We all struggle with stress at one time or another. A big presentation, financial pressure, or losing a job can lead to stress and anxiety. Hair falls out or goes gray. The weight piles on.
Though it seems to creep in automatically, we can’t expect anxiety and stress to go away on its own. We have to work on it. Looking for an easy way to reduce stress? One option to try is ashwagandha, a healing plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family.
What is Ashwagandha?
This root is popular in Ayurvedic medicine (Indian medicine) and has been used for over 3,000 years. It’s known for a number of benefits, including thyroid regulation, battling anxiety and stress, helping depression, and decreasing inflammation.
It’s an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body cope with stress.
Ayurveda uses it as a sleep aid and to balance various conditions that arise from ‘vata dosha’ imbalances. It encourages youth and vitality and considered a grounding and nourishing herb to support well-being.
Can Ashwagandha Reduce Stress & Anxiety?
This root, also known as Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry, caught my attention from the number of studies showing great results to anxiety and stress. The benefits found are impressive, without any notable side effects.
One study with 64 people who struggled with stress showed significant improvement in stress levels over a 60 day period. These results were from taking 300mg of high concentration extract per day. 
In a different study, 88% of participants with anxiety disorders reported an reduction in anxiety compared to 50% who took a placebo. 
In a double-blind, randomized study ashwagandha, reduced experiential and biochemical indicators of stress without any adverse effects. 
Here are some of the studied benefits of ashwagnha:
- reduces stress and anxiety
- decreases c-reactive protein levels
- decreases cortisol
- improves memory formation
- may help with neurodegenerative diseases
Ashwagandha might be the most researched and beneficial herb given it’s strong track record showing positive results for those struggling with stress and anxiety. It is believed to be a safe supplement for long-term use, without major side effects.
Where Can I Buy Ashwagandha?
Supplements with ashwagandha root powder are easy to find. They often range from 200 mg to 1,000 mg of ashwagandha root per serving.
There are many Ashwagandha options on Amazon, many with stellar reviews.
You can also buy the root powder (cheaper) by the ounce from companies such as Mountain Rose Herb. At Mountain Rose Herb, you can get an ounce for $2.50, which is just about a month supply if you are taking 1,000 mg per day.
Other supplements such as Calm Now, mix ashwagandha with B-vitamins and other herbs to reduce stress and anxiety. Read my Calm Now review here.
Pregnancy concerns: Ashwagandha is not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It has abortifacient properties which may lead to miscarriage. It’s not worth the risk.
Hyperthyroidism: According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ashwagandha may intensify hyperthyroidism. Many have differing viewpoints, but it’s fair to say, be careful if you have hyperthyroidism.
Medications: Ashwagandha is a mild central nervous system depressant, so it may interact with alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives. If you are under treatment for any medical or psychiatric problems, or take any prescription medications, talk with your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
When in doubt, always listen to your body (and Doctor).