Last Saturday I went out for a friend’s birthday, and it was became very obvious that I was no longer a spring chicken. Gone are the days where I can stay out late and feel fine the next day. Instead I scorned the fact I slept through what would have been my morning yoga class and felt drain the whole day. But I have been feeling delicate lately. With the cool weather, I have already resorted to breaking out my winter Pajars. And despite it still being September, I am literally shaking in my boots.
This is due to it being a Vata time of year, and I have been feeling Vata and depleted as this season of change, movement, wind and cold accumulates air and space energy. This shift in weather brings with it the influences of energetic unrest, and this promotes insomnia, irregular digestion, dehydration and a feeling of fatigue.
And while I can do warming and nourishing things for my body – such as take warm baths, oiling my skin and eating heavy, moist foods – I think its always good to bolster my resilience with some traditional tried and true remedies. One of Ayurveda’s most common Vata pacifying herbs is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful nutritive supplements, and is what Ayurveda calls a “rasayana”, which is a group of remedies that help regeneration and rejuvenation. Rasayanas are used after detoxification or surgery to help restore our tissues after invasion, and hone our energy.
Being a rasayana, Ashwagandha is used to combat muscle and bone wasting as well as degeneration. I first started taking Ashwagandha capsules when coming off of veganism and losing so much muscle tissue. Because it helps with tissue regeneration, it also supports our skin tissue, decreasing dryness and the appearance of fine lines. It is known to be anti-aging and also helps those of us with Vata-excess prevent the thinning of our skin. Part of this is because Ashwagandha helps calm the nervous system and our ability to cope with stress. This allows our bodies to rest and strengthen so we can self-restore.
This herb is also excellent for supporting our kidneys – which are often considered the integral to our energetic essence in Eastern medicine. The kidneys have a close relationship to out adrenals which secrete adrenaline (influencing how our body deals with stress), and they also dictate water-metabolism in the body. When the kidneys are weak, we also feel weak, we become prone to water-retention, and our skin and bodies dehydrate.
Ashwaghandha is said to be effective for increasing virility, aiding male impotence and premature ejaculation (Vata-excess symptoms). And, it is also known to be a good supplement for seniors/ the elderly (for its fortifying properties). While the premature ejaculation benefits don’t apply to me much, so often I feel I could use a bit of help on the fortifying front. This season is a bridging season – a joint in time if you may. While our skin and bodies cope with the stress of adjusting to this change, we can support ourselves just a little bit with rasayanas such as Ashwagandha.