ashwagandha for sleep and stress

Ashwagandha for Stress

How can you use ashwagandha for stress and sleep?

Ashwagandha falls into the category of an adaptogen. Adaptogens are plants (such as ginseng) that have been researched extensively on how they can help us cope with stressful times.

Adaptogenic plants support our immune system to keep us healthy and reduce the impacts of stress on our bodies.

Ashwagandha is one of my favourite adaptogens. This herb is calming (without being sedating) and rebuilds our vital energy to help us cope with our crazy lives!

Ashwagandha's botanical name is Withania somnifera. Somnifera comes from the Latin meaning sleep inducing. So from the name we know it will be good for sleep and it is! I love Ashwagandha to help promote a dreamy, deep, unbroken sleep.

It is particularly helpful if you cannot sleep because of anxiety. Ashwagandha calms the mind and is highly restorative so I find it very effective for depleted or anxious people.

Other benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has many other therapeutic uses such as:

  • Ashwagandha is high in iron. Traditionally it was mixed with molasses and milk to relieve iron-deficient anaemia.
  • Studies have also shown its ability to stimulate the thyroid so it's often used for hypothyroidism.
  • Ashwagandha can support the muscles and joints. It can be helpful for arthritis, restless legs, neck and back pain.
  • It is a traditional rasayana or tonic in Ayurvedic medicine which means it has life prolonging properties. The name Ashwagndha means 'Smell of a horse' and is reputed to give the strength and stamina of a stallion!

How to use Ashwagandha for Stress and Sleep

The root is traditionally used in medicine and I love buying the powdered form of the root so I can add it to smoothies, soups and drinks as well.

My favourite way to enjoy Ashwagandha is in a hot drink called Moon Milk.

This drink is wonderfully relaxing, warming and comforting especially at night time. Nutmeg also promotes sleep so combines well with Ashwagandha. The powder is slightly bitter so would recommend adding a little honey or dates to sweeten!

You can try this recipe to make your own Moon Milk before bedtime to promote a deep sleep.

Recipe:

  • 250ml milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp. of cashew nuts
  • 2 teaspoons of Ashwagandha root powder
  • Small pinch of ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and nutmeg powder
  • Honey or dates (sweeten to taste)

Method:

  • Blend all the ingredients until creamy then heat gently and enjoy.

You can adapt this using the spices or nuts that you love to create your own version!

 


roasted bone broth recipe

Roasted Bone Broth Recipe

Roasted Bone Broth Recipe

Here is roasted bone broth recipe using beef. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline.

As the bones cook slowly in water minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water.  Adding organic cider vinegar to the water to make it slightly acidic will help.

Bone Broth Benefits

Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals in a form easily absorbed by the body.   Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are thought to help repair joints in those with arthritis and joint pain.  Bone broths are often rich in gelatin. Gelatin is an inexpensive source of supplementary protein.  Gelatin also shows promise in the fight against degenerative joint disease.  It helps to repair connective tissue will strengthen new growth of your fingernails and hair.

Ingredients:

  • beef bones and bone marrow
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • tomato paste
  • 4 carrots cut into bigger pieces
  • 2  leeks cut into bigger pieces
  • 2 onions cut into bigger pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • couple black pepper corns
  • salt
  • juniper berries
  • star anise
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • parsley

You can experiment with different herbs and vegetables perhaps adding turmeric and spices or seaweeds. You can also throw your vegetable peelings in to the pan to prevent food waste and get the benefits out of nutritious potato or onion skins!

Instructions

  • Start with rinsing the bones in cold water, smear some tomato paste on all the bones and place them into a large pan.
  • Cook them in the oven on low heat circa 200ºC for 2 hours.
  • After that place them into a large pot, cover with water and slowly bring to boil.
  • The secret to making a good bone broth is cooking it a low temperature for a long time and not letting it boil for too long as in this way you will get the best flavour out of the ingredients.
  • Once the water is boiling,  add all vegetables, apple cider vinegar and herbs to allow enough time to extract flavours from the ingredients.
  • The ideal cooking time is around 24h so you may want to use a slow cooker instead of a pan which can cook safely and continuously whilst you carry on your daily life.
  • After 24 hours your broth is ready!
  • Strain the liquid through a colander (or cheese cloth which will help improve clarity of broth) and consume!

Additional tips

  • I personally don't do this but for a clear, non greasy broth then skim the surface of the broth continuously with a ladle so that your broth is as clear as possible without any impurities and excess fat. 
  • The best part of the marrow bones is the marrow inside the bones which you can scoop out with a spoon and eat with your soup where a lot of nutrients is preserved, so make sure you put it into your broth or soup.
  • You can chop some vegetables and simmer for few more minutes until tender and add some meat to make a really filling beef soup.
  • If you don’t consume your broth immediately, you can cool and placing it into a container and storing it in a fridge or freezer.
  • You can make ice cubes with the broth so you have stock cubes ready to use for cooking.
  • The cold broth will have gelatinous texture so don’t be alarmed by it.
  • You can add your broth to soups and sauces, cook grains in it or heat it up and drink it from a mug.