Article written by Joe Palinsky
For most people, the medicine cabinet is a storage space that acts as a window to the past. Expired pill bottles and loose adhesive strips mingle on the shelves, reminding you of all the maladies you’ve encountered in your years. With 2017 winding down, now is an excellent time to begin cleaning out all the old junk in your life. The medicine cabinet is a fantastic place to begin your endeavor!
While tossing out old vitamins and creams can be cathartic, you might also want to focus on what you will replace once everything has been tossed. Finding the right items for your medicine cabinet can help you to feel prepared for whatever health-related situations await. Ashwagandha, for example, is an herb with a number of uses that might have a future home in your medicine cabinet. To see if it works for your life, let’s examine some of the benefits.
1.) Ancient And Relevant
Whenever a new herb or plant appears on the shelves, consumers and advertisers alike tend to get out of control. Reports on the benefits of these products can be conflicting and overwhelming, making it impossible to know whether or not the supplement or remedy even works. Ashwagandha is different because it has been used for thousands of years in a number of places around the world with impressive results.
In North Africa, the herb has long been used as a way of dealing with inflammation and increasing energy levels. Often referred to as ubab or “winter cherry,” ashwagandha can also be found across parts of Asia. In India, the herb is mashed into a paste and used as a salve for treating burns and other wounds.
2.) Calming Effects
Stress and anxiety are very real problems for a large number of people. The world is more connected than it has ever been before. While this fact yields some wonderful results, it also can make one feel tense to constantly be bombarded with news and information about the world. Ashwagandha might also prove useful when dealing with these high levels of stress.
According to a number of studies conducted at several academic institutions, ashwagandha helped patients feel less stressed within a short amount of time. Anxiety can put a lot of strain on the brain and make memory recall somewhat impossible. When ashwagandha was present in the system, researchers noticed an improvement in how subjects suffering from anxiety could recall vital information.
3.) Better Spirits
Feeling grumpy or frustrated can often seem like a part of life. While it is true that you can’t do much to change a foul mood when you’re stuck in one, it also doesn’t hurt to try new tactics. With an herb like ashwagandha, you could be looking at a solid way to get yourself into better spirits. While conducting studies on the anti-anxiety effects of ashwagandha, researchers observed patients exhibited signs of improved emotional states.
Though studies are still being done to uncover exactly how ashwagandha improves an individual’s mood, many scientists believe it has to do with how the herb impacts the adrenal gland. Responsible for producing and regulating a large number of hormones, this endocrine gland is stimulated and rejuvenated by the constant presence of ashwagandha. This renewal helps to better regulate hormones like adrenaline, which tends to help with stress levels as well as overall mood.
4.) Memories That Last
Having a strong memory can work to your advantage on a daily basis. Keeping yourself sharp helps you to stay on top of tasks at work, keep important dates in the forefront of your mind, and allow you the ability to remember where you put down your keys before walking out the door. Though a number of factors work against a person’s ability to remember information, studies suggest that ashwagandha might be a good fit for those looking to improve areas of the brain related to memory.
It is important to note that these studies primarily focused on memory problems that resulted from head injuries. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, ashwagandha might be helpful for patients suffering from dementia but it is too soon to tell. As of this point, no official studies have been conducted on ashwagandha and how it works in patients living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
5.) Simple Warnings
Discussing the benefits of an herb like ashwagandha can be useful for your future. Still, it is good to note that there are a few individuals who should not be using the plant. For the most part, you can feel confident in stocking your medicine cabinet with ashwagandha. However, it is important to keep in mind that women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid the herb. Some studies suggest it might be fine for pregnant women but it is best to speak with a healthcare professional before making any decisions.
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.