Working with Ashwagandha

It seems every two years or so I get an itch to branch out in my education and learn something new. For the last year or so I’ve been wanting to dive more into herbal medicine and more fully understand their indications, properties, and uses in the home medicine cabinet. Starting a nine month herbalism course three weeks before I was due to deliver was a bad idea but now that my son is a little older and more self-entertaining I’m diving into a home study course that is highly experiential and self-directed. It’s perfect right now as my time is divided between clients, parenting, and keeping my relationship those I love (including myself!) strong and healthy.

Ashwagandha is one of the herbs I am getting to know this month. I have very little experience with it by itself, but it is popular in many adaptogenic cocktails aimed for those with adrenal fatigue or thyroid challenges. A nightshade, it grows in arid areas of India and also does well for those on US soil who have success growing it’s popular distant cousin, the tomato.

Ashwagandha is a great supplement for those who are chronically stressed and ‘wired but tired’ (4). Looking back, this would have been a powerful arsenal in my medicine cabinet during my final years in college! I recommend it for anxious, driven Type A folks who tend to overthink themselves into insomnia. It’s one of the most calming of the adaptogens and it’s collaborative effect on soothing depression and anxiety, boosting immunity and supporting natural energy levels through a balanced endocrine system make it a great winter tonic. (1,4) It also has been shown in studies to support all phases of cancer treatment and recovery by keeping the immune system and energy levels better supported. (1) If you think Ashwangadha may be helpful for you, consult with an herbal or holistic professional. It is available in tincture, capsule, or my personal favorite – a powder which can be made into yummies.

[Tweet “Forget pills! Eat your Ashwagandha with these recipes!!”]Here are several recipes I have collected from various places online:

Coconunny Ashwagandha

  •  2 TB of Ashwagandha powder
  • 1/3 cup of raw coconut butter
  • 1.5 to 2 Tbsp honey

Mix until well blended. It makes a paste that goes down very easily! (2)

Ashwagandha Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp. Carob Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ashwagandha Powder (Indian Ginseng)
  • 1/2 tsp. Maca Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Stevia Leaf Powder
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Hot Water (or cold, whichever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup Nut Milk

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!! (3)

AshwaCocoa

  • 1 tbsp. ashwagandha powder
  • 3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sweetener (sucanant, coconut sugar, etc)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I prefer mexican true cassia cinnamon here)
  • pinch of cayenne, to taste.
  • 2 cups milk of choice*

Mix powders with sweetener, stirring to combine in a large mug. Heat milk in a small saucepan until steaming. With a small whisk, whisk the powder while slowly pouring the milk into the mug to prevent clumps. Enjoy with a roaring wood fire or cuddled up to your favorite creature (human or otherwise).

*I would recommend a dairyesque beverage with some fat in it (like coconut milk). Ashwagandha is best absorbed with the presence of fat, so it’s important to avoid skim milk, rice milk, and other very low fat non-dairy beverages unless adding additional fat to the recipe.

Ashwagandha Ghee

This is a traditional preparation. Like any flavored butter, you can spread it on toast, cook with it, or use it to season vegetables and meats.

  • 1 cup ashwagandha powder
  • 1 cup ghee
  • 1 cup honey

Create a stovetop water bath by placing a medium sized glass bowl inside a large pot with water extending halfway up the side of the bowl. Add ingredients to the glass bowl and heat water over medium heat, stirring to combine as solids melt. Heat for five minutes, being careful not let the mixture boil.

Remove from heat and cool, storing in a clean glass jar.

Sources:

  1. http://www.herbmentor.com/september-october-2014-ashwaganda/
  2.  https://www.juliedaniluk.com/food-facts/ashwagandha-and-thyroid-function.html
  3.  http://www.livingfood101.com/recipes/ashwagandha-smoothie.html
  4. http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/adrenal-fatigue-herbs-zbcz1306.aspx#axzz3GuHNZmhN

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