Ashwagandha & Anxiety
Ashwagandha, botanically known as Withania somnifera, is wonderful herb for the whole body. I tend to use it more for the nervous system and immune system, using the root mainly, but the leaf and berries can also be used. It can be prepared as a powder, a decoction or a tincture.
Historically, Ashwagandha has long been used in India and Africa. We’ve talked about how long many herbs have been used and in the written text form, ashwagandha dates roughly 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. It is also one of the herbs we refer to as an adaptogen. One aspect I love about adaptogens is that they are long term use herbs and make a wonderful addition to daily diets and habits.
Therapeutic Actions: So what effect does ashwagandha have on the body?
- Adaptogen – favorably modifying the stress response
- anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation in the body
- antioxidant – enhances the body system’s scavenging of free radicals
- anxiolytic – anti-anxiety
- immunomodulator – affects the immune system and regular immune function
- cardioprotective – enhances cardiac tone/function
- Nervine – strengthens functional activity of the nervous system
Ashwagandha is known for its ability to both strengthen and calm the nervous system. Last week we covered Passion flower and its ability to calm anxieties and its usefulness with insomnia. Ashwagandha is similar in that it is a sedative and supports healthy sleep cycles while decreasing anxiety and soothing the nervous system. It also helps build tissue and support overall health and can help people regain their strength.
Over the years I have used ashwagandha for a variety of conditions. For example, I use it for those with debilitating exhaustion who don’t need stimulants but instead need deep rest. Caffeine is the worst thing you can consume if this describes you. It is the equivalent of kicking a dead horse.
Ashwagandha is an immunomodulating herb, which means it has the ability to support the health of the immune system. This is one of the reasons I use it with those who have a history of chronic infections. In powder form it can easily be added to smoothies and such to heal the gut. Another wonderful reason for ashwagandha is if you have a history of getting every upper respiratory virus that comes near you.
Additional conditions in which I have used Ashwagandha:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Low Libido
- Some Degenerative Diseases
- Certain Types of Asthma
- And Occasionally Insulin Resistance
Caution: Pregnancy, or if taking barbiturates.
Now while ashwagandha is generally safe, don’t get crazy with it, or really any herb. Our diets play a huge role in our health and should be our starting point. Think nutrient density, fiber, water and physical exercise.
Each of us has a different story so our current health depends on the person and the situation. If you have a lot of health issues, ask your ND, Herbalist or practitioner about using ashwagandha or other herbs you are unsure of. They will be able to guide you in this.
Products: Gut & Adrenal Repair
*For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.