We spend a third of our lives sleeping, yet how many nights do we turn around and turn over in bed because of stress? How many times do we get up already tired?
The answer to many stress, anxiety, and insomnia issues comes from the exotic ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), a beautiful plant native to Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka that is well known in Ayurvedic medicine for its calming and, at the same time, energizing properties.
In addition to being "somnifera", the Latin name deriving from its soporific properties, ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng because of its use as a tonic and natural stimulant.
The (many) properties of the ashwagandha
Ashwagandha root and powder.
At first glance, the ashwagandha is a pleasant plant with oval leaves, bright yellow flowers and beautiful red and round fruits. Both the leaves and the fruits have good medicinal properties, but the treasure of Indian ginseng is found underground. The roots of ashwagandha are very rich in active ingredients beneficial to the body, including:
- Witanolides (belonging to the group of lactones)
- Amino Acids
Thanks to these substances, Withania somnifera is able to:
- Relax your body and mind
- Calming stress symptoms
- Give energy and concentration
- Relieve physical and mental fatigue
- Stabilize blood sugars and lower cholesterol
- Present invigorating and anti-inflammatory properties
- Avoid premature aging, rheumatism, and hypertension
Many pieces of research have deepened and confirmed the properties of the plant and numerous scientific studies have been published. Today, Indian ginseng is one of the most popular adaptogenic remedies.
Withania somnifera: antistress adaptogen
Fighting stress, anxiety and insomnia without drugs is possible!
The root of ashwagandha is an "adaptogen". This is because, whenever there is a change that affects psychophysical balance, the organism is negatively affected and puts into practice a series of answers to try to "adapt" to this change.
Prolonged stress is one of those negative stimuli that put a strain on the well-being of the body and mind, which struggle to adapt to the stressful situation and can develop damage, even irreversible, at the cellular level (think of neurons, for example).
Thus the Indian ginseng comes into action in the body with its anti-stress, anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. Our plant can improve the body's response to prolonged stress because:
- It acts against the accumulation of toxins in the body
- Reduces cell damage by free radicals
- Protects cells, including neurons
Where is it and what are the doses?
Ashwagandha is readily available in herbal medicine and natural products'stores, in capsule or powder form. The Chopra Institute recommends a dose of 600 to 1000 mg twice a day for the capsules.
For those suffering from anxiety and insomnia, the advice is to mix a teaspoon of ashwagandha powder in a cup of milk to drink before going to sleep.
Ashwagandha can be taken without any problem by everyone, except for those who take particular types of drugs for psychiatric use, such as barbiturates, whose anxiolytic and sedative effect may be strengthened.
Attention must also be paid to pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It is not possible to always consult your doctor and herbalist to decide and evaluate the methods, quantities and times of administration of each natural remedy based on your health problems.