Ashwagandha Benefits for Stress & Anxiety

Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha benefits people in times of stress and is commonly used for feelings of anxiety as it contains natural chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.

Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, which is a traditional form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.

People have used ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration (1Trusted Source).

“Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to both the herb’s scent and its potential ability to increase strength (2Trusted Source).

Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it’s also known by several other names, including “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry.”

The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and Southeast Asia. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and fertility issues (3Trusted Source).

Since ashwagandha is traditionally used as an adaptogen, it is used for many conditions related to stress. Adaptogens are believed to help the body resist physical and mental stress.

Some of the conditions it is used for including insomnia, aging, anxiety and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using ashwagandha for COVID-19.

Don’t confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry. Also, don’t confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.

This article is extracted and paraphrased from Healthline and WebMD 
Possibly Effective for
  • Insomnia. Taking ashwagandha by mouth seems to improve overall sleep and sleep quality in some people.
  • Stress. Taking ashwagandha by mouth seems to help reduce stress in some people. It might also help reduce stress-related weight gain.

There is interest in using ashwagandha for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

When taken by mouth: Ashwagandha is possibly safe when used for up to 3 months. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems might occur.

When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe or what the side effects might be.
Pregnancy: It is likely unsafe to use ashwagandha when pregnant. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages.

Breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using ashwagandha.

Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications.
Moderate Interaction

Ashwagandha has most often been used by adults in doses up to 1000 mg daily, for up to 12 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.
Ashwagandha

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