the King of Ayurvedic Herbs to Boost Energy & Immunity
Because this is a continuation of my series on Ayurveda, and how to apply traditional Indian principles to your modern life, I’m going to tell you all about the most famous Indian Adaptogen herb, Ashwaganda! In my last post about finding your dosha, I asked you guys to try and see what yours was. In the traditional use of this herb, it is used in people with a Vata imbalance, but I use it as part of an Integrative Approach for managing peroids of high stress, and for giving an immune boost. The name Ashwaganda comes from the fact that when this herb is cultivated, it gives off a strong smell, almost like horse urine, and ashwa=horse ghanda=smell and voila-you have Ashwaghanda!
It’s an Adaptogen
Ashwagandha is known as an ‘Adaptogen’ herb. Adoptogen Herbs are a category of hers and plants that have effects on our body’s immune system, stress hormone pathways and endocrine systems. multiple physiological mechanisms, they help protect the body against various stresses, including physical, mental, or emotional stress, by helping the body cope better under stress without falling apart!
Ashwagandha’s other name is Indian Ginseng, and it’s a powerful antioxidant that supports immune system function and may have antihistamine–meaning anti-allergy- properties. It decreases vitamin C depletion under stress–this is really cool because when our body is stressed, it uses up to 8X the vitamin C it usually needs! Because the body goes through Vitamin C at such an incredible rate when you’re stressed, there isn’t much Vitamin C left for your immune cells to use to help them fight off invaders like viruses and bacteria, so if we can spare Vitamin C, this really helps your immune system! It may also be useful for enhancing learning, memory and reaction time (bonus)!
Who Shouldn’t Take it…
This is definitely one not to take if you are pregnant or trying for pregnancy. It may interact with certain depressant medications and and autoimmune conditions so again, if that’s you ask your doc first, but as with the other adaptogens, it’s generally safe for most healthy people at low doses, especially when used for short periods i.e., during peak of cold and flu season, when traveling and under higher stress from work, when training for a triathlon, etc