Stressed? Eat ashwagandha. Heart problems? Eat ashwagandha. For years ashwagandha has been at the core of ayurvedic medicine, but the benefits don’t end there. Ashwagandha is now being recognised for its potential to enhance our skincare routines. With its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to boost collagen production, ashwagandha is quickly becoming a go-to ingredient... So, if you're looking for a natural way to take care of your skin while keeping up with the demands of daily life, consider adding ashwagandha to your beauty routine.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known as winter cherry, is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa. It has been long known in ayurvedic medicine to reduce stress levels, boost immune systems, and promote overall well-being. It’s an ‘adaptogenic’ herb, which means that it helps the body to adapt to stress and other conditions. You find Ashwagandha in a number of health-related products, including powder, supplements, teas, etc.
Ashwagandha has a long history in ayurvedic medicine, dating back to its early usage around 6,000 years ago. Its root is the most commonly used part of the plant and is known for being a tonic, aphrodisiac, stimulant, and, in some cases, a narcotic. As rasanya (which it was used as in history), it’s known to build tissue vitality. This means it promotes the well-being of cells in our body. In many cases, it has been known to be an unconventional method to help people deal with issues. Aside from its name in India, it has also been used in various folk cultures across Asia and Africa, also touching homoeopathy. In Greece and the Middle East, this herb was used to help infertility, treat ageing and stress.
While you may already know of the health benefits of the plant. What has changed is the newly discovered importance of it in the beauty industry, and there are a few reasons why.
- The most obvious, it reduces inflammation. Probably the most common usage of ashwagandha would be its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s not clear which part of the plant helps in this, but a combination of various compounds from the plant helps reduce chronic inflammation.
- As we said earlier, it improves tissue vitality, which improves cell health, including skin cell health. And healthy skin cells means a natural glow on the skin.
- There are compounds called ‘withanolides’ in ashwagandha that protect the skin from UV rays and damage. It reduces oxidative stress and captures free radicals (which cause the damage).
- The roots of the plant have steroidal lactones that have hydrating effects on the skin. It also helps in maintaining the skin’s hydration barrier and is rich in ceramides (made from protein, fats and lipids), which is a type of lipid essential to youthful skin.
- And, above all, ashwagandha has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralise free radicals (unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells, including skin cells), and ingredients that have antioxidant properties aid collagen (a protein that gives skin its structure and elasticity) production.
With that covered, here are our picks for the best ashwagandha buys.
Forest Essentials Soundarya Radiance Cream
A front-runner in ayurvedic skincare, this one from the brand we have all grown to love and trust is enrinched with ashwagandha and delivers the promised protection from collagen depletion, fine line control, plumpness, and natural lift. You cannot go wrong with this at all.
82°E Ashwagandha Bounce Moisturiser
The first in Deepika Padukone's line of skincare, this one is a definite favourite. A clean, light moisturiser with the benefits of the hero ingredient it promises, this one has been on our beauty cabinets ever since its launch,
Kapiva Ashwagandha Anti Ageing Oil
We love a good face oil, and this from another beloved ayurveda-led brand is a must have all year round, and yes it absolutely delivers.