Ashwagandha, a root that’s been around hundreds of years and has a long list of health benefits, is now getting its time in the limelight.

By Ananda Eidelstein
Updated February 26, 2018

We’ve grown to know and love turmeric for its health benefits, but there’s a new root in town you should know about: Ashwagandha. It’s been around for hundreds of years for its medicinal purposes and it’s been used to treat an array of conditions, but it's just now taking the stage as a big wellness trend. At the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference this past weekend, Yarden Horwitz, a trendspotting executive from Google shared that, according to rising search trends, Ashwagandha is expected to be the next big ingredient in the food industry. But what exactly is it?

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, like its name suggests, it’s a natural substance that aids the body in adapting to stressors with hormone-balancing benefits. The name itself describes the smell of the root, like a horse. And indeed it does have quite the earthy notes when taken in liquid drops. It’s considered one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine and one that helps to maintain both mental and physical wellness.

This adaptogen happens to also be an antioxidant and can lower cortisol (your body’s stress hormone) levels and calm your nerves. Historically, the roots of this evergreen shrub have been used to treat arthritis, insomnia, skin conditions, stress, gastrointestinal issues, among others. Ashwagandha could have a calming effect on anxiety symptoms, as well as act as a pain reliever by preventing pain signals from being sent in the nervous system due to arthritis. A few studies conducted with animals found that it might be able to stop cell growth in certain cancers, too. It doesn’t stop there, ashwagandha can support thyroid hormones, provide a boost to the immune system after an illness, and help with brain fog.

Personally, I’ve been a fan of this root for the noticeable increase in energy. I prefer to take it in liquid extract form as its super easy to drop in water, and as long as I keep the little bottle in my bag I have access to it whenever.

Ashwagandha can be found in health food or supplement stores and bought in capsules, powders, or in liquid extract form. Of course, always consult with a doctor and avoid if pregnant or possibly if there’s a sensitivity to nightshades.

We were so glad to hear at the IACP conference that this root is gaining ground. If you want to learn more about IACP or becoming a member, check them out on their website.