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Ashwagandha: Your natural weapon against stress and anxiety disorder

Ashwagandha: Your natural weapon against stress and anxiety disorder
Ashwagandha can help alleviate stress and anxiety in more ways than one. © Shutterstock

Anxiety and stress are states of mind that demand a holistic approach for alleviation. In our country, ayurvedic herbs like ashwagandha have been used for healing the mind for ages. Read on to know how it eases stress and anxiety.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : December 10, 2019 10:33 AM IST

Global data about stress and anxiety disorder suggest that both these mental health conditions are increasing alarmingly. According to Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) Results, in 2017 alone, an estimated 284 million people reported some sort of anxiety disorder which made it the most common neurodevelopmental disorder. Among this entire population afflicted by anxiety disorder, 179 million were women and 105 million were men. The ever-increasing base of the population affected by stress is an equally (if not more) worrisome. The triggers could be anything from work to relationship and peer pressure.

While medical science has solutions for both the conditions, lifestyle modifications and ayurvedic remedies like ashwagandha may work wonders. Stress and anxiety disorder, both are aggravated by our compromised snooze time, among a myriad other factor. Recent research shows that triethylene glycol (TEG) in the water extract of ashwagandha leaf promotes sound sleep, which is essential for a peaceful state of mind.

HOW DOES ASHWAGANDHA HELP?

As already mentioned, there are various ways to deal with stress and anxiety breathing exercises, self-talk, meditation and lot of other stuff. But at times, these self-help techniques might not work. Some people seek medical help and some turn to natural remedies to take care of these chronic conditions. In fact, many get relief from impending stress and anxiety when they take help of Ayurveda. There are a lot of herbs in Ayurveda which help in stress relief but the most effective one among them is Ashwagandha which is also known as Indian Ginseng. Here are few health benefits of ashwagandha.

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There are various studies that claim that ashwagandha helps to ease stress and help control anxiety. It has a host of therapeutic properties that help to boost the physiological and psychological health of a person. The medicinal part is extracted from the roots. Apart from having medicinal and therapeutic properties ashwagandha is also considered to be adaptogenic in nature which means the herb helps in balancing the body's adrenaline functions and regulate the nervous system. All of this helps one to adapt better to a stressful situation and deal better with a bout of anxiety. Here are seven things you need to stop doing when you are stressed.

The herb also helps to regulate the hormonal imbalances that lead to anxiety and increase cortisol levels. It boosts energy and suppresses the production of cortisol when in a stressful situation. It also helps to calm the senses and aid a good sleep in people who suffer from chronic anxiety or stress.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND

Most of the time ashwagandha is given in form of pills to people who suffer from chronic stress and anxiety. In general, ashwagandha pills are available at any leading Ayurveda stores but it is advisable to meet a practitioner first to discuss your problem. Never take the pill without an expert's advice. While there are no reported side-effects of this herb documented till date, one should be cautious with the drug.

Ashwagandha is considered a highly effective and safe herb to treat psychological issues but there are certain conditions when one should prohibit the use of the herb in any form. It is not recommended to take Ashwagandha if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding,
  • Are diabetic
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Suffer from any kind of autoimmune disease,
  • Take certain medications (such as immunosuppressants, thyroid prescriptions or sedatives).