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Ashwagandha: An Herb for Resilience & Beyond

Ashwagandha: An Herb for Resilience & Beyond - Harmonic Arts

Elizabeth Ferns |

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a shrub native to dry subtropical regions of Asia and Africa. It’s part of the nightshade family and has been used as a medicinal herb in these regions since time immemorial. Traditional healing systems like Ayurveda have been using Ashwagandha for 5,000 years.

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care practitioner before adding any new herbs to your wellness routine.  

 

Folklore 

Ashwagandha's name is made up of two Sanskrit words. Ashwa means “horse” and gandha means “smell.” Some say this name comes from the horse-like smell the herb emits, while others say it symbolizes the strength of a horse. 

 

Historical Use 

This herb is unique in that it’s both a tonic and a sedative. It gives us energy while simultaneously calming us down. Over the course of history, Ashwagandha has been used to treat many different ailments. 

Ayurvedic practitioners have prescribed it for building vitality, stamina, immunity, fertility and libido. Ashwagandha is also traditionally used to treat stress and support brain health. Texts from the 14th century show preparations of Ashwagandha in syrups, powders, tinctures and even ghee. 

 

What the Research Says 

Stress and fatigue are ever-prevalent in our fast-paced world. Fortunately, there is a large body of modern research singing the praises of Ashwagandha. 

Soothe Stress 

Ashwagandha can boost our resilience to stress. One double-blind study had participants take either 2 Ashwagandha capsules per day or 2 placebos for 60 days. Those taking Ashwagandha saw a 44% reduction in their perceived stress, compared to a 5.5% reduction in the placebo group. The Ashwagandha group also saw a 28% drop in cortisol levels, compared to an 8% drop in the placebo group (1). 

Improve Memory 

In a study done on adults struggling with cognitive impairment, Ashwagandha proved helpful. Participants took either 300mg of Ashwagandha or a placebo twice per day for 8 weeks. The Ashwagandha group saw immediate and sustained improvements in memory, executive function, focus and information processing (2). 

Enhance Performance 

Ashwagandha has an anabolic effect. This means it gives our cells access to energy and protects them from energy depletion (3).  In a 2012 study, 40 elite Indian cyclists were given either 500mg of Ashwagandha or a placebo twice daily for 8 weeks. There was a significant improvement in V02 max*, along with the time it took them to get exhausted. The placebo group showed no improvement from their baseline measurements (4). 

*V02 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. Improving this measurement means there is an increase in endurance. 

 

Our Ashwagandha Offerings

This restorative adaptogen is a wonderful herbal ally year-round. We love the benefits Ashwagandha has to offer and include it in several of our formulations. 

Artisan Tea

Cozy up with our Adapt tea, featuring grounding Ashwagandha and Reishi mushroom to help you restore balance with each sip. 

Elixirs 

Relax and reset with our Golden Mylk elixir, featuring Ashwagandha, Turkey Tail and warming spices. 

Tincture Blends 

Enhance well-being and calm your nerves with our Uplifted Spirits tincture, featuring Ashwagandha, St. John’s Wort and other soothing herbs. 

Single Herb Tinctures 

Support your nervous system with our bioavailable Ashwagandha tincture. 

Botanical Dispensary 

Find Organic Ashwagandha Root and Ashwagandha Powder in our Botanical Dispensary. 

 

References

  1. Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012, July). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255–262. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106022 
  2. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017, February 21). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599–612. https://doi.org/10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970 
  3. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. (2007, March 22). Healing Arts Press. 
  4. Shenoy, S., Chaskar, U., Sandhu, J., & Paadhi, M. (2012). Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 3(4), 209. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-9476.104444