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How Well Does Ashwagandha Work For Anxiety?
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Does Ashwagandha Help Anxiety ?
How does ashwagandha work for anxiety?
Let’s take a deeper look in this blog post. Be sure to read the whole article because there are some interesting facts here…
Good because here we go:
What is ashwagandha?
It’s a plant, or more correctly, an adaptogenic herb that has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years for treating anxiety and stress (as well as other ailments) and during the resent years it has been subject for a lot of interesting research and studies.
The Latin name for it is “Withania somnifera” and it is also know by the names
- Indian Ginseng
- Poison gooseberry
- Winter cherry
This very interesting plant grows in the Middle East, parts of Africa and India and are considered to bee one of the most effective herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, a practice that saw its beginning in India for over 2700 years ago.
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During those years the ashwagandha plant has been used for helping to
- Eliminate stress
- Cure fevers
- Reduce arthritis
- Boost sex drive
- Increase physical strength
- Treat different skin conditions
- Get rid of issues in the gastrointestinal
- Treat Anxiety
- Treat memory loss
- Deal with insomnia
OK but what does TODAY’S research say about this plant…
…does Ashwagandha help anxiety or not?
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine presented a meta analysis on ashwagandha and anxiety. A meta analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies…
…in other words, it is an in depth look at many studies that have been done followed by a presentation and conclusion of all those studies. Five studies that had been done on humans were chosen for the systematic review (this after disqualifying studies that did not match high enough standards as well as eliminating duplicates from the database).
The results were interesting indeed…
...here are the results of one of those five studies:
81 participants were put in a psychotherapy group. Half of them were given 600mg of ashwagandha on a daily basis. The Beck Anxiety Inventory scores dropped much more in the group that got the real ashwagandha compared to the group that got the placebo.
The reduction was -7.16 points in the group that did counseling and got the placebo whereas the group that got the real ashwagandha dropped -13.30 points on the same anxiety scale.
In another, 60-day study of 64 people, with chronic anxiety, the ashwagandha group noted 68% average lowering of anxiety levels compared to 11% in the group that got the placebo. They also reported a significant reduction in insomnia.
Exactly how does ashwagandha help with anxiety?
Ashwagandha does a number of things in our bodies but when it comes to anxiety reduction the following are probably the biggest reasons for it…
…ashwagandha is known to
- Lower cortisol levels (stress hormone)
- Regulate chemical signaling in the nervous system (and thereby blocking stress pathways)
- Reduce blood sugar levels (blood sugar crashes are a major anxiety trigger)
- Boost testosterone (thus making us a bit less sensitive)
- Help balancing dopamine, GABA and serotonin
So the answer to the question “does ashwagandha help anxiety ?” is a resounding yes…
…but we always have to keep in mind that everyone is different and experiences different results so what works for one person, might not work so well for another. That’s just the way it is…
…with everything in life.
What I personally notice when I take ashwagandha to help with my own anxiety
I use ashwagandha in combination with exercise. This is perfect as it also increases muscle recovery, strength and testosterone levels. If you are interested you can click here to check out one of the studies on that…
…anyway, I often take about 600mg of ashwagandha and go for a 30 minute slow run in the forest. Every time I get back home my anxiety is gone. This is not always the case if I go for a run without the ashwagandha…
…although that may also work sometimes.
Here are some other benefits I personally notice from taking ashwagandha
- I feel more energetic and strong
- I do not worry so much
- My night time and morning erections are harder
- I recover quicker from my gym training
- The skin in my face is clearer
How much ashwagandha should i take for anxiety?
Ashwagandha dosages used in research has ranged from 150-1300 mg per day. However brands have different strengths in their products so you should always read what the label says. That said I would also recommend you to do your own experimenting because, like I said, we are all different.
Safety, interactions and side effects of taking ashwagandha
- It might lower blood pressure so this is to be taken into consideration if using blood pressure medications
- It might irritate the gastrointestinal tract. You should avoid taking ashwagandha if you are suffering from ulcers in the stomach
- Since ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system it is best to stop taking it at least two weeks before surgery in order to not interfere with the anesthesia
- Do not take it if you are pregnant. Not enough research has been done in order to give a green light for pregnant women to use it so to be on the safe side…just leave it alone if you are pregnant.
- Do not combine it with benzodiazepines or sedative prescription medications. Also be careful if you are on thyroid hormone pills
What you MUST know about quality
By now I have probably tried out 6-7 different brands of ashwagandha and I’m sad to say that about 50% of them have note done anything for me at all. It clearly is a big difference in quality among the brands that you can find out there…
…so don’t give up right away if you try one brand of ashwagandha and it does not help with your anxiety!
Personally I will probably try out several brands in the future but the one I use right now, and I’m pretty happy with, is generally priced well compared to similar items, click here to check the price on Amazon cause it’s always changing.
Other health benefits, besides reducing stress and anxiety, that are proven by research
There are studies that show ashwagandha to have positive effects on the following: (ranging from very mild to significant)
- Help with erectile dysfunction
- Increase male fertility
- Fights diabetes
- May assist in killing cancer cells
- Might stimulate thyroid gland
- Boosts the immune system
- Prevents seizures
- Aids in building muscle strength
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Possesses anti bacterial properties
Now I do want to point out, and I think it’s important to remember, that the results from research and studies are not always 100% accurate and presents us with the guaranteed truth “written in stone”. I think that we are wise to always remain a bit skeptical albeit open minded…
…that said, ashwagandha do really help with anxiety, for many people, and because of it’s many other health benefits as well, I think it is certainly worth giving a try for at least a couple of months…
…if suffering from anxiety we need many tools in our anxiety toolbox and, for me, ashwagandha is one of those tools.
Thank you for reading the blog post “Does Ashwagandha Help Anxiety”
How Well Does Ashwagandha Work For Anxiety?