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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jesse Ropat

Ashwagandha With Black Pepper: Stress Relief and Beyond

If you're anything like me, we all have those days where everyday life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Stress, anxiety, and the constant demands of a busy schedule can take a toll on our well-being. That's why I want to introduce you to a natural remedy that has become a game-changer in my life: Ashwagandha.


Ashwagandha, a powerful herb, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its stress-relieving properties. When combined with black pepper, your body can absorb much more Ashwagandha, maximizing its benefits.


Studies suggest that this combination helps alleviate stress and anxiety and improves sleep quality. As we all know, a good night's sleep is crucial for overall well-being and stress management.


For me, I find when I start pushing the boundaries in my running and increasing my weekly mileage too much, it’s harder for me to fall asleep. When I take Ashwagandha, it helps me fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 


One of the key benefits of Ashwagandha is its impact on cortisol levels. Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, can wreak havoc on our bodies when it’s too high for too long. 


Work and life have been quite busy lately, and I find myself a bit more stressed or irritable. This is where Ashwagandha has been the most beneficial. It keeps me more level-headed and stops my cortisol levels from getting out of hand.


Overall, I’ve personally found it to help me be more stress-tolerant. 


Many of my patients have reported the same things. They even go as far as saying it has enhanced their mood and given them a sense of calmness. 


When I have patients dealing with stress that we otherwise cannot address with other lifestyle changes, Ashwagandha is my favorite holistic approach to improve their mental well-being.


Incorporating Ashwagandha into your routine is a fantastic step, but there are additional lifestyle choices you can make to amplify its effects:


If you want to boost the benefits you get from Ashwagandha, here are my most practical lifestyle tips:


1. Move your body:


Just as with any stress-relief routine, physical activity is crucial. I'll never stop hammering this point home.


Find a form of exercise you enjoy, whether a brisk walk, yoga, or a workout session. Aim for at least 30 minutes three times a week.


2. Tech-Free Wind Down:


To complement the sleep benefits of Ashwagandha, create a bedtime routine without technology. Turn off electronic devices an hour before bed, dim the lights, and engage in relaxing activities like reading or gentle stretching.


I set a time each night before bed to go through my stretching routine, and I find that this helps relax me and get me ready for sleep. 


3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR):


Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a relaxation technique that involves tensing and gradually releasing different muscle groups and is widely used to alleviate stress, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall well-being.


I used it during my schooling to reduce my anxiety around the pressure of exam season, and I'm sure you'll find it helpful as well.


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation:


  1. Find a Quiet Space. Where you won’t be disturbed, and sit or lie down in a relaxed position.


  1. Begin with a few deep breaths. Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your lungs to fill with air, and then exhale through your mouth, releasing any tension.


  1. Tension and Release: Focus on one muscle group at a time. Start with your toes and work your way up to even the tiny muscles of your face. Tense the muscles in that specific group for about 5-10 seconds. 


  1. After holding the tension, release the muscles suddenly, allowing them to relax completely. Focusing on the contrast between the tension and the relaxation is essential.


  1. Maintain Awareness: As you release the tension, concentrate on the feeling of relaxation in the specific muscle group. Take a few deep breaths during this phase.


Work through each muscle group, such as your calves, thighs, abdomen, chest, arms, shoulders, etc. Repeat the process of tensing and then releasing for each group.


Finish with your facial muscles by scrunching your face, closing your eyes tightly, and then releasing the tension.


By incorporating these tips into your routine and adopting some practical lifestyle tips, you can take proactive steps towards a healthier, more balanced life. 


These recommendations have been a game-changer for many of my patients when coupled with Ashwagandha.


Here's to a calmer, more centered you.

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