What is ashwagandha and why do so many rave about its stress-relieving benefits?

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We all endure stressful periods at one point or another, and the search for a remedy can seem never ending. Stylist looks into the calming benefits of Ashwagandha.

While new serums and skincare acids seem to come our way every week, there are other avenues in the beauty and wellness sphere that have always been considered reliable, effective treatments. Ayurveda is lauded as one of the most efficacious traditional medicinal practices in this space. 

Originating in India, it’s considered a holistic approach to beauty that can help with concerns including stress, anxiety and uplifting your mood more generally. The way to go about it includes making changes to diet, adding in herbal treatments and yogic breathing. 

And time and time again, there’s one Ayurvedic remedy in particular that has been raved about by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Glossier founder, Emily Weiss; ashwagandha. It’s known for its stress-reducing properties, and with very few, if any side effects, it seems like a remedy worth knowing more about.

Stylist asked founder of wellness brand Glow Bar, Sasha Sabapathy and founder of Brain Power Supplements, Ashley Peat for their input to deduce everything we need to know about the herb.

What is Ashwagandha?

“Ashwagandha is a plant used in Ayurveda for a variety of properties,” says Sabapathy. “The most famous form of it is the powdered root which is considered an Adaptogenic Herb.”

How does Ashwagandha help reduce stress?

The key to the herb’s stress-reducing power lies in its ability to control our stress hormone. “Ashwagandha has been proven in several studies to regulate of the stress hormone cortisol,” explains Sabapathy. “This means that if your cortisol is too high it will bring it down, and if it is too low it will increase it. Having imbalanced cortisol levels can cause a multitude of problems such as anxiety, depression and sleep issues. “

What are the benefits of using Ashwagandha?

There’s a list of benefits that contribute to our wellbeing. “Ashwagandha has been shown to improve symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety, while also helping sleep quality,” says Peat. “That’s not all though, as it can boost mental performance, fertility and endurance during exercise.”

How do you take Ashwagandha?

It’s typically taken in a powder format as a supplement, but there’s been an increased use of it in beauty products from shower oils to essential oils

Up for adding this herb to your daily routine? Stylist has put together a list of products in a few different forms to add into your beauty and wellness routine.

The best Ashwaghanda products

  • The traditional powder

    Glow Bar Elixirs Ashwagandha

    The powder format of this adaptogen means getting a dose of Ashwagandha is as easy as mixing it in with your usual latte or acai berry breakfast bowl.

    £26.50, Glow Bar

  • The shower oil

    Beauty Pie Soul Providers Relaxing Shower Oil

    Made with relaxation in mind, this shower oil serves a dual purpose: lather up the oil in the shower for a quicker, aromatherapy experience or massage it into the skin before stepping into a hot bath. It’s also mixed with nourishing and stress-relieving ingredients from evening primose oil to vitamin E to help increase the effectiveness of the ashwagandha.

    £9.22 for members, Beauty Pie

  • The essential oil

    Subtle Energies Breathe Easy Concentrate

    Blended with clove, peppermint and eucalyptus, this essential oil helps to soothe congestion and help with clarity of breath.

    £44, Subtle Energies 

  • The capsule supplement

    Brain Power Ashwagandha Capsules

    Crafted with organic ashwagandha, these capsules are the perfect addition to a fuss-free wellness routine.

    £19.99, Brain Power Supplements     

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Images: Getty and courtesy of brands.

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