Popularly known as winter cherry, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a widely used herb due to its numerous medicinal and restorative properties.
Ashwagandha protects cells from oxidative damage and stress-related diseases such as depression, high blood pressure and cardiovascular conditions. Being an adaptogen, it improves a person’s ability to cope with stress.[1,2,3,4,5,6] It also improves lower limb muscular strength and neuro-muscular co-ordination.
Besides this, ashwagandha’s antimicrobial properties and antibacterial activities protect against potentially dangerous bacteria, including Salmonella—a bacteria that causes food poisoning.
Ashwagandha For Anxiety
Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil that can manifest as a panic attack, phobia or depression. In a study done on 64 subjects with a history of chronic anxiety and stress, people taking 300mg of ashwagandha root powder extract for 60 days experienced less anxiety, improved their resistance towards stress and improved the quality of life.
Two other clinical studies found that ashwagandha exhibited anxiolytic properties (antianxiety) and people who took it had improved mental health and overall quality of life.[10,11]
How To Take It
Ashwagandha can be taken as a fluid extract or supplement. Talk to a naturopath to determine the correct dosage for you. Drinking a cup of hot milk containing a teaspoon of powdered ashwagandha before bedtime is also beneficial in relieving anxiety. You can buy ashwagandha powder here.
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2. Panossian A, Wikman G. Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009;4:198–219.
3. Bhattacharya SK, Muruganandam AV. Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: An experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;75:547–55.
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7. Sandhu JS, Shah B, Shenoy S, Chauhan S, Lavekar GS, Padhi MM. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010 Jul;1(3):144-9. doi: 10.4103/0974-7788.72485.
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9. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. 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. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PubMed PMID: 23439798; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3573577.
10. Cooley K, Szczurko O, Perri D, Mills EJ, Bernhardt B, Zhou Q, Seely D. Naturopathic care for anxiety: a randomized controlled trial ISRCTN78958974. PLoS One. 2009 Aug 31;4(8):e6628. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006628. PubMed PMID: 19718255; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2729375.
11. Andrade C, Aswath A, Chaturvedi SK, Srinivasa M, Raguram R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian J Psychiatry. 2000 Jul;42(3):295-301. PubMed PMID: 21407960; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2958355.