Friday, March 11, 2022

One herb you May Not Know About for Anxiety and Calmness- Ashwagandha 

One of the most serious problems with people today is anxiety. Most families have no idea about their jobs, food costs, rising rents and it all creates horrible anxiety in many people. In my other recent blogs, I have written on some lifestyle changes to reduce anxiety but sometimes we need more help. There are several herbs that can help with anxiety.  One of the main ones I am going to talk about today is Ashwagandha. It is an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in India.  You many not of heard of it because of that.   

Ashwagandha grows as a small woody shrub in areas from Africa and the Mediterranean into India and the Far East.  It is most of the most important and revered herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. 

                                        Ashwagandha Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen meaning it is really safe to take and has a positive influence over the whole body and how it works.  It is a calming adaptogen for the whole system. It is helpful for arthritis inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, respiratory problems, nervous health problems and immuno-compromising diseases including TB, AIDS and many others. It is especially valuable in the diseases of aging.  

It has similar properties to the Russian adaptogens eleuthero and Panax ginseng in alternative medicine. It has anti-stress properties that calm down the changes in the body that occur with stress such as blood sugar changes, heart changes and rising cortisol production.  

Ashwagandha stimulates the thyroid and enhances endocrine function. It also helps to balance the adrenals, thyroid, and testes. In some countries it is used to help restore male hormone issues. 

There are some  very well designed human research studies from India that back up its benefit for anxiety and other health problems.

It is suggested you begin with 300 mg of the whole powder to begin with up to 3000 mg is a typical dose of this herb.  If you have purchased a standardized extract, 100 to 1000 mg is suggested. 

Pregnant women should not take this herb.  I

t is the root not the leaves that is used.  It does not taste great so I would suggest you either put it is smoothie or take it in capsule form.  

These suggested dosages stated above come from the expert book on this subject, Adaptogens for Medical Herbalism by Donald Yance, CN, MH, RH (AHG) which is one of my medical herbalism manuals that is for alternative medicine doctors. 

This book above contains 700 pages and goes into health and all the main adaptogens with pages of details on how each work works, how it is used and dosages. It is an amazing comprehensive book on the subjects. I use it all the time in my work. When you buy an herb, the company who manufactures that herb cannot give you information on what the herb is used for and how much to take for different health issues. 

You must buy a book such as the one I just listed above to find out that information. If the herb manufacturer listed that information, he would have his company shut down by the AMA and FDA for selling a drug that is not approved by the FDA.  

I would suggest here you consult with a holistic doctor if possible educated on Ayurvedic herbs to help you with your path to overcoming your anxiety. People are very complicated in the way their particular body works. Each individual is different and their body is different in what it needs to get healthy and well again. . One person may feel the calming effect at 300mg of Ashwagandha, where another might take up to  3000 mg.  It is best to start out at the lowest dosage in case you are sensitive to that herb. You then up the dosage over a couple of weeks until you see if it is helping. Herbs take time and it could be several days or weeks before you see improvement.  This herb comes from India so buy it from a company who lists that it is tested for heavy metals and contamination. That is extremely important for your health.

Do not use Ashwagandha with sedatives or anti-depressants without the supervision of a doctor or alternative medicine doctor since it is hard to tell how they would interact with each other. Do not use if pregnant.

Ashwagandha is rich in iron so if you have hemochromatosis which is an excess of iron in the blood. If you are low in iron it is a great food to increase you iron levels.

This herb improves thyroid and endocrine function so don't take it if you hyperthyroid conditions.

If you are allergic to nightshade plants, go very carefully with this one.

Ashwagandha can either increase or decrease the effect of barbiturate's.

I am going to list the next book in my personal library which I refer to frequently for more information and for dosages as well. It is easy for you to read but with lots of detail and  direction for the different adaptogen herbs and their dosages. 

The best book for dosage is the first book I listed above. This book has information on the adaptogens you can use on your animals and dosage for animals. It is a highly valuable book for that information.

Adaptogen Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief 

by David Winston and Steven Maimes


This is all for today. I hope this blog will help you in your path to wellness.

Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin

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