Ashwagandha Benefits for Stress & Anxiety
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, a traditional 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 also goes by several other names, including “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry.”
The Ashwaganda plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers native to India and Southeast Asia.
Extracts or powder from the plant’s roots or leaves helps treat various conditions, including anxiety and fertility issues (3Trusted Source).
Since Ashwaganda acts as an adaptogen, it relieves many stress-related conditions.
Adaptogens claim to help the body resist physical and mental stress.
Some conditions it works for include insomnia, aging, anxiety, and many others, but no good scientific evidence supports most of these uses.
There is also no good evidence to support using Ashwagandha for COVID-19.
Make sure to distinguish Ashwaganda from Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry. Also, distinguish Ashwagandha from American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.
This article is extracted and paraphrased from Healthline and WebMD.
- Insomnia. Taking Ashwagandha by mouth improves overall sleep and quality in some people.
- Stress. Taking Ashwagandha by mouth helps reduce stress in some people. It also helps reduce stress-related weight gain.
There is interest in using Ashwaganda for several other purposes, but there needs to be more reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
When taken by mouth: Ashwagandha is possibly safe for up to 3 months. The long-term safety of Ashwagandha has yet to discover. 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 needs to be more reliable information to know if Ashwaganda is safe when breastfeeding. 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, avoiding using Ashwagandha is best.
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 two 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.
Adults have most likely consumed Ashwagandha in doses of up to 1000 mg daily for up to 12 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to determine the best dose for a specific condition.
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