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Ashwagandha may reduce anxiety and stress

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • 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-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic and rejuvenating properties makes it one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine
  • Compared to placebo, ashwagandha has been shown to significantly 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
  • A 2014 systematic review of human trials concluded that treatment with ashwagandha “resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases) than placebo in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales”
  • While generally safe and well-tolerated, ashwagandha is contraindicated for, and should not be used by pregnant women, breastfeeding women or people taking sedatives

Known as a multipurpose herb and "rejuvenator" used in ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a plant native to India with a host of bioactive functions.

Ashwagandha is one of the few true adaptogenic herbs that helps your body adapt to stress by balancing your immune system, metabolism and hormonal systems. As noted in the medical review, "Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)":

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