Updated: Nov 24
Amazing Ashwagandha – the nervous system “keel “ to our bodies. As the year gallops to an end, a lot of us are stressing to cope with deadlines and get our work done before the end of the year. Christmas holidays are meant to be about family time and the spirit of giving. Even those of us who are not religious seem to agree that the end of the year is a good time to meet up with family and friends and share tokens of appreciation. But it can be a very stressful time of year for financial and emotional reasons. Like many, I can get caught up in the last push towards the end of the year and can find it horribly stressful, especially as a small entrepreneur. Christmas Markets, Christmas retail stock orders and events all seem to ramp up around the festive season and the need to get a lot done in a day feels more paramount. I know my stress levels go up a gear change.
But for a few years now I have been taking an adaptogenic herb called Ashwagandha.
An adaptogen is a plant or fungus that helps one`s body to respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue and general well-being. Adaptogens help to bring one's body back to a steady balance by
managing both physical and mental stressors.
I was diagnosed with a condition called hyperthyroidism some years back and stress is the
number 1 agitator to triggering my thyroid to go into hyper-drive imbalance. So for years, I have been navigating this fine line of my reaction to stress. It quite literally sends my nervous system into sympathetic fight/flight mode. We all suffer from stress. It is a precursor to getting sick, feeling overwhelmed, being emotionally reactive and feeling exhausted.
So imagine yourself as a boat drifting on the choppy waters of life. By supplementing with
Ashwagandha, this adaptogen herb may have the capacity to act like a keel of the inner
balancing system that keeps you steady. One cannot avoid the curve balls life throws at us
but we can feel more steady and balanced as we navigate these experiences. Along with balancing our nervous systems, it is also believed to help improve the quality of
sleep. Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, which is a traditional
form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing. Biologically known as Withania somnifera, Ashwagandha is an evergreen Ayurvedic shrub belonging to the Solanaceae family. It is native to India but is also grown in the Middle East, Western China, and Africa. Also known as ‘Indian Winter Cherry’ or ‘Indian Ginseng’.
People have used Ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy
levels, and improve concentration. “Ashwagandha” means “smell of the horse,” in Sanskrit –
which is meant to describe its strength but it certainly doesn’t smell or taste anything like a
horse smell except for when it’s fresh - not when it’s dried. It is quite palatable. It has ingredients that help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system. Ashwagandha improves the body`s defence against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals. It has been shown to combat issues with menopause. There are high chances of hormonal imbalance in women after a certain age, which may lead to anxiety, depression, hot flushes, and even trouble sleeping. Ashwagandha is used to help balance these changes in a women’s cycle.
I take Ashwagandha almost every day, ground up as a powder in my overnight oats. You can find the recipe in my most recent mailer. A great way to kick start one's day with the calming, yet not sedative effects of Ashwagandha.
So if you suffer from anxiety and are overwhelmed perhaps seeking out this herb in a tincture, powdered or capsuled form might be of some benefit to you as you navigate the stresses life throws at you, especially as we gallop towards the end of the year.