News Archives - Vitanova

RESPECT — Supporting free and exceptional education to break the poverty cycle in San Francisco’s highest at-risk neighborhoods.

Vitanova gives 10 percent of all proceeds to the preservation of botanical wisdom and to organizations that provide real hope and change in the world.

OnePurpose School is creating a free and exceptional public charter school in the

Bayview Area of San Francisco that will provide an innovative education to the city’s highest-poverty neighborhoods, and an essential step to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Vitanova has joined with Oracle and Sensato Investors, amongst others, to support this incredible local organization, OnePurpose School.

Vitanova CEO Kamal El-Wattar expressed his vision. “We are excited to be part of supporting our local community through OnePurpose School. They will provide a holistic approach to education by providing the child and their family with services such as organic food and after-school care and counseling, which leads to success in their endeavors.”

Why is this program important to Vitanova?
Currently, demography equals destiny in the U.S. If you start out in poverty, you are almost certain to end up in poverty. The best way to break the cycle of poverty is education, specifically a college degree.

OnePurpose School is committed to supporting low-income children on their road to college graduation. It helps the individual child, their parents and siblings—and, critically, their future children—beat the cycle of poverty.

OnePurpose School believes every child can thrive in an environment that supports curiosity, effort and engagement. Students who are supported at home and in their community do better, achieve more and are happier at school, which leads them on the path to success in life.

You can donate to OnePurpose School here and learn more about how Vitanova pays it forward here.

with RESPECT, dignity is restored

At Vitanova®, it is our respect for the planet and its people that shapes our actions. Vitanova proudly supports and sponsors several organizations designed to create real, positive change in the world and announces its support of Numi Organic Tea Impact programs, which includes H2OPE Madagascar, H2OPE Assam, and the Water Crisis.

Vitanova pays it forward by donating 10 percent of proceeds to preserve botanical wisdom and knowledge within the communities we partner with around the world. Like our own Vitanova botanical growers, the Numi Tea farmers are the stewards of organic, healthy nutrition. Vitanova discovered that Numi Tea shared a similar ethos and learning of the incredible work that the Numi Foundation is doing to restore dignity through providing clean water access to its partners, Vitanova wanted to support them in this important work.

The Numi Foundation works to bring clean, safe drinking water to Numi Organic Tea sourcing partners around the world.

Why is this important?

  • Did you know that 1 in 10 people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water?
  • Or that more people die from lack of water and sanitation each year than other forms of violence, including war?
  • Did you know that 4,000 children die every day from water-related diseases?
  • Despite the dangers, women and children usually bear the responsibility for collecting water for the family. Many are required to walk up to six hours a day to collect and carry it.

“The Numi Foundation is the manifestation of what we believe is needed to improve the lives of our community. It’s how we extend our intentions of goodness and fairness to the greater world.” — Ahmed Rahim, Numi Foundation Co-founder

Find out more about how Vitanova pays it forward here, and you can learn more about Numi Teas Impact programs and donate here.

Vitanova Paying Forward: Helping Support Environmental Education

Vitanova pays forward 10% of all its proceeds to help support culture and language preservation. This Summer, Vitanova went to the Ransel Buku school in Borneo to give a donation to this forward-thinking, environmentally conscious school. Ransel Buku gives children from 5 poor fishing villages a chance at a education. They stress the importance of cultural preservation, recycling, environmental issues and the importance of stopping deforestation. To donate to Ransel Buku go to:

Vitanova travels to the Amazon to help preserve a tribe’s botanical wisdom.

The co-founders of Vitanova, a vitamin brand that uses a variety of medicinal herbs in its supplements, traveled to the rainforest this summer to meet with the Shuar’s tribal elders as part of their “Paying Forward” project. For the past two years, Vitanova has donated 10% of all profits to the preservation and revival of botanical knowledge worldwide.

According to the New York Times, “…of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, nearly half are in danger of extinction and are likely to disappear in this century. Languages are now falling out of use at a rate of about one every two weeks.”

The Shuar language is one of those endangered—jeopardizing the community’s culture as well as their ancient knowledge of medicinal plants. To help preserve the traditions, the Paying Forward project encouraged communication between Shuar generations by pairing elders who speak the language with their grandchildren. In this way, the knowledge was passed down directly. So far, a database of 50 botanical remedies has been transmitted, photographed and is now part of a growing archive for current and future use.

Timothy Rose, Vitanova’s creative director, also embarked on the journey to meet the Shuar. “It was a chance to actually see firsthand the community and the effects of the program.” says Rose. “We got an opportunity to research new, exciting botanicals as well as meet the indigenous knowledge-keepers themselves. We have a commitment to our customers to be on top of new discoveries and work toward preserving what is out there.”

“The natural landscapes and vegetation were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my life,” adds Vitanova CEO, Kamal El-Wattar. “Most moving was to be a witness as the elders shared their love of nature and their botanical remedies for various maladies.”

Vitanova is engaging with the world’s leading linguists, anthropologists and indigenous communities to preserve life-saving plant species and the knowledge about those plants––both of which dramatically affect all of humanity.

Archeological studies have discovered that the practice of herbal medicine dates as far back as 8,000 years ago in China, and written records about medicinal plants date back at least 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who used plants such as laurel, caraway and thyme as medicine.1,2

Today, global pharmaceutical companies are looking to plants as a potential source of new drug candidates.2,3,4,5,6 According to the Center for Biological Diversity, of the top 150 prescription drugs in the United States, at least 118 are made from natural sources––and some of the drugs are life-saving. A child suffering from leukemia in 1960 faced a 10 percent chance of remission. By 1997, the likelihood of remission had been increased to 95 percent, thanks to two drugs derived from a wild plant native to Madagascar.

Without thriving languages, however, the information about these plant medicines might be lost. The Endangered Languages Project is another organization that’s getting the word out about the topic. “With every language that dies, we lose an enormous cultural heritage; the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most important, we lose the expression of communities’ humor, love and life.”

Vitanova’s botanical knowledge liaison, linguistics Professor Maurizio Gnerre, discusses the impact the Paying Forward program has had on the Shuar community. “With the support of Vitanova, we’ve put children together with elders and created a special school for the kids to learn their own language and interact with nature.”

Gnerre has been working with the Shuar for decades, including Shuar tribal chieftain and head of the Shuar Language Rescue Project, Angel Antun. “We are so thrilled to receive help from Vitanova,” says Angel. “We must pass down what we know from our elders to our young people, or else our knowledge will be lost forever. Language loss means the end of our people.”

Along with their commitment to the Shuar culture, Vitanova founders are invested in other programs around the globe, from Indonesia to Eastern Europe to North Africa. This month, Rose is traveling through Indonesia to meet with tribal knowledge keepers. In addition, Vitanova is exploring various economic models for the vitamin brand, including purchasing botanical ingredients for use in future products.

“Our future health depends on preserving this knowledge,” says Rose. “Untold numbers of cures are out there. Vitanova knows that when a language and culture dies, vital botanical information goes along with it. And, that affects not just the indigenous people but all of us. We just can’t allow that to happen.”

  2. Leroi Gourhan, “The flowers found with Shanidar IV, a Neanderthal burial in Iraq,” Science, vol. 190, no. 4214, pp. 562–564, 1975. View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  3. R. Seidl, “Pharmaceuticals from natural products: current trends,” Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 145–150, 2002. View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  4. -J. Li and H.-Y. Zhang, “Western-medicine-validated anti-tumor agents and traditional Chinese medicine,” Trends in Molecular Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1–2, 2008. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  5. W. Corson and C. M. Crews, “Molecular understanding and modern application of traditional medicines: triumphs and trials,” Cell, vol. 130, no. 5, pp. 769–774, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  6. M. Schmidt, D. M. Ribnicky, P. E. Lipsky, and I. Raskin, “Revisiting the ancient concept of botanical therapeutics,” Nature Chemical Biology, vol. 3, no. 7, pp. 360–366, 2007. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus
  8. Kara Rogers, Out of Nature, “Why Drugs from Plants Matter to the Future of Humanity,” pp 216, 2012.
  9. Ethnopharmacology and integrative medicine – Let the history tell the future. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 10 Apr-Jun; 1(2): 100–109. Pulok K. Mukherjee, P. Venkatesh, and S. Ponnusankar

Vitanova Pays It Forward: Building a School by Hand

This July, Vitanova co-founder and Creative Director Timothy Rose and his son Luca traveled to Rio Blanco, Ecuador, to help build a community school, plant trees and learn firsthand about sustainability in the world’s most biodiverse region.

Ser is a hand-constructed, green school deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. It is a small, community-owned space nestled in the jungle that promotes intercultural, nature-based free learning for children five and up with a heavy focus on environmental, botanical and healthy living. This artistic learning community was founded in 2010 by a group of families seeking to create a harmonious living space and a respectful learning environment for their children.

Vitanova became aware of the school recently during the founders’ trip to Ecuador to visit the Shuar community. Since Vitanova has been paying forward 10 percent of all its proceeds to help indigenous peoples maintain their languages, cultures and botanical wisdom, Vitanova cofounders Kamal El-Wattar and Timothy Rose thought this would be a great project for the brand to support.

“We were looking for something that would really make a difference in the lives of this community and something physical we could do to help that happen this summer.”

Rose brought his teenage son, Luca, with him and got to work.

“We literally grabbed plants, shovels and heavy gloves and got to building. Many companies throw money at things, but it is something really special to be there on the ground making a difference.” Rose pointed out.

Ser teaches the community not only techniques of sustainability learned from the local Shuar tribes but also how to create an edible forest from a permaculture perspective. They believe that education should include a deep love and appreciation for the environment and a healthy, harmonious balance with nature.

“We have designed and adapted four hectares of Amazonian forest to permaculture. An environmentally friendly place where it is produced onsite and the reuse of organic waste and biomass in general is implemented.” says Ser family investor Julián Larrea Arias.

With the participation of the Shuar, Achuar and Quichua families (indigenous Amazonian peoples), the school has planted an Amazon vegetable garden where yuccas, bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, citrus, ginger, guava and other plants grow organically.

The Ser school also participates in the National Reforestation Program of the Ministry of the Environment and are developing actions for the protection and conservation of more than 30 hectares of native forest, home to one of the greatest diversity of plants and animals found in the world.

In addition to the 100 trees planted since the project began, more than ten one hundred-year-old pituca trees 35 meters high bear fruit and self-fertilize.

“We strengthened the forest by planting native trees at risk of extinction, such as mahogany, cedars and cannelloni,” adds Arias.

Apart from the botanical commitment and positive educational opportunities for the community, the school also employs bio-construction using bamboo canes (native bamboo) harvested on their land. The cane is ecological because it is a giant grass that is renewed with the cut. Ser also builds composting centers, organic orchards and dry ecological baths, without sewage treatment. Everything is off the grid and 100 percent recycled.

Ser also boasts a multipurpose green space, soccer field, an art space, hammocks and play areas. The school is built on the concepts of respect for nature, self-sustainability and creativity.

“The connection between health and nature is core to Vitanova’s values. What this school is doing mirrors the company’s own beliefs. Having the opportunity to help the school and bring my own son along to learn about the Shuar people, sustainable farming and botanical knowledge was one of the best moments of my life.” Rose concludes.

“The natural state of living beings is to be healthy. Getting away from nature and its cycles is what makes us sick,” says Arias.

Vitanova is committed to helping preserve botanical wisdom, language and the indigenous knowledge keepers. They pay forward 10 percent of their earnings to help build schools, preserve cultures and promote a healthy, sustainable environment.

To learn more about supporting the Ser community school, write to To learn more about Vitanova’s Paying Forward language preservation programs, go to

New multivitamins bring “new life” to women and men

Age-old tradition meets modern, nutritional science in the newly released Vitanova multivitamins. Always on the brink of scientific advancements, Vitanova has reformulated their multis––one for men and one for women––with a different, more absorbable form of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin.

Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis. It’s widely known to boost energy, mood and concentration, and can be found naturally in foods such as meat, fish and dairy products.1,2,3,4,5,6

Current research has found that methylcobalamin, the activated form of vitamin B12, is the most effective form for being taken up by subcellular organelles of neurons, thereby increasing its bioavailability in the human body. Methylcobalamin has been proven to regenerate injured nerves, increase the myelination of neurons and relieve neuropathic pain––among other things.7,8

As always, Vitanova imparts this new science with the wisdom of ancient tradition––specifically, fermentation. Vitanova makes their vitamins with organic fruits, vegetables and herbs, then infuses this whole-food complex with probiotic cultures for the ultimate in nutrient absorption.

“Vita nova” means “new life” in Latin. And Vitanova’s new Women and Men formulations are created for today’s modern lifestyle, containing a balanced array of nutrients most needed to protect and support the body’s natural function. The complex of nutritional ingredients include elements to support cell defense and cell repair and to boost vitality within the whole body system.*

Improving health by helping to preserve botanical wisdom.

Vitanova understands that a biodiverse environment will inspire nutritional and pharmacological discoveries, now and in the future. In fact, right now, hundreds of natural-product-derived compounds are currently undergoing clinical trials or are in preclinical development.9

For this reason, Vitanova has chosen to support botanical knowledge preservation and revival projects around the globe. Vitanova currently gives 10% of all profits to its “botanical pay-it-forward” communities––in the Amazon, Micronesia, North Africa and Eastern Europe, to name a few.

Vitanova closes the loop between the consumers of nutritional supplements and the indigenous people responsible for guarding the knowledge of our future health “medicine cabinet.”9

The company is engaging with the world’s leading linguists, anthropologists and indigenous communities. Video links to some of the projects and leaders can be found at

Vitanova features real people with real stories.

“Vitanova Valiants,” people who boldly challenge themselves to live their lives to the fullest, are featured on the new Vitanova box.

With current psychology, neurology and sociology research in mind, Vitanova as a brand supports its customers to achieve their true potential.10 Leading researchers show us that positivity and a fulfilling life are not only good for the individual but also for the planet as a whole.11

Links to the real people on the box and their bold-life video stories can be found on the Vitanova website.


1 Herbert V. Vitamin B12 in Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 17th ed. Washington, DC: International Life Sciences Institute Press, 1996.

2 Herbert V, Das K. Vitamin B12 in Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 8th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1994.

3 Combs G. Vitamin B12 in The Vitamins. New York: Academic Press, Inc., 1992.

4 Zittoun J, Zittoun R. Modern clinical testing strategies in cobalamin and folate deficiency. Sem Hematol 1999;36:35-46. [PubMed abstract]

5 Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998.

6 Clarke R. B-vitamins and prevention of dementia. Proc Nutr Soc 2008;67:75-81. [PubMed abstract]



9  Ethnopharmacology and integrative medicine – Let the history tell the future. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 10 Apr-Jun; 1(2): 100–109. Pulok K. Mukherjee, P. Venkatesh, and S. Ponnusankar



Phosphatidylserine: Enhance Cognition for Healthy Individuals and Those with Dementia

By Sara Lovelady

There is perhaps no condition more feared than dementia. For most of us, it’s much easier to imagine losing our physical capacity as we age than our mental functioning. Fortunately, there is a natural compound that can help: Phosphatidylserine (PS), a fatty component of cell membranes. Consumption of PS may reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in the elderly.Ɨ And it can even enhance cognitive function in healthy individuals!*

Why PS is so important to nerve cells

PS contributes to cell membrane structure and fluidity.* That’s important because nerve cells rely on these membranes for effective signal transmission.* Therefore, if you want to be able to send messages to and from your brain, you need to have adequate PS.*

Our bodies make PS in the liver, but we also get some from food. It is most concentrated in fish and meat (especially organ meats). Vegetarian sources include white beans, soy, and sunflower seeds.

Researched benefits of phosphatidylserine

Research indicates PS can improve cognition for healthy individuals as well as those suffering from age-related cognitive decline.* Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have found PS improved memory, processing speed, and processing accuracy in diverse populations.*

In a study published in 2010, elderly Japanese adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment took either PS or a placebo for six months. Compared to those taking the placebo, the folks taking PS experienced improvements in scores of cognitive decline and dementia.Ɨ Their improved performance remembering a list of words was especially notable. This is important because this task is a reliable test of dementia in its early phases.Ɨ

That study echoed an earlier study in which people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) saw significant improvement in cognitive measures after taking PS for 12 weeks.Ɨ Researchers noted that PS seemed to help those with less severe impairment the most and suggested “phosphatidylserine may be a promising candidate for study in the early stages of AD.”

A small study of young male athletes published in 2011 found supplementation with PS for two weeks improved their speed of calculation by 20 percent—and their accuracy too.* Volunteers taking PS supplied 13 percent more correct answers to subtraction problems and 39 percent fewer incorrect answers.*

Similar results were found in a study published in 2010 of older adults with no memory problems. Participants took PS complexed with omega-3 fatty acids for 15 weeks. At the end of the study period, their memory and learning processes had improved and the time needed to complete tasks had decreased.*

How phosphatidylserine works

PS may work by increasing glucose utilization in the brain, according to a 1990 study of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). After three weeks of supplementation with PS, glucose metabolism in subjects taking PS increased by 14.8 percent overall and by 13.5 to 16 percent in the areas of the brain most affected by AD.*

Early research on phosphatidylserine was conducted on PS derived from cow brains, but concerns about mad cow disease and other viruses led most suppliers to switch to vegetarian sources such as soy and sunflower seeds.

* This statement has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Ɨ Very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim.


L-Theanine: Catch Some Zs

By Sara Lovelady

Have you ever wondered why drinking a cup of hot tea seems to have a calming effect, even though tea contains caffeine? The answer is L-theanine, an amino acid and a component of black and green tea that helps calm the brain.* If the wheels of your mind can’t stop spinning at night—and that keeps you from falling asleep—L-theanine can be part of the solution.*

More time sleeping, less time tossing and turning

In 2011, a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studied the effect of L-theanine on boys aged 8 to 12 who were taking stimulating medications. It found that 400 mg of L-theanine daily for six weeks significantly improved their sleep efficiency (the time spent awake versus asleep while in bed).* There was also a small decrease in the boys’ movements while asleep.* However, it did not improve their sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep.)

L-theanine promotes a calm mood—which is exactly what you want when you hit the hay.* A 2007 double-blind, placebo-controlled study tested volunteers’ ability to perform math problems in their heads. It found that the people who took L-theanine were less stressed by the task than those who took the placebo pills.* Their heart rates and the level of immunoglobin (a marker of stress) in their saliva were lower than in the folks who took a placebo.*

How does L-theanine work?

L-theanine works by increasing the production of relaxing alpha brain waves, which help ease the transition to sleep.* It also increases levels of GABA, a calming neurotransmitter.* Lastly, L-theanine blocks L-glutamic acid from binding to receptors that cause brain cells to become overexcited.*

The effect of L-theanine on alpha brain waves has been demonstrated in several studies. In one small 1998 trial, female university students took a single dose of 200 mg of L-theanine, and researchers then measured their brain waves. The results showed L-theanine generated alpha waves in the occipital and parietal lobes of the volunteers’ brains.* One interesting thing about this study is that L-theanine worked best for the people who needed it the most—the effect was more pronounced in the students who were experiencing more stress at the time of the test.* A 2003 study found this same effect: an increase in alpha brain waves in stressed but not in non-stressed young men.*

A 2008 study found a relatively low single dose of L-theanine (50 mg) also increased alpha waves. Researchers gave 35 healthy young people L-theanine or a placebo. They then measured their brain waves while the participants relaxed with their eyes closed or engaged in a passive activity. The result was a significant increase in alpha waves in those taking the L-theanine.*

Your cup of tea?

If you want to take advantage of L-theanine’s ability to promote restful sleep, tea before bedtime is probably not the best idea because of the caffeine. It makes more sense to take it as a supplement. L-theanine is available in capsules, tablets, gummies and powders. It may also be combined in formulas with other sleep-promoting ingredients such as GABA, nutrients, and sedative herbs that address other aspects of the sleep cycle, such as sleep latency.

* This statement has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Do Flowers Hold the Secret to Universal Intelligence?

Since modern man and woman walked the earth with the capability to question and comprehend the world and its universal laws, flowers have been the topic of much philosophizing. They are the epitome of beauty, the most celebrated of gifts, the subject of great poems and works of art, and metaphors for revealing our natural inner essence.

Consider this: Have you ever seen an ugly flower? Even a simple daisy is beautiful, and somehow perfect, in its design.

So, what is it that makes flowers universally pleasing to the human eye? Mathematicians, botanists, artists, astronomers, architects and even our own intuition may hold the answers.

In 1202, Italian mathematician Leonardo Pisano, better known by the name Fibonacci, wrote about a sequence of numbers that occurs when a number is equal to the addition of the two numbers prior––for instance, 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on.

The Fibonacci sequence correlates to the discovery of this pattern and similar patterns throughout history, dating back to about 300 B.C. It has been called by many names: The Golden Mean, The Golden Ratio, The Divine Proportion and, in more recent centuries, by the mathematically divided ratios of these sequential numbers that equals 1.618, named phi, after the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

This sequence and this number are said to have the proportions that human beings consider to be aesthetically pleasing. Science has found phi more than anywhere in nature––in pinecones and pineapples, in cacti and conifers, in hurricanes and galaxies, in the branching of trees, in the spiral of nautilus seashells and, yes, in many flowers.

Botanists determine that a flower opens its petals to absorb the greatest amount of sunlight—and quite often the number of petals follows the Fibonacci sequence, having 3, 5 or 8 petals, for instance. Oftentimes, the head of a sunflower has this divine pattern in its number of seeds and the proportional formation in which the seeds spiral. The Golden Ratio can be found throughout nature, including in many of our fruits and vegetables––in the spiraling head of a cauliflower, in the pattern of an apple cut in half.

This mathematical equation can also be found in much of art and architecture, as it creates a sense of beautiful proportion and balance in the design. Another Leonardo––namely, da Vinci––is the artist most known for using this proportional ratio in his works and may have even intentionally incorporated it when creating “The Last Supper” and the famous “Mona Lisa.” Whether he intended it or intuited it, the Divine Proportion is there.

But its appearance throughout nature is what has scientists pondering its universal intelligence, its cosmic wisdom. You can even see the patterns in the human body. We have five fingers on each hand, three sections to our arms, and if you divide the length of the forearm by the length of a hand, it equals––you guessed it––about 1.618. Recent discoveries have gynecologists amazed that the most fertile uterus is one that has proportions correlating to 1.618.

Clearly, this mathematical intelligence is a part of our natural world. Though not all things in nature follow this pattern, there are enough examples of it that mankind has taken notice and has been contemplating it for millennia.

A fascinating question: Is there something within us as human beings that resonates with nature, in that we recognize its beauty, balance and cosmic intelligence? Those in the fields of science, math and art will continue to ponder this naturally occurring mystery.

And we will, too.

When we at Vitanova were deciding on the symbol that would best represent our company, we unanimously selected an eight-petaled flower, one that just happened to follow the Fibonacci sequence. We did not choose to incorporate the Golden Ratio into our logo, but that particular flower resonated with us because of its beauty and harmony. We also recognized that a flower is a metaphor for the blossoming of the human essence, a symbol of awakening and rebirth.

It wasn’t until later that we discovered its multi-faceted perfection: the balance, the beauty, the science, the botanical wisdom, and the power of those elements combined. Behold, the flower—that speaks to us of its universal secrets.


Ashwagandha: Keep calm and be awesome


If you ever feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list of modern life, there’s one herb you should know about: ashwagandha. The root of this well-studied herb has a long history of use in Ayurveda—the ancient Indian system of medicine—for restoring vigor and strength after the body has been depleted by stress.*


A premier adaptogenic herb

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. This remarkable class of herbs actually increases an individual’s ability to maintain homeostasis, even when under physical, mental, or emotional stress.*

Unlike most herbs, which work in one direction, adaptogens work in all directions. Ephedra, for example, is a stimulant. No matter who takes ephedra, the herb will have a stimulating effect similar to caffeine. Its direction, in other words, is always up.

Adaptogens, however, can turn the dial up or down as needed. Like a thermostat that heats or cools the air to maintain a consistent temperature, adaptogens increase or decrease bodily activity to maintain homeostasis.* Their direction changes depending on the person.*

As an adaptogen, ashwagandha reads what your body needs and then fine tunes your system in response. If you feel fatigued, it will energize you.* If you are stressed out, it will calm you down.* If you need to concentrate, it will help you focus.* If you need to rest, it will relax you.* Sound too good to be true? Check out the research!


Researched benefits of ashwagandha

Several human clinical trials published over the past two decades provide scientific evidence that ashwagandha is effective for the relief of occasional stress.*

In 2000, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that after six weeks of treatment with 500mg of ashwagandha per day, 88.2 percent of participants felt relief from occasional stress, while only 50 percent of those taking the placebo did.* (In other words, it was almost twice as effective!)

Another double-blind study published in 2009 and lasting 12 weeks compared two different protocols for occasional stress. One group of participants received counseling about diet, learned deep-breathing exercises, and took a multivitamin plus 600 mg of ashwagandha per day. The other group received psychotherapy, learned the same breathing exercises, and took a placebo. At the end of the study, the ashwagandha group experienced a 56.5 percent reduction in stress, while the psychotherapy group experienced just a 30.5 percent decline.* (Again, ashwagandha was nearly two times as effective!) The folks taking ashwagandha also experienced more marked improvements in concentration, energy, social functioning, and overall quality of life.*


How ashwagandha works

The active constituents of ashwagandha are called withanolides. They work by decreasing levels of cortisol, a hormone released during stress, and increasing levels of DHEA, a hormone that supports a positive mood.*

These mechanisms of action were illustrated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2008 that compared stress symptoms and hormone levels among people taking either 125, 250, or 500 mg of Sensoril® (a standardized extract of ashwagandha) or a placebo. Sensoril® not only helped reduce feelings of occasional stress—as well as sleeplessness, forgetfulness, and irritability—it also reduced cortisol while increasing DHEA.*

Ashwagandha root extract is sold in capsules or tablets, or as a powder or tincture. The withanolide content is often standardized and indicated on the label and can vary from 1.5 percent to 10 percent.



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