Despite taking yoga or practicing meditation multiple times a week, you may still be feeling anxious or low, akin to a stranger in your own body.
Maybe you’ve made changes to your diet and exercise routine, but you still feel sluggish and moody. And, you may be left wondering if this is your new normal. Incorporating a nutritional supplement into your daily routine could help you get back to your old self again.
Whilst there is no magic supplement to eradicate anxiety, depression, or insomnia, ashwagandha is clinically proven to lower stress levels and may help you feel calmer and more energized. Also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or poison gooseberry, it’s a shrub grown throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Its leaves and roots have been used for thousands of years in Indian traditional medicine as an adaptogen—a way to lower cortisol and adrenaline levels and reduce overall stress.
In today’s market, it comes in capsule, gummy, powder, tea, and liquid form. Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia, or high blood pressure, ashwagandha could help alleviate many of these symptoms and more.
What are the benefits of ashwagandha?
Some days, our lives may feel like a whirlwind of obligations, never-ending to-do lists, and the added pressure to handle it all with energy and grace.
When we experience stress, our bodies will enter “fight, flight, or freeze” mode—meaning, we’ll work on overdrive to fight the threat, actively resist it, or even stop in the face of a stressor. The problem is, we often need to carry on because we can’t afford to break our commitments.
Stress is our body’s natural response to an unknown situation or perceived threat, but many mental and physical problems may occur when we experience chronic stress over time—including increased inflammation, a compromised immune system, fatigue, and even an increased risk for chronic diseases such as autoimmune disorders or cancer.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, and research shows it may significantly lower cortisol levels and reduce the harmful effects of stress. This herb is especially unique because it’s also a tonic, which means not only can it calm our nervous system, but, at the same time, it can strengthen it.
Whilst there are many varieties of ashwagandha on the shelves, the KSM-66 variety found in a supplement like Earths Secret’s Calm complex is the highest concentration, full-spectrum root available, and the most extensively studied on the market. Because it is an adaptogen, it can help promote balance in our bodies with its anti-inflammatory effects, which can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health.
Promotes calmness and balances mood
When we battle stress, our sense of balance and feeling grounded may come to a halt. Ashwagandha is a nootropic herb, which means it can contribute to healthy cognitive functioning like balancing our mood, promoting calmness, and improving our memory.
Because Ashwagandha has been shown to lower cortisol levels, helping us fight stress, and because stress is often one of the main contributors to depression, it can have a positive impact on our overall outlook and quality of life. One study reports ashwagandha has statistically significant stress-relieving effects.
Improves sleep and energy levels
Whether you struggle to stay awake during the day or fall asleep quickly or stay asleep all night, or even worse, battle chronic fatigue syndrome or a related sleep disorder, ashwagandha can improve your duration and quality of sleep. Even better, it tends to also help you to avoid the typical side effects found in prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.
One study concludes that ashwagandha root extract can improve sleep quality and “sleep onset latency,” and it’s well-tolerated, to boot! When you feel rested after a night of quality sleep, not only will you likely feel more energized the next day, but you may even be less grouchy, and carry a more positive outlook.
Lowers blood pressure
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, only 24% of adults with high blood pressure, or hypertension, have it under control.
Normal blood pressure clocks in at around 120/80, but when we face stress or struggle with anxiety, our blood pressure may rise to unhealthy levels. If our blood pressure remains elevated over time, it can lead to conditions like severe hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or stroke.
Ashwagandha can have a significant positive impact on your cardiovascular health, including lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar and your “bad” cholesterol levels because of its ability to reduce cortisol levels in the bloodstream.
Your immune system is impacted by your diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, and stress levels.
When your body undergoes stress for long periods of time, it can leave you feeling wiped out and more prone to illness or chronic disease. One study claims “ashwagandha improves the body’s defense against disease by improving cell-mediated immunity.”
How should I take ashwagandha?
The best time of day to take ashwagandha
Unique in its form and benefits, you can also take ashwagandha any time during the day or night, depending on why you want to take it.
For example, if you’re struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, it may be best to rotate ashwagandha into your nighttime routine. Likewise, if you’re looking for a natural energy booster, you could enjoy a cup of ashwagandha tea in the morning.
Food, drink, and ashwagandha
Some supplements may require you to take them on an empty stomach, with a glass of water, or with food. Since ashwagandha is well-tolerated, you can take it with or without food and before or after a meal—it's your choice.
Ashwagandha and sleep
If you’ve been struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, ashwagandha could help you get the rest you need. One study claims that for patients who struggle with insomnia, taking 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily can improve sleep quality.
How can I take ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha comes in both capsule and gummy form. A typical dose ranges from 250 to 500 mg daily. You can take it during the day or at night, but because of its sleep-enhancing qualities, it may be ideal to take just before bedtime.
Many of us enjoy a cup of tea to wake us up in the morning, or a brew to calm us before bedtime.
Ashwagandha tea is caffeine-free and its leaves can be steeped in hot water, releasing an earthy, sometimes bitter taste. For this reason, many people will add sugar, milk, or cardamom to better tolerate the flavour. For the best results, consider pouring a cup in the morning on an empty stomach.
Imagine dark chocolate infused with stress-reducing qualities. Ashwagandha is found in dark chocolate slabs and may even increase libido and serve as a natural aphrodisiac.
Ashwagandha powder (Churna)
One of ashwagandha’s many benefits is its versatility. As a powder, you can pulse it into a smoothie, spoon it into a soup, infuse it into your curry, or even stir it into a glass of warm milk.
For an extra-calming effect, you could make a cup of “moon milk” just before bed by heating a glass of milk and adding a half tablespoon of ashwagandha, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and ground ginger. On average, you may witness the most relief by taking one-quarter to one-half of a tablespoon of ashwagandha powder daily.
Looking for an ashwagandha supplement to support your health?
Whilst our responsibilities may pull us in multiple directions every day and leave us feeling agitated and exhausted, we don’t have to settle for feeling less than our best. We are complex and complicated beings, and finding relief for what ails us can also seem complicated—but it doesn’t have to be.
Earths Secret’s Calm complex is a non-GMO, vegan-friendly, all-natural supplement that combines KSM-66 ashwagandha with other calming ingredients.
KSM-66 is the most potent ashwagandha root extract and boasts the most bio-availability of any ashwagandha alternative on the market. Four other natural ingredients—Holy basil leaf, Rhodiola Rosea, L-theanine, and black pepper—are shown to help balance our mood and improve our physical and mental health.
Sometimes, the key to feeling our best can involve making important lifestyle changes, and that can include discovering a supplement that can help us feel like our best selves again.