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Nutritional Spotlight: Ashwagandha

Stressed out? Anxious? Looking for a gentle, natural remedy to help you get a good night’s sleep? Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, is an adaptogen herb that’s been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine and is often touted as the MVP of the wellness world.

The Benefits

Many holistic practitioners consider ashwagandha to be an essential super herb that can help alleviate stress by regulating cortisol. It’s also known to boost immunity and enhance mental clarity and focus — and it even may have a neuroprotective effect for people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Several studies have shown that it can reduce blood sugar, and a study conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that it may also help with asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, anemia, infertility, depression, and blood pressure.

The Best Bets

According to the University of Michigan Medicine website, experts recommend 3 to 6 grams of the dried root, taken each day in capsule or tea form. An easy solution is to buy prepared ashwagandha powder from a reputable source like Sun Potion or Moon Juice and mix it into tea, water, or juice. It’s also widely available in capsule form from natural health stores and markets like Whole Foods.

A note of caution: Ashwagandha may cause diarrhea and stomach pain, raise hormone levels, and irritate autoimmune diseases, so check with your medical practitioner before adding it to your wellness routine.

Learn about adaptogens.

Photo: Stanislav Sablin

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