Ashwagandha and The Science of Stress
It’s only been a couple of weeks since the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, but for some, it already seems like it’s been an eternity. The fast-moving nature of the pandemic can make it especially difficult to find our orientation, our ground, our “true north.” As a result, many of us are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety levels.
If this describes your situation, we believe we can help. For literally thousands of years, we humans have turned to Ashwagandha as an all-natural herbal stress relief and as a nerve tonic. To help understand how it works, it may be helpful to get a small dose of medical grounding.
The HPA and the Immune System
If you’ve spent any time researching herbs for anxiety and stress, you’ve probably come across the term “HPA Axis.” Those letters are short for “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal,” and they describe our central network for managing stress and anxiety. Shortly after we experience stress, the HPA fires into action, triggering the release of various hormones and responses such as an elevated heart rate. Eventually, one of these bodily responses to stress—particularly long-lasting varieties, such as the spread of coronavirus in Oregon we’re currently experiencing—is the release of cortisol, a powerful steroid hormone.
Here’s where there may be a role for Ashwagandha. Cortisol isn’t a problem in and of itself. Like anxiety, it’s a natural and normal response to perceived danger. The problem arises when heightened and sustained cortisol levels cause physical and emotional distress. As studies have indicated, elevated cortisol levels are associated with decreased immune system response as well as mood disorders such as depression.
As demonstrated in a 2012 study, daily doses of Ashwagandha helped lower cortisol levels by up to 32%. We believe that when it comes to finding a gentle, plant-based and above all sustainable response to this moment, Ashwagandha is unparalleled among herbs for stress. It sponsors and supports a feeling of groundedness, centeredness, and what we sometimes like to call “Calm Strength.”
Ashwagandha: Stress Relief Straight From Nature
Even if you’re already a devotee of ayurvedic medicine, we think you’ll love our Ashwagandha. We handcraft it from fresh roots and leaves grown and harvested on our organic, biodynamic farm in the lush Sandy River Valley, and it’s gratifying to know that we will see each and every beautiful herb from seed to plant to potent spagyric tincture.
This situation offers an abundance of opportunities to look into ourselves, to enjoy nature, and to slow down. The impact of our intentions and actions—both on our communities and on the world—become more apparent. While it might feel scary and unknown, it is times like this that the potentials for change and action are heightened. We have the opportunity to work together and come out the better for it; the resilience, innovation, and resourcefulness of we humans as individuals and as communities is infinite.
For tips on how to get the greatest benefit from Ashwagandha, feel free to contact us directly. Stay grounded, wash your hands, and remember that we’re all here to support and love one another!
With Warm Ashwagandha Wishes,