It can be challenging to stay up-to-date with the latest in wellness and food “trends,” but many of these so-called emerging ingredients are not as new as we think. Think about it...kombucha is all the rage right now, but it’s actually an ancient fermented drink that has been used for its healing properties for hundreds of years. Maybe we’re just hearing about it now, or maybe we weren’t really paying attention years ago. Either way, we’ve got you covered.
Today we’re talking about ashwaghanda (pronounced ash-wah-gahn-da). What the heck is it? For starters, it is one of the most popular herbs used in Ayurvedic healing. It looks like a little red tomato engulfed in papery thin leaves. However, it is commonly compared to the ginseng root and has been dubbed “Indian ginseng,” although the root grows in many places throughout Asia and the Middle East.
Ashwaghanda is commonly used to treat stress, fatigue, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating. It also helps strengthen the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties.
What makes it so special? Ashwaghanda is trending right now as an “adaptogen,” or a substance that helps your body respond to stress and changing environments. But it is best known for its stress-reducing properties. Many animal and human studies have demonstrated that the super herb helps lower cortisol levels and reduces the number of damaged cells caused by stress. In some instances, ashwaghanda has been compared to brand new prescription medicines for anxiety and depression, although these claims have not been validate.
Although ashwaghanda is typically injested in a supplement form, many trending food and drink products also contain the super herb. Functional beverage companies have started to incorporate ashwaghanda into teas and elixirs, while supplement companies have started making powders that can mixed into drinks and foods available. However you choose to incorporate this herb into your routine, make sure you check with your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen.