A small shrub with yellow flowers, Ashwagandha is native to India and North Africa. It is believed to work as an “adaptogen,” helping the body maintain a healthy balance. Extracts and powders made from its roots and leaves have been used for literally thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate stress and anxiety. Studies show it may reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Ashwagandha contains natural withanolides, compounds that might help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and support the immune system.