no way out and fatigue and stress continue to accumulate.
What to do when things go off the rails and we start to feel lack of energy every day, or despite the fatigue we can’t sleep at night? And when something extraordinary interrupts the monotony of our daily lives and throws us into anxiety?
Is there an emergency exit? There is certainly more than one. I personally practice an Eastern system of body regulation, which includes breathing practices and exercises. And sometimes that’s enough. But there are times, we all have them, when I need something more to get my body back in balance, now, in the moment. Because, just as we sharply cause stress on all levels, body, psyche, consciousness, so often we need more than one means to regain our balance.
At such moments, I use these wonderful means of nature – adaptogens. And especially my favorite of them – Ashwagandha.
What is an adaptogen
Adaptogens are restorative herbs that help the body cope with stress more effectively and resist fatigue. They restore balance, help us calm down, have more energy, sleep better. Adaptogens build a reserve of adaptive energy (or vitality) and strengthen the reserves we currently have.
They are described as herbs that can “tone” the body and bring it back into a state of balance. No matter what causes stress to the body, the adaptogen balances it – if you feel tired, for example, it will charge you with energy, and if you are tense and have difficulty falling asleep – it will help you relax and put you to sleep.
It is useful for each person to increase their adaptable energy. No matter how healthy you are – adaptogenic plants will ultimately help you improve your abilities.
What is Ashwagandha
Aswagandha is an extremely powerful adaptogen and is among the most highly valued plants in ancient Ayurveda in India, whose healing properties have been known for 5,000 years. Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian ginseng”, Ayurvedic ginseng and “winter cherry”. The name “ashwagandha” literally means “smell of a horse.” This is not accidental. It is believed that the herb gives a person strength and health like a horse.
Ashwagandha and Ayurveda
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is valued as rasayana – a rejuvenating herb. As such, it is expected to improve the overall human body, improve health and prolong life. It has astringent, bitter and sweet taste, warming effect and sweet aftertaste. It is prescribed after serious illnesses to boost immunity. It is also prescribed for people who show anxiety, irritability, fatigue and insomnia.
According to Ayurveda – Balancing of vata and kapha, may aggravate pitta in excess.
Ashwagandha and modern science
One of the most famous benefits of ashwagandha is its ability to work as a natural remedy against anxiety. A 2009 study found that the benefit of ashwagandha was comparable to the effects of some conventional anti-anxiety drugs.
Studies show that ashwagandha can be useful in overcoming the fatigue of the adrenal glands, which are responsible for the release of so-called stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline. Ashwagandha can successfully reduce cortisol levels. A large part of the diseases of Western society are associated with high levels of chronic stress and this is the strength of Ashwagandha.
Other scientific studies confirm the use of ashwagandha as an anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory agent. It is believed to have a beneficial effect on the activity of the respiratory tract, blood vessels and uterus. It supports the immune system and helps slow down the aging process.
Who should not accept Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is not recommended for use by pregnant and lactating women, as well as children.
Ashwagandha might lower blood sugar levels. This could interfere with medications used for diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low.