I came across ashwagandha a couple of years ago after I came to the conclusion that my anxiety wasn’t a mental issue but rather an adrenal gland issue. It started to make sense that mental disorders, like depression and anxiety, are often a result of a hormonal issue. I started looking for supplements that support or calm the adrenal glands. I began taking ashwagandha and my life changed. It stopped the feeling that impending doom was around every corner. It stopped the obsessive thoughts that kept me awake. It gave me a sense of calm I have never before experienced. I have been on Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Xanax, and none of them even came close to what ashwagandha has done for me especially with no side effects. It is good to see there is scientific data supporting what I know works amazingly well.
Is Ashwagandha Good for Anxiety & Depression?
Ashwagandha, or “Winter Cherry,” is an adaptogen herb commonly used in ayurvedic medicine, a holistic form of medicine that originated from India. Ashwagandha appears to contain restorative and rejuvenating qualities as well as anti-inflammatory properties. The makers of Clarocet NRI, a product that uses winter cherry as one of its ingredients, claim the ashwagandha root can be used to treat mental and physical fatigue, nervousness, tension, anxiety, depression, and mild to moderate mood swings caused by stress.
Ashwagandha, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is an herb made from the roots of a small evergreen shrub that is native to India, northern Africa and the Middle East but since has been cultivated across the United States. With its active compounds, specifically the alkaloids, steroidal lactones, saponins, and withanolides, ashwaghanda has anti-anxiety, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-arthritic properties that may be effective in reducing stress caused by physical and emotional fatigue; increasing mental alertness, focus and concentration; relieving nervous tension and anxiety; invigorating the body; decreasing inflammation and balancing out and leveling mood swings, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Ashwagandha is most often found in capsule form and usually needs to be consumed for two to six weeks before the benefits can be noticed.
Anxiety is marked by a feeling of worry, fear or apprehension that can cause a great deal of stress. Individuals who suffer from anxiety and anxiety related disorders often seek treatment because the severity of their feelings begin to affect their everyday life. Ashwaghanda, with its calming, relaxing, and sedative effects may help treat and relieve anxiety without having to use a prescribed medication. In a study published in the August 2009 issue of the medical journal “PLoS One,” researchers found that ashwagandha was an effective and safe naturopathic option to help alleviate anxiety. During this study, participants with moderate to severe anxiety of longer than six weeks’ duration were given either naturopathic care consisting of dietary counseling, deep breathing relaxation techniques, a standard multivitamin and 300 mg of ashwagandha or standardized psychotherapy intervention, which included psychotherapy, deep breathing relaxation techniques and a placebo over 12 weeks time. The participants who received naturopathic care including the ashwagandha supplement found significant improvements to their mental health, concentration, fatigue levels, social functioning, vitality, and overall quality of life compared to the participants who had psychotherapy and the placebo. In fact, on the Beck Anxiety Inventory form, those participants who consumed the ashwagandha decreased their scores more than 26 percent than those who just took the placebo. In another study published in…Click below for the full article.