Ashwagandha is an herb that is used in Ayurvedic medicine. The plant is a shrub grown in India and northern Africa, and the roots and leaves are used to make the herb that has been used medicinally since ancient times.
Ashwagandha and Stress
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, which is an herb that decreases stress in people. It has long been used as a sleep aid due to its sedative and anti-stress properties. Research has been done on this herb, and it has been found to have cortisol-lowering effects in people.
One such research study looked at 64 adults who suffered from chronic stress. They were evaluated with pre-study tests and then divided into two groups. One group took a placebo, and the other took high-concentration ashwagandha extract for 60 days. The study was double-blind, meaning that neither the participants nor the researchers were aware of whether each person was taking a placebo or ashwagandha.
Cortisol levels of people in both groups were compared before and after the 60 day period. They were also evaluated with stress assessment tests before and after the treatment period. Those people who took ashwagandha had significant reductions in both serum cortisol levels and stress scores on the assessment tests when compared to those who took a placebo (K Chandrasekhar, 2013).
Other studies have shown similar results, indicating that ashwagandha can decrease a person’s stress.
Ashwagandha is traditionally used to decrease stress, improve memory, increase libido, and fight insomnia, among other things. While it is generally regarded as safe, it’s crucial that you check with your healthcare provider before you begin this or any supplement because herbs can affect other medications and are sometimes counter-indicated when certain disease processes are present. Ashwagandha may not be safe for people with diabetes, thyroid disease, and autoimmune disorders. Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid ashwagandha because it is known to cause uterine contractions and its safety in infants hasn’t been established.
You can learn more here: “Treating Stress Naturally with Ashwagandha.”
- K Chandrasekhar, J. K. (2013, Jan. 14). 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. Retrieved from Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine: DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022.