If you’ve been dreaming of an all-natural remedy to help you slow down, calm down, and curb stress, we have good news. A family of herbs, called adaptogens, was designed by mother nature to do just that. And one, in particular, called ashwagandha, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3,000 years to reduce cortisol—which is also known as our stress hormone—levels and helps users find their zen.
Here’s what you need to know about ashwagandha, how we use it and why it has made such a huge impact in our stress-fighting wellness routines…
So, What The Heck Is Ashwagandha?
“Ashwagandha has been celebrated for centuries by Ayurvedic healers for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety naturally. I only use and recommend Further Food’s full-spectrum Ashwagandha because they use the WHOLE ashwagandha root for total body benefits, just as nature intended.” – Clair Moore, Clinical Herbalist
Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used as a nervine tonic, which means it was used for its beneficial effects on the nerves. Today it’s also used to calm the nervous system, a benefit that—let’s be honest—we really needed as we juggle work, family, friendships, finances and career goals.
Like most herbs, ashwagandha has more than one name and is also commonly referred to as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, and it’s the scientific name, Withania somnifera.
In the wild, ashwagandha looks like a grey shrub with yellowish flowers and red berries. The roots and leaves are what are typically used medicinally and turned into powders, pills and herbal tinctures.
How Does Ashwagandha Work?
The main action for this herb is combating physical, emotional, and mental stress. It does this by lowering cortisol levels and nourishing the adrenal glands, two small glands on top of the kidneys that produce hormones like adrenaline and help modulate the stress response.
But the real questions: Does ashwagandha actually work? According to science, yes. One study on patients with anxiety, published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, showed an improvement in anxiety levels after taking ashwagandha for just six weeks. Other studies have shown that it may help reduce symptoms of depression and insomnia, which are all intricately related to our adrenals, cortisol, and the way our body responds to stress.
Ashwagandha is also praised for its ability to boost immune function, combat fatigue and enhance brain health—which it appears to do by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as our “stress” hormone and is produced on a daily cycle that causes a peak in production in the morning to help us get up and out of the house and decreases throughout the day to help us wind down for bed.
What To Look For In An Ashwagandha Supplement
We suspected that our cortisol levels needed a little extra attention and were interested in taking ashwagandha’s benefits for a spin. It was important to us to find a product that contains full-spectrum ashwagandha — which means its a whole-plant extract exactly as its found in nature — with a therapeutic dose of the herb. As long as we’re looking for solutions for ourselves, we might as we do it right and find great products we can pass on to readers too. Further Food Premium Ashwagandha Maximum Strength has 1325 mg of full-spectrum organic ashwagandha root powder, making it one of the most potent formulations available.
And when it comes to herbs like ashwagandha, the dose isn’t the only factor to consider, either. You want to make sure your body is actually absorbing the herbal medicine so it can get to work on your cortisol and stress levels. According to Functional Medicine Dr. Chris Oswald:
“My patients need to absorb the supplements they take. Black pepper has long been used to aid absorption, but the addition of avocado oil takes this to another level! Further Food has stepped up and given me something I have confidence in recommending to my patients.”
Further Food Premium Ashwagandha includes black pepper and avocado oil to increase absorption and make the ashwagandha more bioavailable to your body.
Ashwagandha is the perfect natural remedy to lean on during these times of stress. Despite our best efforts to get to yoga, meditate, and schedule in time for self-care, we all need a little extra support sometimes. With two capsules a day of Further Food Premium Ashwagandha, we’re giving our bodies that extra bit of support it craves.
Do you take ashwaghanda? Tell us your experience with the stress-busting adaptogen in the comments. Chalkboard readers use code STRESSFREE15 to try Further Food’s new daily supplement for yourself.