Why Taking Ashwagandha Can Relieve Anxiety
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an ancient herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to promote mental and physical well-being. It is particularly known for its ability to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. In this guide, we will explore the science behind why ashwagandha can be effective in relieving anxiety.
One of the main reasons why ashwagandha can help with anxiety is because it regulates the levels of stress hormones in the body. When we are under stress, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol, which is responsible for the "fight or flight" response. High levels of cortisol can lead to feelings of anxiety and can also contribute to other health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and help the body manage stress more effectively.
Another way ashwagandha can help with anxiety is by regulating the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that communicate information between nerve cells and play a critical role in regulating mood and emotions. Anxiety is often caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and GABA. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase the activity of GABA, which helps to calm the mind and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Ashwagandha has also been shown to have an antidepressant effect. Studies have found that ashwagandha can help to alleviate symptoms of depression by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood. This is important because anxiety and depression often occur together and treating one can help to alleviate the symptoms of the other.
In addition to its effects on the brain and hormones, ashwagandha has been shown to have a number of other health benefits that can contribute to reducing anxiety. For example, ashwagandha has been shown to improve sleep, which is important for managing anxiety because lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Ashwagandha has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can help to protect the body against the negative effects of stress.
It's important to note that Ashwagandha supplements are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women and people taking blood-thinning medication, or have thyroid disorders should consult with their doctor before taking Ashwagandha.
In summary, ashwagandha is an ancient herb that can be effective in relieving anxiety due to its ability to regulate stress hormones, neurotransmitters, and improve sleep, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. If you're looking for a natural way to manage your anxiety, ashwagandha may be worth considering. However, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you're taking medication or have a pre-existing health condition.
Nataly Komova, fitness and nutritionist expert
Human Nutrition & Health, BSc Hons