Health Supplement: Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an Ayurvedic herb used in traditional Indian medicine. It is known for its use in total rejuvenation of the body and for its capacity to relieve stress. Does this sound great? That’s what I thought. Starting the New Year with a powder that would help me to relieve stress sounded fantastic! So I bought myself a packet and excitedly opened it at home. Of course I wanted to try the powder’s power immediately. One has to mix two tablespoons with hot water or milk. We didn’t have milk at home so hot water it was. Well what can I say?! It was really difficult to drink (or rather, gulp) down the milky water. Later I found out that Ashwagandha is Sanskrit and means the “odor of horse sweat” and yes, that totally nails it. But since it is known in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (even Native Americans and Africans have used it for years), I pulled myself together and swallowed. After a week I couldn’t say I was used to the taste, but it was easier to drink the hot water and powder mix.

The powder is made out of the root of the short tender shrub growing between 35-75 cm tall in drier regions of India, Nepal, China and Yemen. In Europe one probably has seen the fruits known as a type of gooseberry in the supermarket.

So what does Ashwagandha do? Medical researchers have been studying Ashwagandha for years with great interest and have completed more than 200 studies on the healing benefits of this botanical. Some of the healing effects are:

• Immune system protection
• Blood sugar stabilization
• Anti-inflammatory benefits
• Stress relief
• Improved learning, memory and reaction time

It is always hard to judge these impacts but I feel relaxed and I am happy and healthy. I will finish the powder and then switch to the capsules, simply because they are easier to swallow.

What do you do to relieve stress? Do you also take ashwagandha? Leave a comment because we would love to hear from you!