Now, more than ever humanity needs every type of healing it can get. Plants & herbs can help facilitate the true healing we need as individuals, having the ability to touch our minds & hearts with the hopes of pointing us in the direction that makes us more conscience about our existence and how we affect the natural world around us. Maybe if we explore and learn to RESPECT the natural world around us and ALL THE LIVING THINGS in it, we will start to feel the energy that connects us all.
Let’s learn a little bit about Ashwagandha this week. What can we learn FROM the plant and not just what the plant can do for us?
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs used in Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India. Born in the Indus Valley region of India over 5,000 years ago, the system was extremely intricate explaining the cause of diseases; the symptoms of imbalance; unique body types; and ways to achieve mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When the British ruled India, they thought the system was too “archaic” and decided to banish it from practice. Thankfully, the people of India refused typical allopathic medicine that the Western World was pushing and continued to practice in their own homes. At times, Ayurveda is refferred to as “kitchen medicine”.
Studies have shown that Ashwagandha is a multi-purpose herb with anti-flammatory, adaptogenic, memory enhancing and sleep-inducing properties, amongst others.
The ashwagandha plant is also known to be adaptogenic, giving it properties that are said to increase the body’s ability to resist damaging effects of stress and to promote normal psychological functioning. Interesting…why is this?
The stress of modern human culture chronically activates the cortisol stress response, which can impact delicate glucose and lipid balance as well as vascular integrity, gastrointestinal membrane integrity and nervous system function.1, 2 Ashwagandha has been shown to promote healthy levels of cortisol and the healthy inflammatory processes that are stimulated in the response to stress. This promotes healthy function of the immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as the brain, muscles and joints.
Before you run out to buy Ashwagandha, or any other herbal supplement though, it’s important to understand your own individual state of being, or constitution. It’s exciting to learn about oneself and how your own body wants and needs to exist in order to maintain it’s “happy”. Oftentimes we are overexposed to the benefits of medicines and supplements therefore only seeing the benefits of taking each thing. Want to lose weight? Sleep better? Have more energy? Reduce stress? Don’t jump on a fad, take the opportunity to learn about yourself and WHY you feel the way you do. It’s important to listen to your body before “popping a pill”. What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.
1 Auddy, Biswajit, et al. J Am Nutraceutical Assoc1 (2008): 43-49
2 Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, & Anishetty S. Indian J Psychol Med, 2012 Jul-Sep; 34 (3): 255-262.