(NaturalHealth365) Ashwagandha is an amazing and easy way to counter the toll of stress. This is good news considering that stress underlies many chronic and inflammatory diseases.
Ashwagandha is also known as Indian winter Cherry. It is a shrub cultivated in India and North America. In Africa, Mediterranean and India it grows as a wild shrub. The shrub is a member of the tomato family, and bears red fruit. Unlike tomatoes Ashwagandha fruit are small like berries.
The root of this plant has been used for thousands of years by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat different health condition. The role of ashwagandha is seen not only as calming, but as a tonic to replenish lost energy.
Ashwagandha is sometimes referred to as Indian Ginseng. It produces energy in a way that helps the body calm down and sleep. What it does is help the body take care of stress rather than masking it. One of the reasons that ashwagandha helps with stress is in its ability to maintain normal adrenal levels.
The adrenals get depleted when stressed by physical, emotional, and psychological events. Caffeine, nicotine, processed foods and sugar deplete the adrenal reserve, causing fatigue, depression, insomnia, and poor concentration.
Since ashwagandha is used to soothe and calm down a stressed mind and nerves, it not only helps the adrenals, but normalizes the sympathetic nervous system.
Most people in modern society are in the sympathetic mode. This isn’t healthy for long extended periods. This coupled with adrenal fatigue produces brain fog, memory problems, nervous exhaustion and loss of muscular energy. When there are changes in sleep duration it impinges on the quality of life. Sleep patterns change with low adrenal function and an activated sympathetic nervous system.
What ashwagandha does is reduce the cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals. The body has a built in mechanism for protecting us from acute and immediate stress. The effect is known as the “stress response.” This involves production of what is called the “adrenaline rush” which is a massive release of cortisol or the “stress hormone.”
We are only meant to experience a short term burst of cortisol. What happens is blood sugar levels go up to provide needed energy. Calcium is pulled from storage making it available to muscles for a quick response. In the wilderness this is a plus, but in the asphalt jungle of today it is a determent
Chronic stress in modern society leads to all sorts of major health problems. Cortisol levels never get to return to normal, and overexposure to cortisol leads to a depressed immune response, high blood pressure, loss of muscle mass and cognitive problems.
Science hasn’t much to offer, in fact the lowering of cortisol levels, fixing adrenal function and turning off the sympathetic nervous system are not within the realm of allopathic medicine.
The use of ashwagandha is relegated to the medical system of India. It is known as the ginseng of India, and used in Ayurvedic medicine as a general tonic. It is an adaptogen used to rejuvenate, and calm the nerves, and is thought to have a strong and protective effect on the nervous system.
Ashwagandha has so many therapeutic applications. In America it is used by naturopathic physicians and can be bought in health food stores. There is enough evidence that stress doesn’t have to cascade into a life altering condition. Along with a healthy lifestyle, ashwagandha can help clear the way for authentic change to take place.
About the Author Blanche has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in Natural Healing including Naturopaths, Scientist, and Energy Healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.