Anxiety and stress are two serious problems for people living in the 21st century. The high pace of life and stressful events often lead to feeling intense or being anxiousness. Everyone is looking for a way to experience relief and peace of mind.

That is why many people resort to looking for natural remedies that could assist in managing stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha root has been a popular herbal medicine in Ayurveda for centuries. Can it assist in making you feel better and calmer? The herb has been a topic of various medicinal research, and here is what the science says!

What Is Ashwagandha Root?

Ashwagandha root has a scientific name Withania somnifera. [1] It owes its fame to Ayurvedic medicine, where it has been used for numerous applications. Practitioners of this medicine prescribe this herb for stress and fatigue, but also GI problems, diabetes, skin diseases, etc.

When it comes to the working process of ashwagandha root, scientific evidence exists, and it can boost GABA production. [2] The herb activates GABA receptors, which is how it can deliver these effects. GABA is the gamma-aminobutyric acid that plays a vital role in optimal sleep patterns and promoting relaxation.

Ashwagandha Root, Anxiety, Stress, and Science

Research Study 1 (Ashwagandha for Anxiety & Fatigue)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718255)

The results of an incredibly intriguing study were published in 2009. [3] Canadian researchers asked 75 participants to go through a trial that lasted approximately eight weeks. The scientists used the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Fatigue Symptom Inventory, and asked the participants to fill out a measure-yourself questionnaire.

The interesting thing is how the researchers divided the participants. The first group received advice on relaxation techniques related to deep breathing, dietary counseling, multivitamin supplements, and ashwagandha root extract. The other group also got tips on deep breathing relaxation, received psychotherapy, and took a placebo medicine.

The reduction in BAI ratings was higher in the group that consumed ashwagandha root.

They showed a reduction in BAI ratings for 56.5% on average, which is double as much as the placebo group (30%).

That leads to the conclusion that it is ashwagandha in combination with vitamins that can assist in managing anxiety in the long run.

Research Study 2 (Ashwagandha for Anxiety & Fatigue)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21407960)

The Indian Journal of Psychiatry conducted a trial regarding ashwagandha root’s anxiolytic properties. [4]

According to the results, those who consumed this herb showed a far better response rate than those in the placebo group.

The researchers analyzed a total of 39 participants over two and six weeks. After six weeks, they noted that 88.2% met the criteria set for a response to treatment. That is considerably higher than 50% reported in the placebo group.

Research Study 3 (Ashwagandha for Anxiety & Chronic Stress)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798)

Another study was conducted in India in 2012, and it also focused on the effectiveness of Withania somnifera on stress and anxiety. [5] The trial included 64 participants who had problems with chronic stress.

Tests and clinical exams confirmed their eligibility for the research. The randomized study included receiving 300 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract daily or a placebo.

The treatment lasted for 60 days, which means it focused on the long-term effectiveness of this plant.

The results proved that the herb is capable of reducing stress.

Those who took the actual ashwagandha had lower stress ratings than the participants who received a placebo. It is worth noting that the release of cortisol hormone was also reduced among ashwagandha-consuming patients. Since cortisol is a hormone that triggers stress, this is a vital indicator that this herb is capable of lowering stress levels.

Research Study 4 (Ashwagandha for Men Infertility & Stress)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19789214)

Infertility is a problem that is bothering many males there. The scientists confirm that stress can contribute to fertility problems. Since ashwagandha root can assist in managing stress, that means it can also be helpful to resolve fertility issues.

A study conducted in 2009 in India analyzed that claim. [6] The researchers picked 60 individuals that were infertile but had an optimal semen quantity. The participants were divided into three groups. The first one included those who reported psychological stress, the second heavy smokers, and the third people that didn’t know why their infertility problems have been happening.  The researchers found 60 more men to be a part of the control group.

The participants received five grams of ashwagandha daily for three months. The comparison of the end and the beginning of the study showed that stress plays a role in fertility. Additionally, ashwagandha showed stress relief, which leads to enhanced semen quality in the participants.

The researchers note that 14% of patients reported their partners got pregnant after the study.

Research Study 5 (Ashwagandha for Chronic Stress)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871210/)

Chronic stress is a serious issue, and it can often lead to weight problems. Many people living a stressful life are dealing with obesity and overweight issues.

Research published in 2018 confirmed that ashwagandha could assist in managing body weight by providing stress relief. [7]

The scientists asked 52 participants who reported chronic stress problems to consume 600 milligrams of ashwagandha daily. After eight weeks, the herb helped them to experience fewer food cravings and reduced stress. While filling a happiness questionnaire, the participants reported they felt happier than before the study started.

Research Study 6 (Ashwagandha for Anxiety)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958355/)

In the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, a study related to ashwagandha and anxiety was published in 2000. [8] This is only one of the studies that confirmed the anxiolytic properties of this herb.

The focus was on participants who reported an anxiety disorder from the ICD-10 group. A total of 20 participants received ashwagandha, and the remaining 19 were given a placebo.

The results showed ashwagandha has anxiolytic potential.

Research Study 7 (Ashwagandha for Anxiety)

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194174)

The same was confirmed in a study published in Phytomedicine. [9]

The results indicate that ashwagandha can be a mood stabilizer in cases of depression and anxiety.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha proves to be a very effective herbal ingredient for anxiety and stress according to science.

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References

  1. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/ashwagandha
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26068424
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718255
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21407960
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19789214
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871210/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958355/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194174

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