Legend has it that famed Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León set sail not just to survey the New World, but to seek out the fabled “Fountain of Youth.” This was a mystical water source that primordial folklore promised could cure a man of all his ailments and keep him looking and feeling young forever if he simply sipped a splash of its crystal-clear deluge.
Ponce de León and his crew traveled to what we now know as Florida in search of this panacea. However, he was only to discover (with much disappointment), that this land of palm trees, sunshine, and year-round warmth provided no such elixir from any of its natural springs.
Like any famous tale, there’s probably more myth to the legend of Ponce de León’s excursion than actual fact. But historical records do show that almost all civilizations (both past and present) have revered the idea that somewhere out there is a cure-all for human conditions.
Whether it be miracle waters or some kind of “magic” herb… it is just waiting to be discovered by a brave and adventurous soul seeking it out for the benefit of humanity.
It’s a hopeful thought that, again, seems to be more the subject matter of an imaginative fantasy novel than the real world in which you and I live.
But what if I told you that a “Fountain of Youth”-type elixir does, in fact, exist?
Long prized as a life-extending “miracle” herb in Ayurvedic medicine, the plant I’m about to cover is arguably one of the most comprehensive healing substances known to man. And, I’m excited to share with you its many scientifically-proven health benefits.
Withania somnifera: An Adaptogenic, Rejuvenating Herb of the Highest Order
Known more commonly as ashwagandha or Indian ginseng, withania somniferahas long held a prominent place in Ayurvedic medicine. Its use dates at least as far back as 4,000 B.C.
The traditional Indian approach to healing involved using ashwagandha as a “Rasayana.” In Sanskrit this literally means “that which negates old age and disease.” The life essence, so to speak, of Ayurveda, and one of functional medicine’s most precious herbs.
The prefix “ashwa” translates as “horse,” the implication being that consuming this herb gives one the power of a horse. Ashwagandha’s many benefits include its narcotic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, astringent, stimulant, thermogenic, and tonic properties. It also has benefits of adaptogenic nature. Adaptogens, in case you weren’t aware, are herbs that modulate the body’s stress response, adjusting hormones and other substances either up or down depending on what the body needs.
The stress hormone cortisol, for instance, can cause all sorts of health problems when left unchecked. Think irritability, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. The ashwagandha plant has the ability to normalize cortisol levels and protect the body from harm.
Ashwagandha is also powerfully rejuvenating, helping to energize the body, strengthen immunity, and balance hormone levels. All of these have the effect of making a person look and feel younger.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
More than 200 studies reinforce the many known health benefits of ashwagandha. These include:
- Increased stamina and endurance
- Improved thyroid and adrenal gland function
- Reduced stress and fatigue
- Protection against gastric ulcers
- Enhanced memory and cognition
- Protection against neurological disease and neurodegeneration
- Increased mitochondrial function and energy levels
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects
- Anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects
- Improved immunity
- Boosted athletic performance
- Better sleep and decreased anxiety
- Central nervous system support
As you can see, the uniquely adaptogenic nature of ashwagandha makes it a potent remedy for nearly every facet of health that needs correcting or balancing.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs and other therapeutic substances that directly alter a specific cellular function or gene expression in order to address a particular set of symptoms, ashwagandha helps the body to self-adapt. It does this in order to facilitate proper rest, energy production, metabolic function, hormone modulation and various other functions.