A plant originally found in India which is known for its ability to help stress and to possibly improve cognitive function. Ashwagandha was first mentioned in an ancient Ayurvedic text called Charaka Samhita which is thought to date between 4th Century BCE to 2nd century CE and many texts and papers since. It has been used for a long time! This is partly why NUDE Chocolate has used this plant in the Mind bar.
It is a ginseng, but unlike the other ginsengs used in herbal medicine it is a relaxing one. It is an adaptogen which helps the body adapt to stress. In this case, it helps the body when there is too much cortisol being released. Cortisol is a hormone that to some degree gives us our internal clock. In normal function, it is released in the morning and helps us wake up and it is usually decreased in the evening which makes us feel tired and ready to sleep. We release extra cortisol when we are stressed and in times of a lot of stress cortisol can be too high. Ashwagandha helps this by regulating the HPA axis, which is the part of the nervous system. Cortisol in higher amounts produces the flight or fight reaction. When the HPA axis is switched on for a prolonged period of time it can affect heart rate, blood pressure and digestive function.
It is the glycosides, Sitindosides VII and VIII in Ashwagandha that produces this effect and helps regulate cortisol levels and brings it back into balance. This is the main reason NUDE has used Ashwagandha in the Mind bar for its adaptogen abilities and helping the body and mind deal with stress. It’s great to be able to use a plant that hails from the East and used in the West where we have a lot of stress.
In terms of cognitive function improvement, it appears to help with improving mental cognitive abilities and memory. There is some evidence that Ashwagandha helps with preventing neurodegenerative conditions as well.
There are quite a few uses attributed to Ashwagandha found in various texts and papers but these are the main two we have concentrated on for the Mind Bar. We felt it was very useful and with thousands of years of accounts and now some papers backing some of those claims up we thought it would be a great plant to add to the NUDE Mind Bar.
Side effects and precautions. It is wise if your taking medications and/or are pregnant to do some research before taking any plants.
- By Natasha Lloyd (BS) Herbal Medicine,
Licensed Herbalist at NUDE LLC