Superfood Spotlight: Ashwagandha
by Vickie Chin on Jan 30, 2019
Over the last year or so, herbs from a number of healing traditions have gained popularity in the wellness world and are crossing over into the mainstream. These herbs are often referred to as ‘adaptogens’. Adaptogens are essentially non-toxic plants that aid the body in resisting and dealing with internal and external stressors of all kinds. They help the body adapt! Many of them work by, as Dr. Brenda Powell states, “doing for your adrenal glands what exercise does for your muscles”. When we exercise, we put stress on our muscles, but as you continue to train and exercise, our bodies become better at dealing with the stress we’re putting on our bodies - they adapt! This is what’s happening to your adrenal glands as you begin to incorporate adaptogens into you daily routine. Most of these herbs have been used for centuries in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. Today, we’re seeing them pop up all over, most commonly being added to lattes, elixirs, teas, smoothies and other superfood blends.Today we’re going to be spotlighting one of the most popular adaptogens having a renaissance today: The Beneficial Ashwagandha
Superfood Spotlight: Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is one of the most commonly used adaptogenic herbs and has been extensively researched throughout the years. It’s most well-known for its’ antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and thyroid-modulating properties. It is also known for its ability to strengthen the immune system and is commonly referred to as “Indian ginseng” as it has been known to enhance stamina and aid in stress relief. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means “that which imparts the strength of a stallion” referring to its ability to increase stamina, endurance and energy.
Name: Withania Somnifera
AKA: Ashwagandha, Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry
Organic Remedy: Adaptogen, herb
Plant Family: Solanaceae, nightshade
Native To: India, Nepal, China and Yemen
Type: Perennial Shrub
Similar To: Ginseng
Supplement Forms: Powder, Concentrates, Liquid, Capsule
Storage: Refrigeration of ashwagandha is not required. It is is best stored in an airtight package in a cool, dry, dark place.
Benefits of Ashwagandha:
Ashwagandha has a number of health benefits, both physical and mental. According to a study performed by the Department of Pharmacology at the Banaras Hindu University’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Varanasi, India, ashwagandha is characterized as a “rasayana” meaning it promotes both your physical and mental health and also helps to defend and protect the body against disease and damage while also slowing down the aging process. Many studies have concluded that ashwagandha possess many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties play a huge role in ashwagandha’s ability to improve thyroid function, relieve adrenal fatigue, combat against stress, anxiety and even depression, balance blood sugar levels, improve memory, boost your immune system, increase stamina and endurance, help increase strength and even improve sexual vigor and fertility - just to name a few.
Dosage: Dosage highly depends on what form of ashwagandha you’re consuming. At Organic Traditions, we carry two types of ashwagandha powder: Ashwagandha Root Powder and Full Spectrum Ashwagandha. Since this powder is made by grinding the whole root of the ashwagandha plant, we recommend starting our dosage at a ½ tsp to 1 tsp.
Ashwagandha Powder VS Full Spectrum Ashwagandha:
Our Ashwagandha Root Powder is sustainably grown and harvested from India. Since this powder is made by grinding the whole root of the ashwagandha plant, we recommend starting our dosage at a ½ tsp to 1 tsp. Ashwagandha powder doesn’t have the most favorable scent or taste, however it is easily mixed into both hot and cold beverages, energy balls, oatmeal and more. Our Full Spectrum Ashwagandha Powder is a more concentrated, pure form of ashwagandha. It’s essentially an extract which we’ve created using a supercritical and hydro-ethanolic extraction process which offers the complete signature of the herb in its most potent and pure form. No chemicals, solvents or high heat are used in this process, to ensure optimal stability. ¼ tsp of our Full Spectrum Ashwagandha is made from 20g of fresh ashwagandha. Since this is a more concentrated form of the adaptogen, we recommend starting with a dosage as little as ⅛ of a tsp and working your way up to ¼. This semi-soluble powder can be combined with water, smoothies, hot beverages and more.
Best Uses: It’s Sanskrit name literally translates to ‘that which imparts the strength of a stallion’ which also accurately reflects both the smell and taste of this powerful adaptogenic herb. Unlike maca powder, which has a light butterscotch flavour, ashwagandha powder is known for its bitter taste and horse-like smell. It is best incorporated into hot and cold beverages like smoothies, smoothie bowls, lattes, elixirs and teas. You could also try adding some to energy balls and deserts!
If you’re new to ashwagandha and unsure where to start, a good place would be with our NEW Chocolate Latte with Ashwagandha and Probiotics! This instant latte is delicious served both hot and cold and the best thing about it is that we’ve added all of the ingredients and all you need to do is add the water! With coconut milk powder as the base, simply blend 1 tbsp of your latte mix with water and you’ll instantly have a delicious creamy latte. The combination of cacao powder and ashwagandha makes this instant latte the perfect pre-workout beverage. Cacao is packed with energizing properties that are known to trigger the release of endorphins which can promote mental clarity and energy while also enhancing your mood. Combined with the energizing properties found in ashwagandha - this superfood latte blend can take your workout to the next level. Drink it as is, hot or cold, or try adding it to your pre workout smoothie or protein shake!
What Sets Our Superfoods Apart:
At Organic Traditions, we offer the highest quality organic, vegan superfoods in their purest forms. We practice sustainable sourcing and harvesting and ensure that no GMO’s, fillers, preservatives, harsh chemicals, solvents or high heat are used in extracting or producing any of our superfoods and superherbs.