Ashwagandha For Anxiety
Stress has a profound impact on our emotional and physical wellbeing. When you are under severe or prolonged stress, you might experience a myriad of symptoms including tiredness, inability to focus, troubles with concentration, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, joint pain, and more.
Anxiety and stress are closely related. They both cause an increase in stress hormones – epinephrine and cortisol. Although we all feel anxious from time to time, anxiety is much more than that. It is a well recognized medical condition. Anxiety disorders are much more common than we believe – statistics show that 1 out of 4 people in the developed countries will suffer from an episode of severe anxiety at least once in their life.
The usual treatments for anxiety disorders include some of the newer antidepressants (SSRIs) and psychotherapy.
There is also another group of medications for anxiety, which are called anxiolytics or benzodiazepenes (such as lorazepam – Ativan), diazepam – Valium, alprazolam - Xanax).
All of these medications have a direct calming effect on the nervous system. The major downside of benzodiazepenes is that you can become addicted to them. For that reason they are not recommended for long term use (2 weeks max).
What is Ashwagandha an How Does it Work for Anxiety
Ashwagandha is a well known herb, which plays an important role in the ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine.
Thousands of years of use have shown that ashwagandha can help your body adapt to stress. Clinical studies have confirmed that fact; it has been proven that regular use of ashwagandha results in increased resistance to stress. Supplementing with ashwagandha also helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Here's what studies say:
- Ashwagandha has an anxioliytic (calming) effect comparable to common anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepenes)
- Ashwagandha leads to reduced markers of clinical anxiety
- It also has a strong antidepressant effect
- Ashwagandha counteracts the effect of stress on the body and is able to effectively lower cortisol serum levels
Medications for anxiety often cause severe side effects. Studies have shown that ashwagandha doesn't cause side effects; except some mild stomach problems or diarrhea that may come up at the beginning of supplementation.
How to Take Ashwagandha for Anxiety
Ashwagandha has been proven safe in doses up to 2 grams per day.
The usual dosage is between 400 and 500 mgs per day. This is the amount of ashwagandha per serving that you will get in popular ashwagandha supplements.
It is best if you take ashwagandha with meals or just after meals to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
If you are pregnant, you shouldn't take an ashwagandha supplement since it may cause miscarriage. Ashwagandha is also not advised during breastfeeding.
- Ashwagandha for Anxiety. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inner-source/201401/ashwaganda-anxiety
- Ashwagandha root for effective anxiety and stress relief, improved immunity. http://www.naturalnews.com/037642_ashwagandha_root_anxiety_stress_relief.html
- Anxiety Disorders. http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders
- Anxiety Medications. http://www.rxlist.com/anxiety_medications-page6/drugs-condition.htm
- 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. Inidan Journal of Psychological Medicine. 2012 Jul. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
- An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2014 Dec. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25405876
- Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. Phytomedicine. 2000 Dec. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194174
- A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Andrade C, Aswath A, Chaturvedi SK, Srinivasa M, Raguram R. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2000 Jul. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21407960
- Evaluation of the Anxiolytic Activity of NR-ANX-C (a Polyherbal Formulation) in Ethanol Withdrawal-Induced Anxiety Behavior in Rats. Mohan L, Rao US, Gopalakrishna HN, Nair V. Evidence based complementary and alternative medicine. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20953426