Adaptogens and cortisol levels
May 07, 2018

Adaptogens and cortisol levels

 Today we will talk about a powerful adaptogen - Ashwagandha (latin name: Withania somnifera) an ancient Ayurvedic healing herb that has been used for centuries to heal a wide variety of conditions. This powerful herb is best known for its restorative benefits. In the Sanskrit language, Ashwagandha translates to “the smell of a horse”. This translation indicates that the herb conveys the agility and strength of a stallion. Traditionally, this herb has been administered to people to help them strengthen the immune system following an illness.

This herb belongs to the same family as the tomato plant. It bears red fruit that is close to the size of a raisin, which grows inside of its yellow oval-shaped leaves and flowers. 

There are many applications of Ashwagandha in the modern world. It is still used to boost and strengthen immune systems, but can also be used for a variety of other reasons. If you tend to struggle with symptoms such as fatigue, chronic stress, lack of energy, or difficulty concentrating, adding Ashwagandha to your diet can help alleviate these symptoms and refresh your sense of well-being. 

In addition to healing the above symptoms, Ashwagandha is used to assist with many other parts of your health.

Ashwagandha’s ability to lower cortisol levels has a powerful effect when it comes to having a successful experience with weight loss attempts. That is because of cortisol, a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands as a response to stress can occasionally become severely elevated or elevated for a prolonged period of time. This happens when we are under a significant amount of stress. When cortisol levels are healthy and average, our bodies will emanate that through our balanced well-being. However, when they are elevated, particularly for a prolonged period of time, we can start to experience some of the most commonly recognized symptoms of stress: headaches, insomnia, stress, and more. If heightened cortisol levels are severe in an individual, they are at increased risk for a variety of health problems including things such as stroke, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity.

Cortisol plays a role in your body’s ability to metabolize fat and carbohydrates and turn them into energy. However, when your body’s cortisol levels are abnormal, your body will start to store more fat than necessary. Cortisol has even been known to affect where the weight is put on, with studies showing that individuals with increased cortisol levels have been known to develop more abdominal fat instead of hip fat. This specific type of fat is considered much more harmful to your health, as it has the ability to promote the development of chronic diseases.

In addition to reducing potentially dangerous cortisol levels, Ashwagandha can aid in the stabilisation of blood sugar levels. When cortisol levels are higher, they will trigger the release of insulin into your body. This particular hormone – insulin – is known for enabling your body to use blood sugar for energy or to store it as fat. If you are consistently experiencing surges in your insulin levels, your cells will eventually stop responding to insulin as well, which can result in insulin resistance or even type 2 diabetes.

Studies that have been done on Ashwagandha have shown that the herbs ability to help with weight loss goals are promising. They have found that the plant has been able to effectively lower serum levels of cortisol up to about 26%. Additionally, it has been able to significantly improve the insulin sensitivity index, while also lowering blood sugar levels with levels that can be comparable to anti-diabetic drugs. Finally, the herb has also been found to assist with decreasing LDL, also known as the bad cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Ashwagandha has an excellent ability to assist people with helping lose weight, especially those who may already be suffering from some of the effects of metabolic syndrome. As well, it is a great supplement for those who may be experiencing weight gain as a result of severe or ongoing increased stress levels. If you are looking for assistance in shedding your weight, particularly weight that has been acquired due to medical ailments, you could benefit greatly from Ashwagandha and its powerful healing abilities.

Remember, it is important that if you are currently experiencing any medical ailments, are pregnant, or are using medicine for any reason, that you consult your doctor prior to using Ashwagandha or any other herbal remedy. Using herbal medicines without consulting with your doctor first could result in you using something that could be harmful to your own body. Since everyone’s needs, conditions, symptoms, and bodies are different, it is important that you make sure you are being cautious and always being mindful of what you are putting into your body.

You can find Ashwagandha in our Ashwamilla Toner! Great for Pitta dosha and Pitta-Kapha as well as Kapha dosha.