Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In recent years, it has gained popularity in the West as a natural treatment for anxiety and stress. But does it really work? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind ashwagandha to find out.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a small shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and Africa. The root and berries of the plant are used to make medicine. Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, stress, and arthritis.
In recent years, ashwagandha has become popular in the West as a natural treatment for anxiety and stress. This is because ashwagandha has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in both animals and humans.
How Does Ashwagandha Work?
Ashwagandha is thought to work by reducing levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress. Cortisol is responsible for many of the negative effects of stress, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and decreased immunity. By reducing cortisol levels, ashwagandha may help to lessen the physical and psychological effects of stress.
In one study, people who took ashwagandha for two months reported a significant reduction in anxiety and insomnia, as well as improved quality of life. Another study found that ashwagandha was just as effective as the antidepressant drug imipramine in reducing symptoms of depression.
Does Ashwagandha Really Work?
There is some scientific evidence to suggest that ashwagandha may be effective in treating anxiety and stress. However, most of this research has been done in animals, so more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.
One study found that ashwagandha was effective in reducing stress and anxiety in people with chronic stress. Another study found that it was effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms in people with bipolar disorder. However, more research is needed before any conclusions can be made.
Is Ashwagandha Safe?
Ashwagandha is generally considered safe when taken in appropriate doses. side effects are rare but may include stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid ashwagandha altogether. If you have any underlying medical conditions, be sure to speak with your doctor before taking ashwagandha or any other supplement.
Studies on Ashwagandha and Anxiety
While there is some anecdotal evidence that ashwagandha may be effective in treating anxiety, there is still more research needed to confirm these claims. A study published in 2012 found that ashwagandha was effective in reducing stress and anxiety in rats. However, this study did not specifically look at anxiety.
A small study published in 2014 found that Ashwagandha may be effective in treating people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This study included 64 participants with GAD who were randomly assigned to take either Ashwagandha or a placebo for 8 weeks. The participants taking Ashwagandha reported significantly lower levels of anxiety than those taking the placebo.
Overall, the research suggests that ashwagandha may be an effective natural treatment for anxiety and stress. If you are considering taking ashwagandha, be sure to speak with your doctor first to ensure it is safe for you and will not interact with any other medications you are taking.
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