Ashwagandha Boosts Vitality as it Increases Calm

Ashwagandha for the Strength of a Horse

If herbs were judged by the beauty of their names, ashwagandha would certainly be a contender for top honors. While its meaning—“smell of a horse”—may seem less appealing than its aural allure, the name attests to ashwagandha’s reputation for imparting the vigor of a young horse to all who ingest it. It is especially valued for its ability to confer simultaneous vitality and calm.

Sometimes called the Indian ginseng, ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia. It originally grew in the more arid areas of India, Northern Africa and the Middle East, but today it is also grown in more hospitable climates, including the U.S. Ashwagandha is a shrub that bears yellow flowers and raisin-sized berries. The berries and roots are the parts of the plant valued for their medicinal benefits.

According to the Chopra Center’s website, medical researchers have thus far carried out 216 studies of ashwaganda’s benefits. Here’s a summary of what the studies found:

  • confers immune system protection
  • combats the effects of stress
  • improves learning, memory, and reaction time
  • reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness
  • stabilizes blood sugar
  • lowers cholesterol
  • reduces brain-cell degeneration
  • contains anti-malarial properties
  • offers anti-inflammatory benefits

As one of the five ingredients in Protandim, ashwagandha combines with green tea, bacopa, milk thistle and turmeric—I’ll write about the latter three in coming weeks—to provide a powerhouse of antioxidant protection.

Check out WebMD for more information on ashwagandha.

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