A stressful lifestyle is an issue many of us deal with on a regular basis. Whether because of job positions, family situations, or anxiety disorders, feeling stressed out is a common thing most of us strive, and sometimes fail, to manage. I've started a new job recently and also struggle with anxiety, so my stress levels are higher than normal right now. I've had ashwagandha on my radar for awhile, and have finally been able to get my hands on some!
Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, is a prominent herb in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and a popular supplement due to its health benefits. It's an "adaptogen", meaning it can help the body manage stress. This is not the only health benefit ashwagandha provides, however! There are several reasons to take it, especially for men!
- In several studies, ashwagandha has lowered blood sugar levels in both healthy people and diabetics because it effects insulin sensitivity and secretion.
- It may be effective against several types of cancer.
- This herb can lower cortizol levels in those of us who deal with chronic stress. One of its best known abilities is reducing stress and anxiety.
- Ashwagandha increases testosterone levels and fertility in men, as well as increases muscle mass, strength, and reducing body fat.
- It decreases inflammation and increases the activity of immune cells that fight infection in the body.
- Ayurvedic medicine uses it to improve brain function, memory, reaction times, and ability to perform tasks.
Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people to take. However, the following need to avoid it or consult a doctor before use:
- pregnant or nursing women need to avoid it
- people with autoimmune diseases need to consult a doctor before taking
- same goes with people taking medicine for thyroid issues.
I've been using ashwagandha in powder form for my hot cocoa, which is perfect for this time of year!
Ashwagandha Hot Cocoa
Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup almond or cow's milk
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 heaping tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used a sweet spice mix I made for fall and winter, which consists of ground ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom)
- 1/2 tsp ashwagandha
Start to warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the syrup and cacao powder. Whisk until it begins to steam, then take off the heat. Blend in the cinnamon and ashwagandha for 30 seconds with an immersion blender. Pour into a mug and enjoy!
O'Donnell, Kate. The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook. 2015, Shambhala Publications, Inc. 4720 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301. Print.