Thursday, January 22, 2009
Ayurvedic remedy and adaptogen
Ashwagandha is similar to ginseng, but is purported to be better for one of my worst enemies, inflammation. It is also helpful for memeory (or lack thereof), anxiety, stress, and preventing cartilage damage from arthritis. It lowers cortisol - the primary stress hormone and causer of inflammation.(source) I have all these lovely conditions. Lucky me.
I started taking Life Extension's ashwagandha the morning of January 16, 2009, and it made a noticeable difference from the first day. I feel much less anxious, more relaxed and more energized, and feel more flexible when doing yoga. I think for me the anti-anxiety effect is the primary source of benefit: I'm not wasting energy on nervousness and excess muscle tension, therefore I have more energy, which increases my alertness and enhances thought processes, and with my muscles more relaxed I do yoga more effectively. Reading the cortisol info at About.com affirms my observations.
Ashwagandha isn't a stimulant - I don't do well with those (can't even drink decafeinated coffee.) I feel more energized simply because I have more energy. "Waste not, want not!"
One person I've recommended it to has hypertension and was concerned about ashwagandha's effects/safety. An article at Life Extension Foundation doesn't have any cautions regarding high blood pressure. Likewise, an article about ashwagandha on Deepak Chopra's website didn't have any warnings for people with hypertension. I don't know anyone who has more experience with Ayurvedic remedies than Dr. Chopra, so if he isn't warning against it, I would think it would be o.k., but do check with a qualified medical practitioner before taking ashwagandha or any other remedy!
Recommended sources of information on this wonderful remedy:
Ashwagandha: Stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb - article at Life Extension Foundation, where it also says that animal studies on ashwagandha's anti-cancer properties look promising.(source)