I would be willing to bet that over the past few months, you’ve heard of CBD oil and its incredible benefits. Indeed it has blown up all over the internet and the surge in popularity has led many people to seek out the benefits it boasts.
I’m also willing to bet though that many of you live in countries where hemp hasn’t been approved for use in any way. Half of U.S states ban the growth or cultivation of any form of hemp and first world countries like Australia and New Zealand enforce the same laws. However, there is good news. There is an ancient herb of the Ayurveda healing practices in India and Northern Africa, that has been coming further and further into the public eye in the past few years. That herb is known as Ashwagandha and is purported to bring many of the same benefits as CBD oil and other herbal medicines.
A tiny bit of history: The herb is thought to have been used in traditional medicine for over 4,000 years and has long been believed to carry incredible healing potential. It was popularized initially by civilizations in India and Northern Africa. Used to treat a variety of conditions from stress and anxiety to weakness and fatigue, these settlements used this herb for just about anything.
Today we know that it cannot be the solution to every single health condition that the world suffers from. But the research suggests that it can help to treat and manage a vast number of conditions. So I’m going to break down some of the conditions which can be treated with this simple plant and how you can start to use it yourself.
Stress: This is probably the biggest use for Ashwagandha around the globe. It is arguably how this humble herb made a name for itself. In a study, Ashwagandha was found to block neural pathways which carry stress hormones. The effect of this was lower observable stress symptoms, as well as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. For people suffering from chronic stress, I would highly recommend this remedy. I personally don’t have elevated levels of stress. However, I did find that this herb took the edge off any nervousness or tension I was feeling. In fact in another study of 64 participants with chronic stress, 64% reported lower levels of stress when taking an Ashwagandha supplement. So this could finally be the natural stress relief method that you’ve been waiting for.
Lower Blood Sugar: Ashwagandha can potentially be used to help lower and regulate blood sugar levels in people with high blood sugar or diabetes. The herb is said to have properties which increase insulin sensitivity, allowing people to more readily release insulin. Though this is relatively unexplored territory within the field of natural medicine, the potential for massive medical break-throughs is becoming more apparent. This one did have measured effects in several scientific studies looking at the effect on blood sugar, with one study finding that it reduced blood sugar levels by almost three times as much as a placebo. So it is definitely worth considering this supplement if your blood sugar struggles to regulate itself.
Cancer: This is a big one. Ashwagandha is believed to have inhibiting and preventative properties towards human cancer cells. In fact, it is believed that it generates reactive oxygen species. These are responsible for many cancer cell deaths as they are toxic to the cells. However, they do not harm normal cells. This makes them a wonderful prevention technique for the growth and intensifying of tumors. If Ashwagandha research proves that it can aid in apoptosis ( controlled cell death) than the cancer research field could have a serious new card to play against cancers of many different kinds.
Ashwagandha is used today for many more purposes along with the ones mentioned, but these are the most researched and rigorously tested. Ashwagandha has also been suggested as an aid in lowering anxiety, treating OCD, building muscle mass and aiding in treatment for depression. There needs to be more scientific research on these treatments though and they are, as yet, unconfirmed. The more research is done on this fascinating plant though, the more likely it is that we will find ways to incorporate it successfully into our natural remedies.
As it stands, Ashwagandha is still being researched. So for that reason, please consult a medical professional before you begin to supplement with this herb. They will be able to tell you if it is right for your body and your current situation requiring treatment. Do not take it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It can improve so many areas of one’s life, and it did so for me in many ways. However, as with anything, it will not work without exception. So please make sure it is right for the purpose you intend to use it. I hope that this provided you with some useful information and gave you a solution to some issue which you believed couldn’t be treated with natural medicines.
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Photo: Jonathan Peilmaye – Unsplash; Francisco Moreno – Unsplash; Irina – Unsplash; Sharon Pittaway – Unsplash