Drinking regular green tea is a lot like boiling kale and drinking the water. You get some of the nutrients, but most of it goes in the trash. With matcha tea, on the other hand, you consume the whole tea leaves and get all the nutrients. Plus, matcha is more nutrient-dense to begin with.
Amazon<ul><li>5% of the company's profits go to charity </li><li>Packaged in a recyclable glass jar with an aluminum lid</li><li>High-quality Japanese matcha with a less bitter taste</li></ul>
Amazon<ul><li>Tested annually for pesticides and heavy metals like lead</li><li>Smooth mellow flavor with hints of chocolate, leafy greens, and snow peas</li><li>Small batch product made from hand-picked leaves<span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span></li></ul>
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To truly get the most out of life, a person needs to be able to get a good night's sleep, which has led many to wonder if there is anything behind the idea of CBD for sleep improvement.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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According to the National Eczema Foundation, roughly 31.6 million people have some form of eczema. The symptoms of this condition include itchiness, discoloration, and dry skin. In the past, harsh steroidal creams were the gold standard for eczema treatment. But there's got to be a more effective way to heal the skin, right?
Thankfully, we're out of the dark ages and into an all-natural era of skin care. Today, alternative therapies abound, including clinically-tested cannabis ointments and DIY home remedies like oatmeal baths.
1. Anti-inflammatory Diet<p>Reducing inflammation and reversing eczema starts with the food you eat, especially when it comes to atopic dermatitis, which is rooted in an overactive immune system.</p><p>Eat more anti-inflammatory foods like:</p><ul><li>Omega-3 foods: the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28900017" target="_blank">omega-3 fatty acids</a> EPA and DHA are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce inflammation in the gut, joints, brain, and skin. The best natural sources of omega-3s are wild-caught salmon, sardines, and fish oil. </li><li>High-fiber vegetables: produce like artichokes, raw garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, and dense leafy greens feed healthy gut bacteria and reduce intestinal inflammation.</li><li>Probiotics: probiotics are living bacterial cultures that reinforce the gut lining and protect the bloodstream from inflammatory agents.</li><li>Collagen: collagen supplements and bone broth can strengthen the skin matrix and rejuvenate damaged skin cells. It's also a powerful nutrient for healing the gut lining.</li><li>Vitamin A-rich foods: yellow and orange vegetables like carrots are high in vitamin A and are great for skin health.</li></ul><p>Avoid inflammatory foods like:</p><ul><li>Fried foods: canola and safflower oil from deep-fried foods promotes inflammation.</li><li>Sugar: processed sugar feeds unhealthy gut bacteria and promotes inflammation throughout the body.</li><li>Additives: additives in processed foods are known to exacerbate eczema.</li><li>Dairy: products like cheese and milk are difficult to process and tend to promote inflammation, especially in people with autoimmune conditions.</li><li>Gluten: <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29202198" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">removing gluten can improve autoimmune conditions</a> like eczema. </li></ul>
2. Sun Exposure (Phototherapy)<p>Sun exposure and phototherapy are proven to calm inflammation and reduce itching. UVB spectrum light helps the skin fight bacteria, boosts vitamin D production, and may help prevent eczema flares.</p><p>Just 10-15 minutes of sunlight a day may be all it takes to mitigate symptoms and speed healing. One <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19755951" target="_blank">recent study</a> found that 74.4% of patients had complete resolution of eczema symptoms during the sunny summer months.</p>
3. Vitamin D<p>During winter in the Northern hemisphere, you might not have access to sunlight or phototherapy. That's unfortunate, because <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23751100" target="_blank">vitamin D3 deficiency can compromise the immune system</a> and increase the risk of eczema. (5)</p><p>Luckily, you can still reduce the risk of eczema by supplementing with vitamin D.</p><p>Taking 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily can support the skin's natural ability to fight inflammation. Another option is to eat foods that contain vitamin D, like sardines, salmon, and cod liver oil, all of which are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.</p>
4. CBD Ointments and Creams<p>As cannabis and cannabinoid use becomes more common, the broad medicinal benefits of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) have been gaining widespread attention. New research also shows that it may deliver eczema relief to some patients.</p><p>For example, a 2019 publication in the medical journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429381/" target="_blank"><em>Molecules</em></a> confirms that "… cutaneous cannabinoid signaling is deeply involved in the maintenance of skin homeostasis, barrier formation and regeneration, and its dysregulation was implicated to contribute to several highly prevalent diseases and disorders, e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, scleroderma, acne…" </p><p>In other words, the skin contains natural receptor sites for phytocannabinoids like CBD, which at least partially explains its therapeutic potential.</p><p>Another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30993303" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019 study</a> found that topical CBD ointment, without THC, had therapeutic effects in inflammatory skin conditions and cutaneous scars. </p>
5. Therapeutic Oils<p>Moisturizing oils like coconut oil and essential oils like lavender and primrose are proven to reduce symptoms associated with eczema and protect the skin.</p><p>Primrose in particular contains high levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which may account for its <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3890448/" target="_blank">benefits in treating atopic dermatitis</a>. </p><p>At the same time, lavender essential oil may help reduce the mental health conditions associated with eczema. For example, <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/heart-disease-risks-common-in-people-with-eczema" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Harvard Medical School</a> found that people with eczema have higher rates of anxiety and insomnia. They also exercise less and drink more alcohol. </p>
Unfortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't deal with stress on at least a somewhat regular basis. Whether it has to do with money, work, relationships, or something else entirely, stress can take a toll on both our physical and mental wellbeing.
For those who are unable to get a handle on it, it can often result in unhealthy coping mechanisms and behaviors. On top of that, it can lead to detrimental effects on our physical and mental health, like depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and much more.
1. Ashwagandha<p>Ashwagandha is an important player in <a href="https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ayurveda</a>, one of the oldest systems of medicine. While it has been used for thousands of years, it has gained noticeable popularity in western culture in more recent years, particularly due to its ability to reduce stress levels.</p><p>The plant is a small shrub with flowers, and supplements are made from the roots and leaves. <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/health-benefits-of-ashwagandha-2641294107.html" data-linked-post="2641294107" target="_blank">Ashwagandha</a> is classified as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body cope with stress to return to a balanced, well-functioning state.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27055824" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2017 study</a> found that participants who took the supplement were able to reduce their levels of stress by 44% – compared to just 5.5% by the participants who took a placebo.</p><p><a href="https://blog.priceplow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/withania_review.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Another study</a> found that the supplement helped participants lower their cortisol (the stress hormone) levels by up to 30%.</p>
2. Magnesium<p>While people are able to get enough magnesium with a well-balanced diet, many do not eat enough <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15650-magnesium-rich-food" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">magnesium-rich foods</a> (such as spinach, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and black beans) to get the appropriate levels.</p><p>Magnesium is essential for proper nerve and muscle functioning. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509067" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Research</a> has shown that magnesium plays a part in the regulation of stress responses.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23853635" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2012 study</a> also showed that magnesium supplements helped participants get a more restful night's sleep—which is important considering sleep and stress often affect each other.</p>
3. Cannabis<p>CBD is a popular product for fighting stress. While there are a variety of ways you can take CBD, some of the most popular application styles include <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/organic-cbd-oil-2648638251.html" target="_self">CBD tinctures</a>, capsules, and edibles.</p><p>CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for a variety of physiological tasks, including regulating adrenaline and cortisol. When CBD is introduced to the system, it can help to balance out these functions and bring the body to homeostasis, ultimately relieving stress.</p><p>People may choose to take CBD as a treatment when they are experiencing bouts of stress. Those who deal with chronic stress may also choose to take it on a regular basis to help regulate their symptoms and keep stress levels in check.</p>
4. Rhodiola<p>Rhodiola is another popular adaptogen. The <a href="https://nccih.nih.gov/health/rhodiola" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">plant</a> grows in mountainous regions of Europe, Asia, and the Arctic. The root of the plant contains over 140 active ingredients, and is used to create the stress-busting supplement.</p><p>A <a href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ca71/423d0c1c0968bc9a31b107d0f747dbb9d3f7.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2009 study</a> of doctors working night shifts found that rhodiola was helpful for reducing stress and increasing alertness, as well as fighting stress-related fatigue.</p><p>Another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22228617" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2012 study</a> also backs up these findings, showing that stressed-out participants who took the supplement for 4 weeks exhibited improvements in symptoms of stress. These symptoms started improving within 3 days, and continued over the course of the study.</p>
5. Valerian Root<p>Valerian is a perennial plant, and the root has been used for thousands of years in ancient medical systems. It has been dubbed "nature's Valium", and has become a <a href="http://accurateclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Valerian-University-of-Maryland-Medical-Center.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">popular alternative</a> to drugs prescribed for fighting anxiety, stress, nervousness, and insomnia.</p><p>It is believed to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18602406" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increase</a> the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid in the brain – a chemical that helps regulate nerve cells. It has a gentle sedative effect, and therefore it is recommended that people take it at night to help promote a good night's sleep.</p>
6. Vitamin B Complex<p>B complex supplements contain all 8 B vitamins. While these vitamins can be consumed through diet alone, some may not be getting the full spectrum of B vitamins.</p><p>This is especially true of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188422/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">vegetarians and vegans</a>, as B12 is found in meat, seafood, and dairy. B complex vitamins are primarily used to reduce fatigue and boost overall mood.</p><p>One <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885294/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2010 study</a> found that, over a period of 33 days, participants who took the supplement showed improved mental health and stress levels.</p>
In Conclusion<p>Work, money, relationships—all these things cause stress. But there are natural remedies available to help you achieve better internal balance. Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement, especially if you're on other medications. </p>
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1. Support White Blood Cells and Strengthen Immunity<p>Although much about echinacea's effects on the body are not yet fully understood, it clearly supports the function of white blood cells. The herb supports white blood cells in two primary ways:</p><ol><li>Affects macrophages (a type of white blood cell)</li><li>Activates dendritic cells (another type of white blood cell)</li></ol><p>Macrophages are white blood cells that destroy forgeign substances and dead cells in the blood. </p><p>Once activated, they release inflammatory cytokines and recruit other white blood cells to eliminate infections.</p><p>By increasing macrophage activity, echinacea can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10978684" target="_blank">boost natural killer cells</a> in a way that minimizes irritation from inflammation.</p><p>Dendritic cells are white blood cells that help the body recognize foreign molecules. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20149833" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Echinacea may optimize dendritic function</a> and increase the release of immune molecules like IL-1beta and TNF-alpha.</p><p>Plus, it also increases antioxidants and supports cell structure.</p><p>In a 2007 rodent study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17887935" target="_blank"><em>Journal of Medicinal Food</em></a>, mice were treated with echinacea extract for seven days before being immunized with the red blood cells of sheep.</p><p>Researchers found that echinacea effectively increased immune cell populations.</p><p>According to the study's authors, "These findings demonstrate that echinacea is a wide-spectrum immunomodulator that modulates both innate and adaptive immune responses."</p><p>In a similar <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12810361" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rodent trial</a>, echinacea significantly increased total white blood cell counts within the first two weeks of administration.</p>
2. Fight Infection<p>Echinacea can fight viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.</p><p>In a 2014 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24252333" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytomedicine</em></a>, researchers found that the alkamides in echinacea can treat fungal infections by destroying fungal cell walls.</p><p>Other infections that echinacea may be able to treat include:</p><ul><li>Influenza</li><li>Herpes</li><li>Rhinovirus</li><li>Typhoid</li><li>Vaginal yeast infections</li><li>Urinary tract infections </li><li>Syphilis</li><li>Malaria</li><li>Gum disease</li></ul><p>Here's what the research has to say about echinacea's ability to fight infections:</p><ul><li>In a <a href="http://news.uconn.edu/2007/June/rel07056.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">meta-analysis of 14 clinical trials</a>, researchers concluded that echinacea may cut the chance of catching a cold in half.</li><li>On a similar note, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19409931" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2009 laboratory study</a> concluded that echinacea can alleviate respiratory disorders by inhibiting viral growth and cytokine production.</li><li>Similarly, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25784510" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2015 meta-analysis</a> concluded that echinacea may reduce the risk of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections through its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects. </li><li>A 2010 study published in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20036523" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytomedicine</em></a> found that echinacea may exert antibacterial properties against <em>C. difficile</em>, <em>S pyogenes</em>, <em>H. influenzae</em>, and <em>P. acne</em>.</li><li>In a separate <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20731557" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2010 study</a>, researchers determined that echinacea can kill parasites in human cells.</li></ul>
3. Reduce Inflammation<p>Echinacea may also reduce certain types of inflammation. For example, a 2009 laboratory study in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19107735" target="_blank"><em>Phytotherapy Research</em></a> found that echinacea consumption can alleviate inflammation caused by a viral infection.</p><p>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12396300/" target="_blank">2002 study</a>, echinacea extracts can reduce inflammation in rats through oral and topical use.</p><p>Human studies have also been promising. In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14530514" target="_blank">small pilot study</a>, a three-day echinacea treatment effectively reduced inflammation in six patients exhibiting cold and flu symptoms.</p>
4. Support Mental Health<p>Echinacea may reduce anxiety and depression.</p><p>In a 2013 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22451347" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytotherapy Research</em></a>, researchers tested the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) potential of <em>Echinacea angustifolia</em> extract on rats <em>and</em> humans.</p><p>The herb effectively decreased anxiety-related behaviors in rats at doses ranging from 1000 to 3000 mg/kg of body weight.</p><p>At the same time, healthy adults with mild anxiety were given 20-40 mg of echinacea extract once-a-day for a week. The higher dose of 40 mg effectively reduced anxiety after just three days of treatment. The lower 20 mg dose, however, did not have any significant effects on anxiety.</p><p>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4441164/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2015 report</a>, echinacea may achieve its anti-anxiety effects by acting on cannabinoid receptors in the body.</p><p>This same study concluded that echinacea extract may exert antidepressant effects in rats by stimulating L-DOPA (the amino acid precursor to dopamine).</p>
5. Heal the Skin<p><em>Echinacea purpurea</em> cream may protect the skin from oxidative stress and reduce signs of aging by hydrating the skin and reducing wrinkles.</p><p>Here's what the research has to say about echinacea and skin health:</p><ul><li>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20384903" target="_blank">2010 human study</a>, echinacea cream was tested on 10 healthy volunteers aged 25-40 years. After one month of daily treatment, wrinkles decreased between 9.47% and 14.92%. </li><li><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8117383" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Another study</a> found that echinacea can inhibit the breakdown of hyaluronic acid (an important part of skin cells). When hyaluronic acid breaks down, it causes the tissue to loosen and become inflamed. </li><li>According to a study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8824943" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Planta Medica</em></a>, echinacea can protect collagen from free radical damage caused by UVA/UVB radiation. In other words, echinacea may help protect your skin from the sun. </li><li>In a 2011 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20830697" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Phytotherapy Research</em></a>, echinacea reversed inflammation induced by the bacteria <em>P. acnes</em>. </li><li>According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28610718" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2017 study</a>, echinacea may treat atopic eczema. In the study, 49 patients were treated with topical echinacea for three months. Echinacea significantly reduced redness and swelling by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the skin.</li></ul>
6. May Relieve Asthma<p>Echinacea's effects on the immune system may also relieve asthma.</p><p>Recent studies indicate that echinacea preparations can reverse the secretions of asthma-related cytokines in bronchial cells.</p><p>In a 2015 animal study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26364938" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Journal of Ethnopharmacology</em></a>, researchers treated guinea pigs suffering from ovalbumin-induced allergic asthma with an oral echinacea complex for 14 days.</p><p>Echinacea proved to be equally effective at reducing symptoms as the corticosteroid medication budesonide.</p><p>According to the study's authors, "Pharmacodynamic studies have confirmed significant bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory effects of echinacea complex that was similar to effects of classic synthetic drugs. These results provide a scientific basis for the application of this herb in traditional medicine as a supplementary treatment of allergic disorders of the airways, such as asthma."</p>
7. May Reduce Pain<p>Many Native American tribes, including the Lakota, used echinacea as a <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/natural-pain-remedies/" target="_blank">pain remedy</a>.</p><p>It appears to be most effective at reducing pain associated with intestinal issues, herpes, measles, headaches, toothaches, tonsillitis, and sore throats.</p><p>A 2008 study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18258644" target="_blank"><em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em></a> indicates that echinacea extract may influence the perception of pain by inhibiting the TRPV1 receptor: a receptor that's the prime target of many over-the-counter analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs.</p><p><em>E. purpurea</em> extracts seem to have the strongest anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, with <em>E. angustifolia</em> having somewhat less.</p>
Side Effects of Echinacea<p>Although rare, high doses of echinacea may lead to side effects like:</p><ul><li>Dizziness</li><li>Nausea</li><li>Stomach aches</li><li>Rash</li></ul><p>Side effects are more common among people who have seasonal allergies.</p><p>Patients with autoimmune diseases <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16102249" target="_blank">may also be more likely to experience side effects</a>.</p><p>Due to their pharmacological similarities, if you're allergic to chamomile, you may also be allergic to echinacea. </p><p>Because of echinacea's effects on the immune system, it's best to consult a medical professional before taking echinacea if you have a history of systemic diseases like multiple sclerosis, AIDS, or tuberculosis.</p><p>However, for the vast majority of individuals, echinacea products can be a safe and effective way to stimulate the immune system and enhance your health.</p><p>Echinacea is commercially available in several forms, including alcohol tinctures, water-based liquid extracts, teas, tablets, and capsules.</p><p>Always inspect your dietary supplements thoroughly, as many do not disclose which type of echinacea they use. </p><p>For the most part, herbal supplements made from <em>E. purpurea</em> are typically your best bet for potential health and wellness benefits.</p>
In India, practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine refer to ashwagandha as "the strength of the stallion" due to its powerful ability to revive the immune system following illness. But that just scratches the surface of what ashwagandha can do.
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety<p>Some of the strongest clinical evidence is regarding ashwagandha's ability to reduce cortisol production, calm the nervous system, and reduce anxiety.</p><p>In one <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2012 human study</a>, 64 individuals suffering from chronic stress were treated daily with 300 mg of full-spectrum ashwagandha for 60 days. By the end of the trial, researchers concluded that "A high-concentration full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life."</p><p>Impressively, ashwagandha may even be equally as effective as drugs like lorazepam and imipramine at reducing anxiety, only without the side effects.</p><p>In one 12-week <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006628" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">control study</a>, 75 patients were divided into two groups. One received ashwagandha and the other received standard psychotherapy interventions. By the end of the study, participants in the ashwagandha group reported a 55 percent decrease in anxiety compared to a 30.5 percent decrease in the psychotherapy group.</p>
2. Boost Stamina and Endurance<p>Studies show that ashwagandha may increase physical stamina and improve performance in endurance activities.</p><p>For example, in one <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23326093" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2012 Indian study</a>, 40 elite cyclists supplemented with 500mg of ashwagandha root twice daily for eight weeks. According to the study, "There was significant improvement in the experimental group in all parameters, whereas the placebo group did not show any change with respect to their baseline parameters."</p><p>A 2015 double-blind, randomized and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26730141" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">placebo-controlled study</a> arrived at similar results, this time with a 20-minute shuttle run test. The 50 healthy male and female participants significantly increased their V02 max over the 12-week period.</p>Ashwagandha works on mice too—after being treated with crude ashwagandha root powder for seven days, the mice <a href="http://www.phcogres.com/article.asp?issn=0974-8490;year=2018;volume=10;issue=3;spage=250;epage=252;aulast=Raj" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lasted much longer</a> when forced to swim until exhaustion.
3. Treats Depression<p>Ashwagandha may also treat depression. In one <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194174" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recent study,</a> rats treated with an extract of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) exhibited effects similar to the pharmaceutical antidepressant imipramine, as well as anxiolytic effects similar to lorazepam.</p><p>Researchers concluded that ashwagandha is a possible adjunct treatment for stabilizing mood in clinical conditions of depression.</p>
4. Increases Muscle Strength<p>Can ashwagandha make you stronger too? Researchers from a 2015 study in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4658772/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition</a> thinks so.</p><p>Over an eight-week period, 57 healthy adult males were split into an ashwagandha group and a placebo group. The ashwagandha group took 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily. Both groups trained with the same workout routine, including bench press and leg extensions.</p><p>By the end of the study, the ashwagandha group achieved significantly greater increases in muscle size and testosterone. At the same time, they experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage and a greater decrease in body fat percentage than the control group.<br></p>
5. Reduces Joint Pain<p>When it comes to functional strength, joint health is equally important to muscle performance. Besides, fitness is one of the best natural ways to reduce stress and anxiety, so if you're dealing with chronic stress, the last thing you need is to be sidelined by joint pain.</p><p>Studies show that ashwagandha can reduce joint pain, especially in patients with chronic inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA).</p><p>In one <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25857501" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2015 study</a>, 86 patients took 500 mg of ashwagandha powder twice daily for three weeks. Compared to the control group, those treated with ashwagandha reported less pain and swelling.</p><p>Similarly, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052364/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2016 study</a> found a significant reduction in knee joint pain and stiffness among the 60 participants treated with ashwagandha.</p>
6. Enhances Sexual Function and Fertility<p>Ashwagandha may help both men and women improve sexual function and fertility. One study published in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609357/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BioMed Research International</a> determined that the adaptogen can improve lubrication, arousal, and sexual satisfaction in women.</p><p>Ashwagandha may also boost sperm count. A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3863556/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pilot study</a> found that ashwagandha can increase sperm concentrations in men. Participants experienced an increase in sperm count of 167 percent and an enhanced sperm motility of 57 percent.</p><p>Another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501822" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2010 study</a> found that ashwagandha root reduced oxidative stress and increased testosterone and sperm quality in infertile males.</p>
7. Bodyweight Management<p>Studies indicate that ashwagandha root extract, in combination with resistance training, can help with several factors associated with weight loss.</p><p>For example, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871210/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2016 study</a> found this adaptogen reduced food cravings and supported bodyweight management in patients with chronic stress.</p>
8. Supports Cardiovascular Health<p>In animal studies, ashwagandha reduced triglyceride levels, oxidative damage, and blood pressure in rodents with hypertension.</p><p>Plus, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26718711" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2016 study</a> found that ashwagandha supplementation can reduce the risk of secondary strokes in rodents.</p>
9. Adrenal Support<p>Studies show that ashwagandha may help patients overcome <a href="https://www.drlamcoaching.com/blog/benefits-of-ashwagandha-adrenal-fatigue-syndrome/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">adrenal fatigue</a>.</p><p>The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in times of stress. Adrenal fatigue is a symptom of chronic stress, and it occurs when the fight-or-flight system is overly active. If undealt with, this can lead to a decrease in sex hormones and cause infertility.</p><p>But hormones aren't just about reproduction, and they still remain important into your golden years. Luckily, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4543599/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research shows</a> that ashwagandha may improve hormone levels and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5496100/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce symptoms</a> in elderly women with nonclassic 11-hydroxylase deficiency.</p>
10. Balance Blood Sugar<p>Blood sugar is closely tied to the stress response, so it makes sense that ashwagandha may also balance blood sugar levels. When the fight-or-flight system is activated, the blood floods with glucose for fast-acting energy. But in patients with chronic stress, chronically elevated blood glucose can increase the risk of diabetes.</p><p>In one <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11116534" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recent trial</a> of 12 people, ashwagandha significantly reduced blood sugar and serum cholesterol with no adverse side effects.</p><p>Several <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18346053" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">animal studies</a> also indicate that ashwagandha may improve insulin levels and balance long-term blood sugar.</p>
11. Supports Immunity<p>By reducing the body's stress hormones, ashwagandha may reduce inflammation and support immunity.</p><p>For example, in one 2017 animal study published in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407122/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Pharmacogn Mag</a>, ashwagandha suppressed cytokine levels, indicating that it may also be useful in the treatment of inflammatory autoimmune disorders.</p><p>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21619924" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2011 study</a>, the adaptogen also successfully stimulated the immune system by boosting immunoglobulin production.</p>
12. Combats Cancer<p>Studies show that the therapeutic use of withania (ashwagandha) may even kill cancer cells. For example, in two separate <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19504465" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">trial studies</a>, individuals treated with ashwagandha extract experienced an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958829/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increase in white blood cells</a> that fight tumors.</p><p>In laboratory tests, the herb is also proven to reduce or halt tumor growth in several types of cancer, including cervical, breast, colon, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1349-7006.2009.01236.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">brain</a>, kidney, and <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-62703-167-7_47" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">skin cancer</a>.</p><p>At the same time, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23142798" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">human trials</a> demonstrate that ashwagandha may reduce fatigue and improve the quality of life in chemotherapy patients. To top it all off, the anti-stress benefits may help patients cope with the stress of a new diagnosis.</p>
13. Improves Cognitive Function<p>Chronic stress can have widespread negative effects on the nervous system and brain. By reducing stress, ashwagandha may also enhance brain function and guard against degenerative brain disease.</p><p>Ashwagandha contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and protect the neurons. Withaferin A and withanolide D are two naturally occurring steroids found in ashwagandha that improve cognitive function.</p><p>Here's what the studies have to say about ashwagandha's potent neuroprotective effects:</p><ul><li>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295277/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2012 study</a> found that injecting withaferin A and withanolide D into rodents with Alzheimer's reversed behavioral deficits, reduced amyloid beta burden, and decreased plaque buildup.</li><li>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27037574" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2017 study</a> found that the antioxidants in ashwagandha may protect sleep-deprived rats from the damaging effects of sleep deprivation by preventing cell death.</li><li>Another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21369449" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rodent study</a> found that it improved sleep in rats by boosting production of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.</li><li>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28471731" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2017 human study</a> found that ashwagandha may improve working memory in aging adults with mild cognitive impairment.</li><li>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18697606" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2008 study</a> found that ashwagandha helped control epileptic seizures in mice, possibly by modulating the GABAergic system.</li><li>Both a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23430469" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2013</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19666100" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2009</a> rodent study found that ashwagandha may normalize dopamine activity and reduce oxidative damage in subjects with Parkinson's disease.</li></ul><p>But ashwagandha's neuroprotective benefits don't stop there. It also may be useful in the treatment of schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), opioid withdrawals, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213967/" target="_blank">may even promote longevity</a>.</p>
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According to a 2017 report published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, you shouldn't drink more 300-400 mg of caffeine a day. In other words, roughly 2-4 cups of coffee.
With that said, everyone responds to caffeine differently. For some, a daily caffeine intake of 200 mg could be excessive—it all depends on your unique body chemistry. But how can you tell how much caffeine is too much?
Finding Your Ideal Caffeine Dose<p>Regardless of age, weight, and caffeine source, some people are just more sensitive to caffeine than others. In fact, a sip or two of coffee can make some people jittery, anxious, and dizzy. Recommended doses are just rough guidelines at best, but they by no means apply to everyone. To find your ideal caffeine dose, you'll have to experiment with different caffeine sources and gradually increase your dose until you achieve the desired effects.</p>
Drink Slowly<p>With stimulants like caffeine, timing is everything. In other words, having one cup of coffee every four hours is much different than one cup of coffee every 45 minutes. Caffeine stays in your system for 4-6 hours, so consuming multiple drinks within this timeframe can have compounding effects.</p>
Consider Your Body Weight<p>Some studies recommend that you don't drink more than 6 mg per kg of bodyweight. According to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12519715" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one recent study</a>, "[This amount] is not associated with negative effects of caffeine such as general toxicity, cardiovascular effects, effects on bone status and calcium balance (with consumption of adequate calcium), changes in adult behaviour, increased incidence of cancer and effects on male fertility."</p>
Consider the Time of Day<p>Given that caffeine can remain in your system for four to six hours, it's important not to drink it too late in the day. In fact, drinking just one cup of coffee or tea too close to bedtime may make it hard to sleep. </p><p>A 2013 study published in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805807/" target="_blank"><em>The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine</em></a> found that, "Caffeine taken 6 hours before bedtime has important disruptive effects on sleep and provides empirical support for sleep hygiene recommendations to refrain from substantial caffeine use for a minimum of 6 hours prior to bedtime."</p>
Take Caffeine with Energizing Foods<p>In order to help minimize the risk of caffeine overdose and maximize productivity, it's best to rely on healthy foods as your primary energy source. Caffeine can be great for a quick pick-me up, but nutritional foods should serve as your foundation.</p><p>For example, wild-caught salmon and sardines are packed with energizing omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats provide slow-burning energy, fight inflammation, and boost cognitive performance. A 2014 study published in the journal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24470182" target="_blank"><em>Human Psychopharmacology</em></a> found that omega-3s can boost brain performance in young adults. At the same time, a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26890759" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2016 study</a> found that omega-3 supplementation can improve memory in older adults.</p><p>Other foods that may boost productivity include:</p><ul><li>Broccoli</li><li>Beets </li><li>Eggs</li><li>Almonds</li><li>Dark chocolate</li></ul><p>Dark chocolate is caffeinated, but it's also an incredible source of magnesium, a mineral that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20152124" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">studies show</a> can enhance learning and memory while reducing anxiety. Plus, chocolate contains minimal caffeine and is unlikely to contribute to caffeine overdose. </p>
Final Thoughts<p>Follow these guidelines for drinking caffeine:</p><ul><li>Drink at most 2-4 cups of coffee daily. </li><li>If you feel like you still need more caffeine, drink tea instead. </li><li>Stop drinking caffeine within six hours before bedtime. </li><li>Don't drink more than two caffeinated beverages within a 4-6 hour period. </li><li>Use healthy food as your primary energy source and caffeine as an extra pick-me-up.</li></ul><p>Excessive caffeine drinking can trigger undesirable side effects, including anxiety and confusion. However, moderate intake of coffee and tea can be an effective way to boost energy and increase productivity.</p>
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