In the past, if you ever mentioned that you were taking supplements, people assumed that meant you had issues. Nowadays, everyone is so obsessed with health and wellness that buying vitamins has become the norm.
One of the trendier vitamins at the moment is ashwagandha. This herb is native to South Asia and North Africa and is believed to help reduce stress and anxiety. It is so popular that celebs like Jennifer Anniston, Emily Weiss, Meghan Markle, and many others are believed to be taking it.
However, many people wonder if the benefits behind this herb truly are magical or if it’s more hype. In this article, we’ll examine the increased use of this herb and what it can really do for your mental health.
Ashwagandha: What is it?
As mentioned, ashwagandha is a plant that grows in North Africa and South Asia. The root and berries of the plant are used in Ayurvedic medicine practices to treat sleep issues, anxiety, asthma, and bipolar disorder, to bring balance, and to increase libido and fertility.
According to the experts, ashwagandha will not counteract the effects of contraceptive pills, which can cause low libido in women.
Why is ashwagandha increasing in popularity?
Stress has become part of our everyday lives, with many of us feeling anxious about technological, political, environmental, and social issues and changes. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the USA. More than 40 million adults in America report having an anxiety disorder. That is 19.1% of the population.
Since prescription medications can cause undesirable side effects, many people are considering more natural treatment options, such as ashwagandha.
Additionally, people are becoming more conscious of caring for their personal well-being and practicing self-care techniques to help them change these feelings associated with stress and anxiety from the inside.
How Does it Work?
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which is a substance that can improve your body’s reaction to stress. The most common form is powder, which can be mixed with your favorite foods and beverages.
When you feel anxious, cortisol levels rise to combat your natural fight/flight mode that naturally kicks in. When you feel anxious for an extended period of time, you can become physically ill. After all, anxiety and other mental health issues can cause insomnia and may also cause problems with your digestion because the energy that your body would typically use to digest food is instead being used to manage cortisol levels.
Why Does Ashwagandha Help with Anxiety?
The primary property in adaptogens such as ashwagandha is that it helps regulate the levels of cortisol in your body, which helps with stress management and mitigates issues with adrenal fatigue.
It can also boost cortisol levels if they are too low. After all, if your cortisol levels are imbalanced in either direction, it can create various issues, such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
In one survey, more than 300 volunteers discussed the efficacy of ashwagandha. This study determined that emotional health was improved by 42%, along with the willingness to engage in social activities. However, it’s important to note that ashwagandha also strengthens and supports our adrenal glands.
How to Take Ashwagandha
Dosage varies based on several factors, including the type of ashwagandha you take.
For example, Jennifer Anniston sprinkles powdered ashwagandha on her food and stirs one teaspoon of it into her tea to experience the calming effects. Meghan Markle is believed to have used the capsule form of ashwagandha when she was getting ready for her wedding. You may also find liquid extract at your local supplement or health food shops. Gummies have also been a new tasty way to supplement it.
Does Ashwagandha have Side Effects?
We’ve already mentioned that you can take ashwagandha while on birth control, but pregnant women are advised against taking this supplement as it may cause early labor.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health did a study that argued that Ayurvedic medicine techniques may cause contact with arsenic, mercury, or lead if the products are not regulated and tested.
Ashwagandha is commonly used in Ayurvedic practices, and though there has been plenty of research involving this herb- it is not regulated. Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns about using it, you’ll want to consult with your medical provider.
Does Ashwagandha Truly Relieve Anxiety?
Many people believe Ayurvedic medicine practices to be “new age,”- but they are still jumping on the bandwagon regarding health and wellness. Ashwagandha is one of the commonly used supplements in Ayurvedic medicine. It has a great reputation for calming your nerves and relieving stress and anxiety.
If you struggle with short-term anxiety, ashwagandha may help you. On the other hand, if you have long-term anxiety or other mental health issues, you’ll want to speak with your medical provider about the best way to address it.
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