Ancient herb for modern stress

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By Mike Ventresca, Vital Choice Healthstore

More than 5,000 years ago, a holistic approach to medicine known as Ayurveda originated in India. Today, one of the essential herbs of this ancient form of medicine is the subject of an ever-increasing body of research demonstrating its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, support blood sugar levels, manage inflammation and more.

The herb ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen—plants and mushrooms that help the body respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue and support overall well-being.

Multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have found ashwagandha to be associated with reductions in both subjective and objective measures in chronically stressed adults. This means participants taking ashwagandha reported less perceived stress (subjective) than those taking a placebo, as well as reductions in objective measures including morning cortisol (the main stress hormone), c-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), pulse rate and blood pressure. The benefits of ashwagandha may reach beyond reducing cortisol and stress.

A meta-analysis published in 2020 found ashwagandha significantly reduced blood sugar, A1c levels, insulin, blood lipids, and oxidative stress markers.

Recent studies found it may increase athletic performance by increasing VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense activity. Other studies suggest it may help boost testosterone and increase fertility in men.

When shopping for ashwagandha, be sure to look for high-quality, reputable brands to ensure safety and efficacy. We carry a variety with some of my favorites being Garden of Life and our Vital Choice brand.

Mike Ventresca is the owner of Vital Choice Health Store located at 9243 Sprague Road in North Royalton’s Timber Ridge Plaza. Call 440-885-9505 or visit This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.