One of the more popular herbal supplements these days is ashwagandha. Although it may seem relatively new to us, this herb (pronounced OSH-wuh-GONE-duh) has been a popular supplement worldwide for hundreds of years due to its wide range of purported health benefits, including its ability to relieve stress and anxiety.
If you’re in the market for a natural stress reliever, stick with us as we dive into all of the ins and outs of ashwagandha.
What is ashwagandha?
Also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, ashwagandha is native to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, though they are grown worldwide nowadays. These nutritional supplements are composed of extracts from the roots of the plant. The earliest evidence of people using ashwagandha for its therapeutic benefits dates back thousands of years to India, where it’s still widely used today in Ayurvedic medicine, the country’s system of holistic health and healing.
Ashwagandha for anxiety: What does the science say?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental health issue in the United States, affecting a whopping 40 million adults ages 18 and older — that’s roughly 12 percent of the population. Generally speaking, studies on ashwagandha and anxiety have been relatively small, but early research suggests treating this mental health condition with ashwagandha supplements can be quite effective.
Most recently, a 2019 study found that ashwagandha had a substantial impact on stress and anxiety:
Ashwagandha is known to have a remarkable impact on the stress that may…help in restoring a normal lifestyle with reduced stress and prevent the onset of several life-threatening disease conditions. The results indicated that the treatment with ashwagandha root extract was considerably effective compared to the placebo.
Another analysis of several ashwagandha studies found that treatment with this herbal extract “resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases) than placebo in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales.”
Though these studies were relatively small, they provide enough evidence to conclude that ashwagandha supplements are a viable treatment option for those managing anxiety and stress. Like many treatments, this may not work for everybody, so speak with a healthcare professional to ensure this supplement is right for you.
Are there any side effects?
All studies of ashwagandha found that, on the whole, this supplement is very safe. However, people can experience mild side effects, including nausea or upset stomach, diarrhea, headache, and drowsiness.
Consult your health care provider before using ashwagandha if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, have prostate cancer or thyroid problems, or take medications that cause drowsiness.
Adding ashwagandha to your daily regimen
Ashwagandha can be both safe and effective in helping people address their stress and anxiety. So, how do you know if it’s right for you? Only you can be the judge of that, as long as your health care provider doesn’t see a problem with it. Listen to your body, and don’t be concerned if it doesn’t work for you. Managing mental health is an ongoing process, so don’t be afraid to try other options such as talk therapy, medication, and exercise.
If you’ve decided to incorporate this supplement into your daily routine, there are plenty of options available. Most people take it via capsules, which is the form in which most nutrition stores and pharmacies sell it. It is also available as a powder and a liquid extract, so you can add it to food and beverages.
There are plenty of natural ways to relieve stress and anxiety, including maintaining a balanced diet, exercising, speaking with a therapist, and socializing with friends and loved ones. Along with these effective anxiety management methods, consider adding an ashwagandha supplement to your daily routine. It’s easy, effective, and it may be just what you need to live a life that isn’t dominated by stress and anxiety.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
- Looking to take up clarinet? Items to help you get started
- Here’s how doctors say you should treat diastasis recti
- 4 delicious natural energy drinks you can make at home
- What you need to know about taking ashwagandha for stress and anxiety
- What you need to know about taking iron supplements if you’re fatigued