Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb is part of the nightshade family and its name comes from the Sanskrit words “ashva,” meaning horse, and “gandha,” meaning smell. The herb is native to India and North Africa and has a long history of use as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. Today, ashwagandha is most commonly used as a natural treatment for anxiety and stress. But does it actually work? Let’s take a look at the science behind this popular herbal remedy.
The major component of ashwagandha that is responsible for its stress-relieving properties is an active compound known as withanolide. Withanolide works by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body, such as cortisol. In one study, participants who took withanolide supplements for eight weeks had significantly lower levels of cortisol than those who did not take the supplements.
In addition to reducing stress hormone levels, withanolide also helps to protect the brain against the damaging effects of stress. This is because withanolide helps to reduce inflammation in the brain and promote the growth of new neurons. One study showed that rats who were given withanolide supplements prior to being exposed to stress had less brain damage and better cognitive function than those who did not receive the supplements.
How Does Ashwagandha Work?
The best ashwagandha supplements are thought to work by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol is released in response to stress and has many important functions, including regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, high levels of cortisol can have negative effects, such as weight gain, fatigue, and anxiety. Therefore, reducing cortisol levels can help reduce these symptoms.
A number of studies support the claim that ashwagandha can help reduce cortisol levels. One study showed that people who took 600 milligrams of ashwagandha daily for 60 days had lower levels of Cortisol than those who took a placebo. Another study showed that people who took 300 milligrams of ashwagandha daily for 8 weeks had lower levels of cortisol than those who took a placebo.
While these studies suggest that ashwagandha can help reduce cortisol levels, more research is needed to confirm these results.
In addition to cortisol-reducing effects, ashwagandha may also have other benefits for stress and anxiety relief. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.. GABA helps decrease anxiety and promotes relaxation.. One study showed that people who took 600 milligrams of ashwagandha per day for 60 days had higher levels of GABA than those who took a placebo..
In general, the data suggests that ashwagandha can be an effective natural treatment for anxiety and stress. The herb is effective because it lowers levels of hormones that are released in response to stress and protects the brain from the negative effects of stress. If you are seeking a natural way to alleviate tension and anxiety, giving ashwagandha a shot might be something you want to consider.