Most people are quite interested in taking decisive action to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, nerves, and other unwanted emotions. At Immune Solution, we know that there are many natural remedies for such unwanted emotions. Thankfully, these natural solutions come without the potentially harmful side effects that tend to accompany some prescription drugs.
But a lot of people ask us, “How can a plant offer the same, or even better outcomes in anxiety reduction as that of a pharmaceutical drug made explicitly for that purpose?”
Well, to begin, we can’t give medical advice, and we don’t pretend to. You should always consult with your doctor before embarking on any health journey.
However, we’ll start by pointing out that many of the basic chemical structures and molecular ingredients used as the backbone of certain pharmaceutical drugs can also be found in nature.
Here’s just one example. For thousands of years, willow bark was gathered and used as a pain reliever. Thanks to modern science, we now know that willow bark contains the chemical compound known as salicylic acid.
Today, the common pain reliever Aspirin is made from a virtually identical chemical, acetylsalicylic acid. Just because a natural remedy does not appear in pill form or does not come in an orange bottle with a fancy Big Pharma name on it does not mean it is not effective.
The Proven History Behind Ashwagandha
Let’s turn to Ashwagandha. Historical records indicate that Ashwagandha has been used as an herbal healing remedy for thousands of years. The first use of the plant for medicinal purposes dates as far back as 6,000 B.C.!
And the efficacy of Ashwagandha is not just proven in folk medicine and ancient medical texts either. Even though Ashwagandha is not a drug, it has still been put through countless clinical trials and proven to be effective. And just because Ashwagandha does not come in an orange pill bottle with a pharmaceutical company’s stamp of approval on it does not mean it is not highly effective in helping people overcome a long list of ailments.
For a look at the history, “Ashwagandha” comes from the ancient Sanskrit “Ashwa” horse and “Gandha” smell of. The root earned this title because it smelled kind of like a horse and because the root was thought to give people the strength and virility of a horse.
Traditional Indian medicine classified Ashwagandha as “Rasayana,” which means, “Something that lengthens lifespan.” These ancient medicines (called Ayurvedic medicine) also classified Ashwagandha as “Bhayala,” meaning, “Something which increases strength.” And last but not least, Ayurvedic medicine also classified Ashwagandha as “Vajikara,” which means, “Something which promotes healthy sexual function.”
In modern times, Ashwagandha is classified as an “Adaptogen,” meaning it is a natural substance that can help the body deal with stress’s physical and chemical effects. Ashwagandha possesses the critical ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. That can help lead to less anxiety and an overall better mood. Modern medicine also recognizes Ashwagandha for its ability to increase testosterone, improve sexual function, increase strength, and enhance fertility in men.
What are the Chemical Structures of Ashwagandha?
Now we’re going to start taking a look at Ashwagandha’s chemical structure, as understanding these concepts is crucial in understanding why Ashwagandha works.
How can a root have medicinal properties? The basic chemical compounds (called phytochemicals) of Ashwagandha are unique in the purposes that they serve. While the phytochemicals of most plants function as immune cells, insect repellants, growth stimulators, etc., in Ashwagandha, the phytochemicals are unique in their reaction on the human body.
Specific phytochemical molecules within Ashwagandha overlap with chemicals in the human body. This overlapping effect is a positive one. The chemicals within Ashwagandha interact with certain chemicals within the human body to either enhance that chemical reaction (as in the case of testosterone) or reduce that chemical reaction (as in the case of stress, i.e., cortisol). Ashwagandha contains an unusually high number of phytochemicals that respond well with the human body, improving certain beneficial chemical reactions or inhibiting specific harmful chemical reactions.
Clinical studies indicate that Ashwagandha truly does make people feel better.
One 2008 study examined four different study groups. One group took a placebo, one took 125 milligrams of Ashwagandha, one took 250 mg per day, and the last group took 500 mg per day. The study was carried out for 60 days, with questionnaires administered at 30 days and 60 days. The questionnaire asked study participants about their relative stress levels.
The placebo group saw no real change in their stress levels. But for the other three groups, the more Ashwagandha the study participants took, the better they felt, stress-wise. The group that saw the most pronounced decrease in stress levels was the group that took 500 mg of Ashwagandha for 60 days.
Not only did the researchers use surveys to determine if study participants felt better, but the researchers also took physiological tests, measuring the chemical changes of study participants on a biological and clinical level. Researchers measured actual cortisol levels of study participants, finding that measured cortisol dropped in patients after 60 days of taking 500 milligrams of Ashwagandha each day.
Next week, we’re going to dive into raw biochemistry data and take a very close look at Ashwagandha’s actual physiological effects on the human body. Until then, you can check out our 100% Natural Ashwagandha Extract, one of our most popular natural health supplements!
See you next week,
Immune Solution Writing Staff