Ashwagandha: a botanical profile

Each season, we’ll be featuring a botanical highlight, which will explore the plants we use in our Leaf People products and explain their specific benefits from an herbalist’s perspective. Over the past decade, many of these botanicals have migrated from fringe culture into mainstream awareness; however, the conversation around them is often vague or over-generalized. Alternatively, we hope to use this space to unpack the actual properties of these plants and dive into how they truly interact with our skin. In our first botanical profile, we delve into the dynamic uses of ashwagandha–the buzzy stressbuster that’s made its way in everything from adaptogenic chocolates to Goop staff picks. This plant, however, is an ancient remedy with an extensive history of uses across the globe. It’s not a new superfood, but rather one whose benefits have been proven through generations of use. 

Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera, is an anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic and antioxidant-rich herb whose healing properties are even more potent than those of green tea. Adaptogens promote our bodies’ innate ability to regulate and establish homeostasis. We, therefore, incorporate ashwagandha in our Rose Line for its calming abilities, which can be excellent for reducing redness and irritation in the skin, as well as supporting cellular health. The herb has a revitalizing impact on the skin cells, as it increases circulation and functions as a natural “dispersing agent” in the formula to assist the other ingredients in passing through the skin cells. 

The super herb is considered chondroprotective, which helps stimulate the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. When we look at collagen in the skin, we want it to remain flexible (when it weakens, that’s when wrinkles form). Ashwagandha helps protect skin hydration and elasticity, and it’s excellent in supporting wound healing. It can repair various forms of damage in the skin, be it windburn, sunburn, dryness or microcracking. Through its balancing nature, ashwagandha supports our skin cells in living out their natural life span; skin cells turnover every month, but if they’re imbalanced, they can often die off early or live too long in a state of stagnation (no longer picking up nutrients, which can result in a dull, lifeless look). Plants like ashwagandha can help support our cells find stasis in their correct lifespan, so they can turn over each month. 

In our products, we solely use certified organic Ashwagandha root, as this is where the flavonoids (healing benefits) live. Experience the powers of this ancient herb in our Luminous Face Scrub, Transform Serum and Rose Toner

 

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