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This is the year Ashwagandha changed my world. Like literally. Swan diving into the next phase of my life, perimenopause, I found myself hit, quite suddenly and dramatically, by incandescent rage. I was ranting and raving at everything and everyone at full volume. No kidding. Someone had hijacked my body and taken my mind hostage. My previous zen like nature, where I generally take life’s spills and thrills in my stride, vanished overnight and in its’ place was this crazy raging mid-life lady. I had become a cliche.
Truth be told even I didn’t recognise myself. It was awful. Especially being a solo mum to a three-year old. We couldn’t both be throwing our toys out of the pram. At the same time. All the time. I knew something was wrong. This rage had to stop at best and handled at worst. And what made this all so doubly weird was that it was only four years ago I got first-hand experience of how hormones truly ruled my world. In technicolour.
Except that time it was the glowing flush of pregnancy when progesteronefloods your system and everyone fawns all over you. Swiftly followed by childbirth and torrents of the wonder hormone oxytocin (the love hormone) having you gooey eyed, blissed out on baby smells and wild with euphoria, despite sleepless nights and all the responsibilities that go hand in hand with parenting a newborn.
So, I did what I do best and researched everything I could on my raging mental state and discovered ASHWAGANDHA. It saved me. And fast.
So the short answer is yes, if you’re feeling stressed by life, it’s definitely worth trying Ashwagandha
What’s an Adaptogenic Herb?
Ashwagandha, is a traditional Ayurvedic herb used in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) and is classified as a well known Adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are exceptional natural substances that help the body and mind adapt to stress, supporting normal metabolic function, and helping restore systemic equanimity in the mind and equilibrium in the body.
Adaptogens produce changes by increasing your resistance to biological, emotional, physical and environmental stressors and are unique from other substances in their ability to restore the balance of your endocrine hormones, harmonising your immune and nervous systems, thus allowing your body to maintain optimal homeostasis.
Importantly they are also non-toxic.
Ashwagandha: Too Good to be True?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been the hot topic in the wellness world, even more so over the past few years. I see it as the rockstar adaptogen that should find space in everyone’s apothecary, tea, latte, or morning supplement regimen.
But why? What makes this herb such a powerhouse, why are so many people reaching for it in many forms-root, powder, capsule and tincture.
And how did it turn my rage around?
Ashwagandha Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Any kind of stress, whether it’s physical or mental, can result in feelings of anxiety and nervousness. Stress affects our ability to deal with life; it affects our immune system, our sex life and our brain. And whether it stems from job losses and financial worries, sleepless nights with a newborn, or just trying to juggle life as it comes. Everyone experiences stress. Especially this year amidst Covid-19 lockdowns, and sadly, fatalities.
Adaptogenic herbs support your entire neuroendocrine system by exerting a biochemical influence on your hypothalamus and its two main systems to signal stress response — the HPA axis (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) and the SAS (SympathoAdrenal System: your flight and fight response)
One of the attributes of ashwagandha is also its ability to induce calm and clarity by regulating neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and the stress hormone cortisol. Symptoms of elevated cortisol can include anxiety-induced rage, hypertension, sex hormone imbalance, insulin resistance, obesity, osteoporosis, insomnia and polycystic ovary syndrome (in women).
Too little cortisol can cause inflammatory disease. Symptoms of depressed cortisol can include Addison’s disease, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypotension, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome (PMS, in women), infertility, impotence (in men), and fibromyalgia.
How I take it
I’ve been experimenting with Ashwagandha over the past few months. I take 1 capsule (340mg) of Fushi Wellbeing’s Ashwagandha first thing in the orning on an empty stomach. I like this brand becasue their supplements are freshly-ground, hand-blended and capsulated in their London workshop. Fushi’s nutriceuticals are organic, vegetarian friendly and formulated with 100% pure active ingredients in bio available form for the best absorption. Personally I think their product is fantastic and I’ve got a lot out of them.
If you’re feeling stressed by life, it’s worth trying Ashwagandha
If you feel like life is stressing you out, making you feel fraught, frazzled, anxious or depressed then Ashwagandha may be worth a shot.
Do not take Ashwagandha if you are a child, pregnant, breastfeeding, have thyroid or other underlying health-issues, in which case check-in with a medical professional first.
And if like me you have entered perimenopause and feel like a monstrous rage coming on or that you’re losing your mind then taking Ashwagandha may help you too, like it did me.
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