Ashwagandha May Reduce Anxiety and Stress

From Dr. Joseph Mercola (

Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic* herb that helps your body manage and adapt to stress by balancing your immune system, metabolism, and hormonal systems. Its anti-inammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic, and rejuvenating properties makes it one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine.

[*Adaptogens are natural substances considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.]

Compared to placebo, ashwagandha has been shown to signicantly reduce symptoms of stress in those with a history of chronic stress. While perceived stress scale (PSS) scores in the control group declined by a modest 5.5% over 60 days, the treatment group receiving ashwagandha had a 44% reduction in PSS scores.

While generally safe and well-tolerated, ashwagandha is contraindicated for, and should not be used by pregnant women, breastfeeding women, or people taking sedatives.

Cognitive Benefits of Ashwagandha

From Dr. Edward Group (

In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the primary uses of ashwagandha root extract is to enhance memory and improve brain function. One of the mechanisms responsible for this effect is ashwagandha’s antioxidant action. Since oxidative stress contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, lessening oxidative damage may offer neuroprotection.

Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha root extract on rats and found that it may prevent some instances of memory impairment and oxidative stress on the brain.


Ashwagandha Dosage

From Dr. Josh Axe (

Start with a low dose of ashwagandha and gradually increase as needed. Most experts recommend starting with a dose of about 300 to 500 milligrams per day of ashwagandha extract (with withanolides in the range of 5 to 10 percent.) A full dose of ashwagandha would be between 1,000–1,500 milligrams per day of extract.

With ashwagandha dried root instead of extract, a typical dosage is about three to six grams per day.

A high but typically safe dose of ashwagandha can be up to 6,000 milligrams per day. However, around 1,250 milligrams is a safer dosage to experiment with, since this amount has been shown to be safe in studies. In some instances, lower ashwagandha doses ranging about 100 to 250 milligrams per day have also been shown to be helpful for strengthening the immune system.

Most people choose to take divided doses, such as  smaller doses two to three times per day. If you choose to take a full dose all at once (usually in the range of 300–500 mg of a root extract) it’s recommended you take the herb with meals, ideally in the morning with breakfast.

Some of the many uses for ashwagandha include:

Helping decrease inflammation and protect against oxidative damage

Acting as a natural stress reliever, such as by helping maintain homeostasis even in moments of emotional or physical stress

Lowering cortisol levels (considered one of the body’s main stress hormones)

Balancing thyroid hormones

Strengthening the immune system after illness

Enhancing stamina and physical performance and building muscle strength

Treating adrenal fatigue

Improving sleep quality

Reducing anxiety and depression

Reducing brain cell degeneration

Normalizing blood sugar and helping to protect against diabetes

Lowering cholesterol and triglycerides

Potentially helping prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer

Boosting fertility, including by improving sperm count in males

Managing symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)


**This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice of any kind. Our readers are encouraged to do their own research and consult their physicians for medical advice.

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