Roots: Restore Health with Ashwagandha
by Dr. Michael La Mastro
When looking for a botanical to rejuvenate and restore health, consider ashwagandha (withania somnifera). This revered Ayurvedic tonic is known to positively impact mood, memory, cardiovascular and metabolic health.
In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is considered to be a rasayna, a Sanskrit word meaning “path of essence”. Rasayanas stimulate the body toward health by boosting energy levels, immunity and intelligence as well as fight disease.
Research supporting its benefits is growing. A recent study of men participating in resistance training showed improvement in muscle mass and strength with a decrease in oxidative stress compared to placebo. In a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial ashwaganda was shown to significantly reduce the severity of symptoms in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The minimum dosage by which ashwaganda was observed to be effective was at 125mg daily, but greater benefits were observed at increased dosages.
In healthy adults subjected to mental stress, treatment with ashwaganda was observed to reduce hypertension, fasting, blood sugar, triglycerides and low-density lipid proteins (LDL) cholesterol. This success was accomplished with dosages as low as 125mg twice daily.
Ashwaganda has been shown to be effective and well tolerated in human studies, however, it is a member of the night shade family and concerns should be exercised for individuals with documented night shade sensitivity.
As seasons change our bodies may experience many challenges to our moods, energy levels and immunity. It is at these times that we look for additional support in the area of a supplement or other intervention. The addition of this adaptogenic herb to regular exercise, rest and a balanced diet may be the solution to help maintain vitality through the winter.
GOOD TO KNOW
An ancient stress-buster. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, which means it promotes homeostasis in your body and enhances its ability to deal with stress. When we are stressed, we pump out more of the hormone cortisol, and studies show that ashwagandha can reduce the amount of it by as much as 26%.
Dr. Michael La Mastro is a holistic practitioner and owner of Be Well Live Well Health & Wellness Center located at 66 Woodport Rd., in Sparta. For information, call 973-729-7803 or visit DrLaMastro.com.