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Is Ashwagandha Good for Anxiety?

Ashwagandha, an ancient herb, may help reduce anxiety. Studies suggest it can lower stress and improve well-being.

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is a popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed to help the body manage stress and anxiety. This article explores the potential benefits and side effects of ashwagandha for anxiety.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body cope with stress. Research shows it can reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. A 2021 study found that ashwagandha significantly reduced stress and anxiety levels in adults. Participants reported feeling less stressed and anxious after taking the herb for six to eight weeks.

Key Benefits:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Lowers cortisol levels
  • Enhances overall well-being

Ashwagandha may also improve sleep quality. People with anxiety often struggle with sleep. Studies suggest that ashwagandha can help them fall asleep quicker and sleep longer. This herb may also lower cortisol, a stress hormone, which can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

How Ashwagandha Works

Ashwagandha contains withanolides, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-stress properties. These compounds help regulate the body’s stress response. By reducing cortisol levels, ashwagandha can help manage anxiety and improve mood.

Mechanisms:

  • Reduces cortisol levels
  • Enhances GABA activity
  • Modulates the HPA axis

The herb also enhances the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. This can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Additionally, ashwagandha modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates the body’s stress response.

Dosage and Safety

The recommended dosage of ashwagandha varies. Most studies suggest taking 500 to 600 milligrams per day for six to eight weeks. It is essential to follow the recommended dosage to avoid side effects.

Dosage Guidelines:

  • 500-600 mg per day
  • Take for 6-8 weeks
  • Follow recommended dosage

Ashwagandha is generally safe for most people. However, it can cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects include upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

Potential Side Effects

While ashwagandha is considered safe, it can cause side effects in some people. These side effects are usually mild and include digestive issues and headaches. In rare cases, it can cause liver problems.

Common Side Effects:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Ashwagandha may also interact with certain medications. It can affect thyroid hormone levels and interact with medications for diabetes and blood pressure. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid ashwagandha.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha may help reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. It is an adaptogen that helps the body cope with stress. While generally safe, it can cause side effects in some people. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

For more information, you can read about the benefits of ashwagandha on Psych Central and Healthline.

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