This One Herb Might Be All You Need
It’s an “activity” so common most people aren’t even aware they’re doing it.
Most do it unconsciously.
Others can’t help but create a life where it’s the natural end product of both good and bad decisions.
And, what more and more research is beginning to reveal is having an abundance of this in your life could ultimately lead to your early death.
I’m, of course, referring to stress.
Stress is the arch-nemesis of anyone living in the 21st century. And I’m guessing for quite a few of you, there hasn’t been a time in your life where you can remember not being stressed out.
And, the bad news is, if you suffer from Chronic stress, it could lead to an early death.
At least that’s what the Journal of Gerontology notes.
The good news is there’s an herb that's been shown to be quite effective at helping your body deal with stress, and it’s possible including it in an anti-stress regimen could help extend your life. Quite a few independent studies have even shown it to be more powerful than pharmaceuticals at helping to invigorate the body so it doesn’t get overwhelmed by chronic stress.
And that’s pretty cool.
I’ve actually recommended it before when I wrote about adrenal fatigue, but I never gave it the amount of attention it really deserves.
The herb I’m referring to is Ashwagandha (Ash-wuh-gone-duh).
In this article I’ll tell you about the exciting way ashwagandha can help you fight stress as well as cover some of the studies that have been used to promote the use of ashwagandha for better health.
An Ancient Herb With Exciting Modern Benefits
Ashwagandha is an adapotegnic herb.
Think of adaptogenic herbs as “massage therapist for your cells.”
Ok, that might be a little too simplistic, however adaptogens do work to help your cells deal with stress, much like a massage does.
The adaptogen class of herbs work synergistically with your body to help promote well-being and reduce stress. Adaptogens have only recently been studied by researchers, but the more they poke and prod into this well-known class of herbs, the more exciting the discoveries.
The truth is they work as well (if not better) than some pharmaceuticals designed for the same purposes.
Though they didn’t have the benefit of research science, the Chinese have used ashwagandha for centuries for the express purpose of helping the body deal with stress. And now peer-reviewed studies are helping us to see how just how effective they are.
Life Extension writes on the uses of ashwagandha:
…In validated models of anxiety and depression, ashwagandha has been demonstrated to be as effective as some tranquilizers and antidepressant drugs. Specifically, oral administration of ashwagandha for five days suggested anxiety-relieving effects similar to those achieved by the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam (Ativan®), and antidepressant effects similar to those of the prescription antidepressant drug imipramine (Tofranil®).
That’s quite impressive.
A tiny little herb is able to rival drugs researchers spent millions of dollars developing.
But that’s not all it’s capable of doing.
Take a look at this list covering the numerous benefits of ashwagandha:
- Improves immune response helping the body to resist infection and pathogenic activity.
- Reduces inflammation in the body which can help reduce many conditions associated with chronic inflammation.
- Known to reduce levels of harmful cholesterol to help protect the heart.
- Enhances sexual arousal and the increase in libido.
- Works to protect the adrenal gland to help the body deal with stress.
- Can work to help the brain and combats amnesia.
- Has been shown to increase general muscular strength and endurance.
- Helps to relieve acute constipation.
- Can work to reduce fever.
- Works to regulate and normalize mood.
- Alleviate symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Inhibits the growth of tumors.
Yes, ashwagandha is quite impressive. But for the time being I’ll keep this article focused on its ability to help the body deal with stress.
The Exact Ways Ashwagandha Combats Stress
What we know about ashwagandha is it works as an antioxidant to help fight stress.
The reason stress can be so debilitating is is creates an oxidative effect on the body. Oxidation leads to free radicals, and free radicals can cause inflammation, which of course leads to a host of problems and maladies.
It’s ashwagandha’s strong antioxidant powers that work to neutralize the oxidative power of stress that can both enhance the quality of your life as well as extending your life too.
Here’s what a few studies were able to tell us about ashwagandha.
1. One study by a Japanese scientists (Shukla S Jain) on chronically stressed animals showed that the degeneration of neural tissues was reduced 80% when ashwagandha was introduced into their diet. Since chronic stress is responsible for the degeneration of brain cells and a decrease in cognitive function, this showed how ashwagandha can help protect the brain.
2. Another study done by NutrGenesis LLC showed how well ashwagandha was able to reduce cortisol (the hormone released to fight stress). In the study, not only was it was shown that the test subjects who used ashwagandha slept better, felt reduced fatigue, had more energy…they had an overall reduction of 26% for cortisol levels. Not only this, but their blood sugar levels were more normal and they also saw improvements in lipid-profiles (which correlates to lower risk of cardiovascular disease).
3. Japanese scientists working at the Institute of Natural Medicine were able to show ashwagandha had the ability to help the body to reconstruct synapses (where nerve cells communicate) and helped to regenerate axons and dendrites. This shows conclusive evidence it can be used to treat conditions like Alzheimers and dementia.
Dr. Josh Axe writes:
Medical studies have shown that ashwagandha improves cortisol levels, improves insulin sensitivity and naturally balances hormones. A case study reported a case of a 57-year-old woman with non-classical adrenal hyperplasia.
She was treated with ashwagandha for 6 months and after her treatment she saw improvements in 4 adrenal hormone markers including corticoosterone and 11-deoxycortisol which decreased by 69% and 55% respectively, which is a major improvement!
This hormonal improvement was also accompanied by a noticeable reduction in hair loss.
That’s really only hitting a few of the key points concerning ashwagandha.
Suffice it to say, the inclusion of an adpotgen like ashwagandha can do wonders for your overall health as it works to mitigate the amount of stress you’re constantly under.
An important note about ashwagahnda.
Yes, I think it’s a great supplement to help deal with stress.
However, I think that rather than depend only on this herb to help deal with stress you should incorporate other practices into your daily routine to make sure you can properly deal with stress.
I wrote about those practices in this article on adrenal fatigue.
Stress isn’t always a choice, but there daily choices you can make to help deal with stress.
Including ashwagandha into a daily regimen is a good idea if you want to fight the oxidative effect of stress on the body.
However, it should only be seen as a supplemental aid, not a fix all.
Go to the article I linked to above to see what I have to say about those daily choices which will positively affect stress levels.