Ashwagandha. Is it really nature’s Xanax?

Ashwagandha. Is it really nature’s Xanax?

Fall has hit and chaos has ensued. As much as I love the change of season and getting back into a normal routine my anxiety has ramped right back up as kids are back to school and things at SWW™ are off to a running start. Although rest is the best form of medicine when coping with stress, I find it is helpful to have other tools in my toolbelt to help me function at full capacity. Ashwagandha is one of them. 

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an Aryuvedic herb from India, the Middle East and parts of Africa. It is an evergreen shrub, part of the nightshade family, and the root of the plant is used for medicine. It has MANY beneficial roles in the body but is best known as an “adaptogen” meaning it helps the body cope with stress. A miracle herb in my book! If you have anxious thoughts and you can’t sleep at night then this is your herb. I find it helps me feel grounded and calm in situations where I normally feel very anxious. 

Ashwagandha does this through a few different methods: 

  • It prevents excess secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol, so you feel less “tired and wired”. 
  • It elevates the calming chemical, GABA, so you feel more calm rather than anxious. 

As a consequence it:

  • Improves sleep
  • Supports a healthy mood
  • Decreases stress-related symptoms
  • Enhances libido (really the best bonus!) 

How do you use it? 

There are several ways you can integrate ashwagandha into your daily routine. You can consume ashwagandha as a loose herb and make a strong tea. You can take it as a tincture and have 2-3 dropper fulls throughout the day or you can add 1 tsp of ashwagandha powder to coffee and drinks. You can take it at any time of day.

You will find the most benefit after consuming it consistently! Taking it as a one off really won’t provide you with much support.  

It is a potent herb so you want to cycle your intake. We recommend six weeks of regular intake, followed by two weeks off.  Repeat. 

Who should avoid it? 

  • If you are dealing with chronic fatigue and struggle to get out of bed in the morning. It may make you feel more tired. 
  • If pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you have an allergy to nightshades.
  • If you are on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. Please speak with your medical provider first.  

I discovered this herb a long time ago when dealing with some personal traumatic stressors. Not to be cheesy but this herb felt like a warm hug from a close friend after the very worst day. It got me through that stressful season and made sure I still showed up for my life on a daily basis. Stress is no joke. I hope you discover the same support!