It may be often mentioned in modern wellness conversations today, but Ashwagandha has roots that go back centuries upon centuries. A perennial shrub plant native to India, Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that sometimes goes by the names of Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry.
Well over 5000 years ago, the ancient science of medicine—Ayurveda—was born, unveiling a well of profound lifestyle practices and tactics that help to prevent disease and to return one to balance. Cooking with fresh vital foods, incorporating ritualistic self-massage, and honoring one’s emotional health are several of the many principles that anchor Ayurveda and continue to thrive today.
Herbs, herbal formulas, and adaptogens are another fundamental aspect of Ayurveda. In India, the earliest practitioners began untapping the wisdom of plants and various earth substances. They recognized the wellness potential and healing energy found in botanicals and began cultivating and incorporating them into their routines by grounding them fresh to be taken orally, adding them to carrier oils to be applied topically, and also honoring the plant essences to be used as aromatherapy. “The pharmacology of Ayurveda is a vast science including thousands of medicines, many of them herbal preparations,” writes Dr. Vasant Lad. Each of these herbs have their “own intelligence.” They can ease aggravated dosha, support detoxification and rejuvenation, and stimulate certain systems in the body.
Today, many are taking notice of these herbs, herbal formulations, and other natural substances for their star-performing wellness benefits. Ayurveda has an array of options to choose from. Some are blends of several fruits or plants and are taken as rasayanas, a general wellness-promoting tonic. Some are adaptogens, meaning their function adjusts according to the specific needs of the body, for which research is steadily growing. And others are non-plant earth substances, such as vegetable asphalts and metals. The well of healing potential is as full as it is eclectic.