Ashwagandha For Adrenal Health: What You Need To Know
Adrenal fatigue can be a terrifying phrase, even for the healthiest person. This complicated condition can cause to months of fatigue, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and disconcerting physical symptoms like hair loss. Adrenal fatigue is believed to be caused by a dip in cortisol, which equates to an overall feeling of burnout that’s difficult to overcome.
Chiropractor James Wilson first introduced the term adrenal fatigue in the late ‘90s, and theorized that it develops when the sufferer experiences prolonged periods of stress, exhaustion, and anxiety. In a culture that glorifies the 24/7 hustle, it’s no surprise that more and more people claim to be experiencing adrenal fatigue.
The condition is tough to diagnose – for starters, the symptoms of adrenal fatigue can be attributed to many other types of health issues. This makes it hard at first to pinpoint just what could be causing your discomfort. Once you reach a point of knowing what your symptoms might mean, it can still be hard to find a doctor who will diagnose adrenal fatigue, as many doctors aren’t yet convinced that it exists. Since the condition is characterized by malaise, trouble concentrating, and feelings of hopelessness, this can make the diagnosis process extra emotionally taxing.
Adrenal fatigue often strikes after a continued stretch of burning the candle at both ends in your life. If you’ve ever feared burnout or worried that you’re pushing yourself too hard, it’s important to have adrenal fatigue on your radar.
If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue and trying to heal, there’s a great solution out there: ashwagandha. But before we dive into what it is and how it helps, let’s break down the finer details of adrenal health.
What are the adrenal glands anyway?
Your adrenal glands are two small glands on top of your kidneys. They’re divided into two sections, the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla. Each section creates vital hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and aldosterone.
Cortisol is sometimes known as the “stress hormone,” and your body can pump too much of into your system when you’re stressed out. Adrenaline, of course, is sometimes called the “fight or flight” hormone, and it initiates that famous beyond-the-mind response mechanism we can experience under times of extreme duress. With both of these hormones coming from the adrenal glands, it’s easy to see why the glands are so heavily associated with symptoms of burnout.
Signs that you might have adrenal fatigue:
As we’ve mentioned, adrenal fatigue can be hard to diagnose at first. The symptoms can be vague and are associated with many other illnesses and conditions. Below are a few potential adrenal fatigue symptoms you might experience:
- Weight Loss Or Weight Gain
- Feeling On Edge or Like Your “Nerves Are Fried”
- Feeling Inexplicably Sad Or Depressed
- Hair Loss
- Brain Fog
- Difficulty Focusing For Long Periods Of Time
- Changes In Appetite
- Cravings For Salty Foods
- Heart Palpitations
- A Short Temper
A few other common adrenal issues to be aware of
If you’re concerned about your adrenal health, it’s beneficial to be aware of several other potential adrenal issues as well. Some could be caused by genetics, some by changes in medications, and some by other factors like infections.
Below are a few that doctors commonly consider or diagnose.
This issue develops when the adrenal glands don’t create enough of the cortisol or aldosterone that your system needs. This can cause symptoms like low blood pressure, salt cravings, weight loss, darkening skin, tiredness, and weight changes.
Cushing’s syndrome develops when your adrenal glands produce too much cortisol.
Nodules can develop on the adrenal glands which can then cause them to release too many hormones into your system, and can sometimes be cancerous.
Herbs Can Help Heal Your Adrenals
If you’ve eliminated other adrenal issues and have concluded that what you’re suffering from is adrenal fatigue, don’t despair – there’s hope. Herbs date very far back, and have been used by humans and animals for centuries. These natural healers can kick up your health to a higher notch, and should be respected as the powerful and potent tools that they are.
When herbs are used to help soothe a hormonal imbalance, they generally attack every ailment caused by a hormone imbalance rather than one specific symptom. If you have a cortisol imbalance thanks to adrenal fatigue, herbs will likely work their “magic” on just about every cortisol imbalance symptom you’re experiencing. In the case of adrenal fatigue, this could mean improvement on a whole host of issues. When it comes to adrenal fatigue, one of the most beneficial herbs of all is ashwagandha.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic (stress-relieving) herb that comes from a shrub that grows in from India and North Africa. Ashwagandha has historically been used in Ayurvedic practices and is known for its calming properties. Some people believe that ashwagandha might reduce the cortisol in our systems, which can be a breath of fresh air for our stress levels.
How can ashwagandha help?
Ashwagandha is an excellent option for easing some of the most notorious symptoms of adrenal fatigue: exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. For some people, adrenal fatigue manifests as a constant need to sleep, but for others, it shows up as feeling exhausted but being unable to actually nod off at night. Ashwagandha is an excellent option for this, as it’s been used as a sleep aid historically. It’s also a great option for when you’re feeling like sadness or anxiety caused by the adrenal fatigue is getting you down.
Other solutions of Ashwagandha
In addition to soothing some adrenal fatigue symptoms, ashwagandha can lower blood sugar levels and sharpen your brain’s focusing capabilities. It might also help to prevent cancer and may even help strengthen your muscles. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years.
Other Herbs That Can Help Your Adrenal Fatigue
If you’re excited about herbs as a potential healing option, you might want to consider some of these other effective herbs as well. (Be sure to check with a professional if you have any concerns about which herbs can be combined!)
Rhodiola is a powerful herbal adaptogen that can make great strides in managing the anxiety and irritability that come along with adrenal fatigue. Rhodiola can help stabilize the cortisol and nitric oxide in your body, and might even help treat mild depression. It’s also a great boost to your immune system, so it’s really a top-notch option for adrenal fatigue symptom management.
If your adrenal fatigue makes it tough for you to sleep at night or makes your nerves feel high-strung, chamomile can come to the rescue. A nice cup of chamomile tea before bed can soothe you for a solid night’s sleep.
This well-known herb is a great addition to your adrenal fatigue management toolkit. Gingko is thought to lower your glucose levels in time of overwhelm. It can also improve your focus and memory, which is important for managing the brain fog that can accompany adrenal fatigue.
Keep Calm, Carry On, And Stock Up On Ashwagandha
Healing from adrenal fatigue can be a slow process, but it doesn’t have to be an awful experience. Adding Ashwagandha to your routine can help soothe your symptoms while you do the long work of resting up and allowing your adrenals to replenish themselves. Take things one day at a time, and you’ll be feeling better before you know it.