What’s the deal with: Ashwagandha

As we know, stress can affect the body in a number of ways, including increased anxiety, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. Sometimes we all need some extra help to cope with stress. This is where adaptogens come in.  Adaptogens improve the body’s ability to deal with stress over time by supporting certain organs (i.e. the adrenal glands) that manage stress. Essentially, adaptogens help our bodies maintain balance.

What is Ashwagandha?
As an adaptogenic woody herb, the root of the ashwagandha plant (Withania somnifera) has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine to counteract the negative effects of both physiological and psychological stress. Over the past couple years, ashwagandha has gained more recognition as one of the adaptogenic stress-fighters and has even begun showing up at local cafes or restaurants.

What are the benefits?
Ashwagandha is one the most widely used adaptogens, due to its ability to help manage anxiety, exhaustion, chronic stress and inflammation in the body. Other than helping the body adapt to stress and improving general well-being, this restorative and relaxing herb is also used to promote a more restful sleep, and it is commonly sold as a sleep aid. Researchers have also found that it can help reduce food cravings and increase weight loss, by modulating and reducing stress levels.

How to use it?
Ashwagandha can be consumed in a lot of different forms; as a tincture mixed with water, as a powder that you can put in teas or smoothies, as capsules, or by making your own decoction from the root. Due to its strong woody and bitter taste, some people prefer to take it in capsule form or by mixing the powder with a blend of spices, or into a smoothie or latte. Our recommendation is to start slowly if you are using the powder or the tincture, to give your taste buds time to adapt.

I love this super simple Matcha Latte recipe from Lee from America that incorporates Ashwagandha for some added calm and relaxation.

– 1/2 tsp MCT oil
– 1 tsp ashwagandha powder
– 1 tsp collagen
– 2 tsp matcha powder
– 1 tbsp coconut butter (makes it super foamy)
– 16-20 oz hot water

Add all ingredients to Vitamix or other high power blender, and blend on low for 1 minute.

Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., &  Joshi, K. (2017). Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract. Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine,22(1),96-106.
Photo via @freepeople

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Dana has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and will soon be a Certified Nutritional Practitioner from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Working primarily in the Tourism and Hospitality industry for the last 10 years, Dana has seen (and experienced) the struggles of trying to manage nutrition, fitness and a busy lifestyle. She looks forward to being able to support, educate and help clients on their path to a well balanced life.