What is Ashwagandha and How Does it Help with Anxiety?

Ashwagandha is an ancient herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety. It is derived from a plant native to India and parts of Africa, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In recent years, ashwagandha has gained popularity as a natural remedy for anxiety, due to its ability to reduce stress and improve mood.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a small shrub that is native to India and parts of Africa. It is a member of the Solanaceae family, which also includes potatoes and tomatoes. The root and berry of the ashwagandha plant are used to make medicines.

The active ingredients in ashwagandha are known as withanolides, which are thought to be responsible for the plant’s medicinal properties. These withanolides are thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and adaptogenic properties, which may help to reduce stress and improve mood.

How Does Ashwagandha Help with Anxiety?

The withanolides in ashwagandha are thought to have a calming effect on the body and mind, which may help to reduce anxiety. In addition, ashwagandha may help to reduce cortisol levels, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress. High levels of cortisol can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Studies have also shown that ashwagandha may help to improve mood and reduce stress. One study found that participants who took ashwagandha for 8 weeks reported a significant reduction in anxiety and stress, as well as an improvement in overall mood.

What Are the Benefits of Ashwagandha?

In addition to its potential to reduce anxiety, ashwagandha may also offer other health benefits. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and adaptogenic properties, which may help to improve overall health.

Ashwagandha may also help to improve cognitive function and memory. One study found that participants who took ashwagandha for 8 weeks reported an improvement in memory and cognitive performance.

What Are the Side Effects of Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people, but it can cause some side effects. The most common side effects include upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea. It is also important to note that ashwagandha can interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to your doctor before taking it.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha is an ancient herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety. It is derived from a plant native to India and parts of Africa, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The active ingredients in ashwagandha are thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and adaptogenic properties, which may help to reduce stress and improve mood. Studies have also shown that ashwagandha may help to reduce cortisol levels, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress. In addition to its potential to reduce anxiety, ashwagandha may also offer other health benefits, such as improved cognitive function and memory. Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people, but it can cause some side effects. It is also important to note that ashwagandha can interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to your doctor before taking it.

FAQs

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Indian system of healing. It is known for its calming and anti-anxiety effects.

How does ashwagandha help with anxiety?

Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, and to improve overall mood. It may also help to reduce symptoms of anxiety such as restlessness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Are there any side effects associated with ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe, but some people may experience side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha.


References

Dhingra, D., & Kaur, G. (2017). Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(3), 511โ€“516. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587217701488

Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255โ€“262. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106022

Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An Investigation into the Stress-Relieving and Pharmacological Actions of an Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Phytotherapy Research, 33(5), 1296โ€“1303. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6322