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Ageing gracefully with Ashwagandha/Withania

By Nadia McMorran

There are many natural remedies that you can include in your supplement or skincare regime to support and slow down the ageing process, with withania, also known as ashwagandha, being one of the best.

Ashwagandha and withania are two names for the same herb – Withania somnifera is the Latin name which is used and understood worldwide. Ashwagandha is the Sanskrit (ancient language) name of the herb and is more commonly referred to as this. It is native to India, North Africa and the Middle East.

Withania contains high levels of antioxidants, which help with ageing by fighting free radicals and oxidation within the body. This then helps to reduce those first signs of wrinkles, skin pigmentation, blemishes and fine lines. It also helps to stimulate the production of collagen (which enhances the elasticity of the skin), increases the natural protective oils in the skin and helps to moisturise and keep your skin hydrated.

Properties contained in withania also support reduced anxiety and stress levels within the body and mind, which also has a dramatic impact on the ageing process. High levels of cortisol (long term or chronic stress hormones) have been shown to accelerate ageing. It will also help you to get adequate, good quality sleep and leave you feeling fresh and well rested in the morning.

Because withania promotes the production of melanin, it can also prevent the premature greying of hair. It also strengthens the follicles, helping to prevent hair loss and can even help hair to grow back.

Always remember that ageing isn’t just about how you look on the outside – all of your internal organs and muscles are also ageing, so taking care the inside is just as important as taking care of your skin and hair.

While withania is usually taken internally, you can apply it topically by making a gentle face mask or cleanser with the powder – used regularly this can reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation as well as being antibacterial to prevent and treat acne and leave you with glowing skin. It also has healing properties and can support the treatment of cuts or skin infections.

To make a face mask with withania, simply mix the powder with a little water to make a paste, apply to the face and allow to dry before gently removing with a face cloth. Other ingredients you could include for additional benefits are raw honey, coconut oil, aloe vera, chamomile or bentonite clay.

Adding withania into your daily or weekly routine, in both supplement form and topically is a great way to slow down the ageing process on both the inside and outside of your body, with plenty of other positive benefits as well.