How Does Ashwagandha Help Anxiety?

How Does Ashwagandha Help Anxiety?

Welcome to a deep dive into one of the most celebrated herbs in Ayurvedic medicine: Ashwagandha. Also known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, this natural wonder has been used for centuries to combat various ailments. In recent years, Ashwagandha supplements have gained popularity as a dietary supplement, especially for reducing stress and anxiety. This blog will explore how Ashwagandha helps with anxiety, the scientific support behind its use, and some tips for incorporating this herb into your wellness routine.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is a small shrub with yellow flowers, native to India and Southeast Asia. It is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine, where it's been used as a general tonic and "adaptogen" – a substance believed to help the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical, or biological.

The Effects of Ashwagandha on Anxiety

Clinical Trials and Research

Recent studies, including clinical trials and systematic reviews, have systematically analyzed the effects of Ashwagandha on anxiety levels. A notable systematic review and meta-analysis focused on several randomized controlled trials where participants were given Ashwagandha extracts and compared to a placebo group. These studies typically lasted for about 12 weeks and provided valuable insights into the herb's efficacy.

How Does It Work?

Ashwagandha is thought to help mitigate anxiety by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. Specifically, it appears to modulate serotonin levels, which play a key part in your mood balance, and significantly reduce cortisol levels – commonly known as the stress hormone.

In one of the clinical trials, subjects taking an Ashwagandha supplement daily reported a significant reduction in anxiety compared to those in the placebo group. Not just that, but their cortisol levels were also notably lower, suggesting a direct effect on stress markers in the body.

Key Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Reduction in Stress and Anxiety

One of the most pronounced benefits of Ashwagandha is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Users and studies alike report that taking Ashwagandha daily can lead to noticeable improvements in how they handle stress and anxiety. The reduction in cortisol levels after regular consumption helps stabilize moods and decrease anxiety levels.

Ashwagandha has been traditionally used to promote better sleep. The root contains a compound known as triethylene glycol, which has been shown to induce sleep. Studies suggest that Ashwagandha can improve overall sleep quality by helping individuals fall asleep faster, reduce instances of waking up during the night, and enhance the overall restfulness of sleep. This makes it a valuable supplement for those struggling with insomnia or irregular sleep patterns.

  • Enhanced Cognitive Function

Research indicates that Ashwagandha may have neuroprotective properties, which can enhance cognitive function. This includes better brain function, improved memory, and higher concentration levels. This benefit is particularly relevant as cognitive decline is a common concern among the aging population. Regular intake of Ashwagandha might help mitigate the risk of brain degenerative diseases and improve brain health in general.

  • Increased Energy Levels and Physical Performance

Ashwagandha is often touted for its ability to boost energy and improve stamina. It helps in better management of fatigue and increases vitality in individuals. Additionally, some studies have found that Ashwagandha can enhance physical performance by improving heart and lung capacity while increasing energy levels during physical activity. This makes it a popular supplement among athletes and those involved in physical fitness.

  • Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties

The anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha make it beneficial in managing and reducing inflammation in the body, particularly for those suffering from conditions like arthritis. Furthermore, its antioxidant properties help combat oxidative stress and promote overall health by neutralizing free radicals that can cause cellular damage and lead to chronic diseases.

  • Supports Heart Health

Ashwagandha may contribute to cardiovascular health in several ways. It can help to lower high blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol levels, and improve heart health by strengthening the heart muscles and improving blood circulation. These cardiovascular benefits make Ashwagandha a holistic supplement for long-term health maintenance.

  • Immune System Booster

Regular consumption of Ashwagandha has been linked to increased immunity. The herb is believed to enhance the body’s resilience against various illnesses by boosting immune function. It may increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells, which improves the body’s ability to fight off common colds, flu, and other infections.

  • Helps Manage Weight and Improve Metabolism

Ashwagandha might also aid in weight management. Its adaptogenic properties can help reduce cortisol levels, which are often associated with weight gain. By managing stress and anxiety, Ashwagandha can indirectly help prevent stress-eating and promote a healthier lifestyle and metabolic rate.

  • Hormonal Balance

This herb has been shown to help regulate critical hormones that affect mood, fertility, and energy levels. For women, Ashwagandha may be particularly beneficial in balancing hormones during menopause and alleviating symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings.

  • Support for Mental Health and Mood Enhancement

Ashwagandha's ability to lower cortisol levels can significantly affect overall mood stabilization. It helps reduce symptoms of depression and mood disorders by promoting a calm and relaxed state of mind. This mental health support is crucial for maintaining daily well-being and managing the stresses of modern life.

Long Term Advantages

While the immediate effects of Ashwagandha on anxiety are notable, it's also important to consider its long-term benefits. Regular use of Ashwagandha as part of a balanced diet might help maintain a calm and focused mind and a reduction in overall stress levels.

How to Use Ashwagandha

If you're considering adding this herb to your diet, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional first, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking other medications. Ashwagandha can be found in several forms:

  • Capsules/Tablets: Typically contains powdered Ashwagandha root or extract.
  • Powders: Can be mixed with water, milk, or smoothies.
  • Teas: A gentle way to ingest the herb and enjoy its benefits.

The recommended dosage of Ashwagandha varies depending on the form and concentration of the product, but a general guideline is about 300-500 mg of extract per day.

Potential Side Effects

Like any supplement, Ashwagandha can cause side effects in some people. While it is generally well tolerated, some individuals might experience mild to moderate side effects such as headache, sleepiness, or an upset stomach, especially when taken in large doses.


The calming and stress-reducing effects of Ashwagandha have been supported by numerous studies and centuries of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Whether you are battling with anxiety or simply looking for a natural way to reduce stress, Ashwagandha might be worth considering. However, always remember the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

In conclusion, Ashwagandha offers a promising natural alternative for those looking to manage anxiety and stress. By integrating this supplement into your daily routine, you may experience a significant improvement in your overall mental health and quality of life. Give it a try – with the right approach and expectations, Ashwagandha could be an excellent addition to your wellness toolkit.

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