Shopping malls are filled with people out the door vying for that best-selling toy or gadget of the year. Grocery stores are full of people getting ready to prepare a big holiday meal. Highways and streets are extra busy because of fresh snowfalls, producing longer drive times.
The doctor’s office can also be patient-heavy this time of year, due to the cold weather, added stress and anxiety, and many experiencing digestive issues because of considerable amounts of overeating during the holiday season.
Let’s save you the trip to the doctor and suggest a natural and adaptogenic herb to help relieve your stress and anxiety, among many other health benefits.
Chinese ginseng is commonly found in herbal teas, and is effective to reduce stress, while also enhancing mental function. Travel southwest and you’ll find an herb with Indian origin, similar in healing properties.
The Indian ginseng ashwagandha (Withania somnifera in Latin) is an herb native to Indian culture, containing useful medicinal chemicals such as alkaloids, withanolides, steroidal lactones, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars. The herb has been used with Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,500 years, promoting strength and stamina.
If you are excited about giving your body natural remedies, ashwagandha is the herb for you. Here’s what else you should know about ashwagandha and its healing properties.
Helps With Stress Relief
The natural herb contains adaptogen qualities, which help the body deal with and reduce daily stress. It reduces anxiety and helps you relax, as the natural adaptogen protects the nervous system.
There have been over 216 medical studies on the healing benefits of ashwagandha, with many results showing it reduces stress. Some studies have shown that the natural herb performs better than typical anxiety medications, while also reducing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Helps You Sleep
The holidays can drive anxiety, making it hard to get to sleep. It’s a good thing ashwagandha can be used as a natural sleep aid and it can help people deal with insomnia. It refreshes your body and mind, soothing your body to sleep. Ashwagandha would be perfect for sleep after a stressful holiday event.
Improves Overall Immunity
It can calm you down but it also can have an opposite effect. Studies also show that the herb can give you energy and boost the entire immune system. A study found higher counts of white blood cells such as T cells in those taking the herb, which are critical for fighting everything from common colds to cancerous cells.
Ashwagandha studies have shown to decrease or stop the growth of lung, breast, and colon cancers. The herb would slow growth of the blood vessels that give cancer cells oxygen and fuel. If the supportive blood vessels cannot grow, cancerous tumors will not multiply.
There are minimal concerns with this natural remedy. It is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women based upon nonhuman studies.
How to Use Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha root powder and organic herbal supplements can be found in most health food stores. Ashwagandha berries are known as a rennet substitute in cheese.
When choosing ashwagandha, it is best to select an organic company that sustainably grows and harvests the herb, and it is Demeter biodynamic certified.
It is recommended to blend one to two teaspoons in your daily smoothie or you can create a hot water tonic with one teaspoon of ashwagandha once or twice a day.
During the winter and holidays, natural remedies are perfect. Take the herb tonic for three weeks straight at night and notice how your stress is reduced at this very hectic time of year.
When taking the supplement, 600 to 1,000 mg is the daily recommendation.
Take a seat in your big comfy chair with the fireplace roaring and enjoy an ashwagandha tonic to relieve your stress from the holidays. You’ll be glad you did.
Norek, D., “Ashwagandha root for effective anxiety and stress relief, improved immunity,” Natural News.com web site, Oct. 23, 2012; http://www.naturalnews.com/037642_ashwagandha_root_anxiety_stress_relief.html.
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“Ashwagandha,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-ashwagandha.
Wallace, Edward, N.D., “Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature’s Solution To Stress,” Chico.org web site; http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Adaptogenic_Herbs.shtml.
“Ashwagandha Facts,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-953-ASHWAGANDHA.aspx?activeIngredientId=953&activeIngredientName=ASHWAGANDHA.
“Ashwagandha: Ayurvedic Healing,” The Chopra Center web site; http://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/ayurvedic-herbs-foods/ashwagandha.
“Ashwagandha Stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb,” Life Extension Magazine web site, June 2006; http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/jun2006_report_ashwa_01.htm.