Ask Jean: What’s the Deal
Dear Jean, I read a lot about adaptogens on goop. What is ashwagandha and what do I use it for?—Ashley L.
Dear Ashley, My women’s health practitioner told me to start taking ashwagandha when my out-of-whack hormones weren’t responding even to drugs. Like many adaptogens, ashwagandha can help with a number of different conditions, because they’re more about supporting the body systems overall, rather than fixing specific symptoms. I was skeptical—until I met the glowing co-proprietresses of Botanic Bazaar in Amagansett, who practically vibrates with health and happiness (yes, beauty convinced me where medical experts did not). On the shelves next to the goop skincare was a Sun Potion section; I snapped up a tub of powdered ashwaganda and a bag of tocos (“Put it in your coffee, it makes anything creamier and it’s full of vitamin E,” they enthused) for good measure.
Ashwagandha tastes terrible, as it turns out, and I am the lone non-smoothie-loving gooper, so I devised a morning cereal that deliciously masks the bitterness: oats, seeds, and nuts, plus ashwagandha, cinnamon, salt, tocos, and berries, bound together with a little kefir. It is delicious hot (I use coconut milk instead of kefir if I’m doing hot) or cold, and checks every nutritional box I can think of, from protein to probiotics.
It took less than a month for the hormones to fall significantly more in line; it was summer, my favorite season, so the much-less-stressed-ness I felt might well have been the warm air, but I did notice it, regardless.
The crazy thing, though, was the fall: I suffer from serious seasonal allergies, which invariably lead to nasty sinus and ear infections. I head them off, though, fairly effectively, by dousing my nasal passages regularly with salt water and some daily Flonase. Fall usually involves at least a full month of Flonase; this fall, for the first time in many years, involved…none.
People always slam supplement-purveyors for selling hope in a jar; I certainly can’t promise that any of my results came directly from the ashwagandha—but I’m pretty sure they didn’t come from the countless unhealthy foods I probably ate during the same time period, and few people fault those purveyors for selling refined white flour, sugar, antibiotics, pesticides…Anyway.
Try it, don’t try it; I’m ordering more.
Sun Potion Ashwagandhagoop, $36
This organic cold-water extract powder of the ashwagandha root is an excellent tonic for immune health, sexual vitality, and harmonized mood. Add 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) to warm water or tea. An excellent addition to milk potions, elixirs, smoothies, raw chocolate, and more.