Last Updated: May 14, 2021 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Claudia Carberry, RD, MS. Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010.
There are 26 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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Garlic may be a great way to ward off vampires, but it can also do the same for illness. Garlic has compounds that can promote heart health by limiting fats in your blood, relax your muscles, and even lower your blood pressure slightly.  X Research source It can also increase immune function and help control high cholesterol.  X Research source The benefits of garlic are not medically proven and you should always speak to your doctor before using supplements or alternative treatments.  X Research source You may boost your health by incorporating garlic in your diet and by using products made from this vegetable.
With the 8-5 drill of work each day, 5-6 days a week, we accumulate a lot of stress in our bodies and minds. Letting go and relaxing can be difficult. All too often we resort to alcohol and even drugs, whether prescription or illicit. It may be an attempt to self-medicate, either to bring ourselves to rest or to stimulate ourselves out of a constricted existence or constant weariness. We want to feel a sense of normalcy, we want to be able to “breathe,” to feel in touch with our thoughts and feelings, to feel good, calm, strong and rested, not on a constant racing treadmill of panic, stress and fatigue.
Though some nations around the world are reducing the number of days and hours, the work week won’t be changing any time soon; so, most probably, stress will be a constant in our busy lives. Alcohol and drugs are obviously not the solution. Though they temporarily may give the sensation of relief, in the end, the user suffers withdrawal aftermath, depleting the body’s nutritional stores, and only exacerbating the symptoms of stress: all of which increases exhaustion that may lead to mental and physical degeneration, and illness.
The solution to stress and fatigue lies in a balanced approach: managing stress, ridding our organism of excessive stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and too much sugar and sweets, which can deplete precious vitamins and minerals from our bodies and/or induce hyper-activity. Of paramount importance is eating nutritious food, which means abundant in vegetables and fruits, with sufficient sources of protein. A properly balanced diet combined with rest and exercise is the simple formula for good health.
Nutrition is Paramount
Nutrients from food play a major role in every aspect of our health, from mental and physical function and endurance, to mood and emotional stability. For example, a deficiency in the B-complex vitamins can result in extreme nervousness, tension, insomnia, trembling, even an irascibile, quarrelsome mood. Just as the B vitamins are essential to the healthy function of every nerve in our bodies, calcium serves to relax the nerve tissues, while magnesium, also essential to the nerves, takes part in the normal function of the brain and spinal cord.
The best sources of the de-stressor vitamins and minerals are whole foods, though supplements can also help. Whole grain (brown) rice, as just one example, contains all of the B-complex vitamins. Beans and turkey both contain tryptophan, which help induce sleep. Herbs and herbal teas, such as Chamomile, can also help relax the nerves; Valerian root and St. John’s Wort may help restore a happier and more restful disposition.
Garlic Fights Stress and Fatigue
As a restorative herb, garlic can play a major role in balancing a stressful life and a fatigued body. Besides protecting us against a whole host of diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure and hypertension (which already should give us a good measure of relief!!), garlic serves as a tonic, that is, it works to actually REDUCE fatigue and other symptoms of stress in the body. It also works to increase energy levels, improve physical stamina and even extend our life expectancy!
The use of garlic as a tonic was well known even in ancient times. The Egyptians gave garlic to the slaves that built the Pyramids, who, history reports, rebelled when there was a shortage of it. For them garlic was a life saving herb in that it not only helped the slaves resist disease, but restored energy, and reduced fatigue.
Scientific Studies on Garlic
Today, scientific experiments with both mice and human subjects prove the effectiveness of garlic and explain how garlic reduces the effects of stress.
In the early 1980’s, Japanese studies on one thousand human patients with fatigue, depression and anxiety symptoms were given garlic extract along with vitamins for a month. At the end of this period, 50-80 percent of the patients reported relief from their symptoms. In another similar antifatigue experiment, 122 patients with stress related symptoms were given garlic extract and vitamins. Some of the symptoms included, general fatigue, eyestrain, shortness of breath, stiff shoulders, lower back pain, weakness, headache, dizziness, appetite loss, constipation, numbness in the limbs and cold feet and hands. The study lasted for four to eight weeks. At the study’s conclusion, 90.7 percent of patients reported an improvement in their fatigue. Another 85.7 percent improved in general physical discomfort, including 82.5 percent for lower back pain, and 83.3 percent for coldness of the limbs. Part of the group took the garlic and vitamins for four weeks and the other part for eight weeks. The group that took the garlic extract for the longer period of time reported the most improvement. This study was repeated with the same results, showing that symptoms either disappeared or became minor. And, again, those who took the garlic and vitamin supplments for the longest period of time, showed the greatest improvement, especially in overcoming weakness and fatigue.
More recent research by Dr. Benjamin Lau of the Loma Linda University in California, documents and scientifically confirms the benefits of using garlic to reduce stress and fatigue. Dr. Benjamin Lau, M.D., Ph.D. is a professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Surgery at the University’s School of Medicine. His book on the subject, Garlic and You: The Modern Medicine, was first published in 1996 and has a new edition out in 2010.
More research is still needed to better understand the actual mechanism by which garlic reduces fatigue. Nevertheless, there is evidence suggesting that the adrenal glands’ response to stress is somehow affected by garlic, reducing the amount of stress hormones produced, and thus reducing fatigue. Garlic’s anti-oxidant properties also play a role in fighting fatigue-causing free radicals; in particular is the mineral selenium, which garlic contains in the highest amounts among foods.
Eat Garlic and live to be a Hundred!
By reducing stress and increasing our energy, garlic also helps us live longer. In Dr. John Heinerman’s book, The Healing Benefits of Garlic, he recounts a survey taken of 8,500 people who had lived to over one hundred years of age. Two foods in particular stood out in a list of their eating habits, onions and GARLIC!! Truly, when consistently included in a healthy diet and lifestyle, garlic can be our life-boosting tonic and lifelong saving grace!
Incorporating Garlic into Your Meals
- Garlic can be added to taste to just about any meal. In food, it is safe for children and pregnant or nursing women. 
- Avoid high-temperature stir frying of garlic. 
- Don’t use a microwave when cooking with garlic. This reduces the allicin produced. 
- For a quick meal sauté garlic with vegetables. For example, sauté some fresh spinach and add the crushed garlic when the spinach is nearly done. Remove from heat and sprinkle lemon juice over the spinach-garlic mixture.
- You can add a variety of leafy greens in addition to spinach.
- Garlic can be added to a wide variety of foods. Add the crushed garlic to mashed potatoes and simply stir it in.
- Add crushed garlic to the top of any meat about five to 10 minutes before the meat is removed from the heat. Heat makes the garlic more mild.
Being a woman with multi positions and tasks. Working fulltime in daytime (weekday) in corporate office and struggling ‘working’ fulltime at home as wife and mother of 2 🙂
Majority of us may have experienced stress due to many reasons. Stress does not only targeted to ‘income generator’ but also non-income generator and this could be due to lifestyle.
There are various ways that people chooses to release stress. As for myself I chose exercising at gym. After sweating then proceed to nice bath, blowing hair and all fresh to go home to face another lifestyle of babysitting lovely children at night. That’s being a woman life – daytime working corporate and night time as mother and maid 🙂
Stress may also caused by toxic which may comes from chemical-packed entrées, main dishes, the extras, sugary desserts, drinks, nutritionally deficient calories from many processed foods, not just cookies and chips etc
Dietary ammunition is needed: getting all the micro-nutrients that will help. Garlic (and green onions) is a really great source of these!
Fight toxins in all forms that cause faster aging (accumulated, irreversible cellular damage with possible loss of function) and hinder correct or fast healing. Garlic can act as one food warrior in your approach to tackling stressors, as a storied super-food that may make a serious contribution toward detoxifying your body while boosting your mood. Here are some suggestions for using garlic as a flavorful seasoning with healthy implications.
1. Take garlic for your upper-respiratory problems. Improve breathing and resist or minimize cold and flu germs with garlic. Garlic contains allicin and alliin, chemically active compounds that researchers have found kill germs directly and stimulate the immune system to release killer cells which can target cold and flu germs. In order to reap these benefits though, you’ll need to be consuming garlic regularly, and probably at least one bulb a day.
2. Consume garlic for heart health. Garlic has been found helpful for the heart and circulation in two ways so far. First, its sulfur compounds (diallyl, disulfide (DADS)) help to promote blood flow by preventing the platelets from sticking together and clotting. Second, it lowers levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Overall, garlic increases the body’s level of antioxidants which also helps to lower heart disease.
3. Use garlic as a possible form of protection against cancer. Research has shown the ability of garlic to prevent cell changes that can cause cancer , to stop tumor growth, and to kill cancer cells. Its role in boosting or supporting your immune system is possibly part of its power against cancer.
4. Take garlic to activate liver enzymes that support your toxin filtration system. Garlic is considered to be good for fighting sickness because of enzymes that support your filtration system. Known as a “prebiotic”, garlic can help the growth of “good” bacteria in your digestive system, and help to prevent diarrhea. Garlic also improves digestion and enhances the absorption of minerals.
5. Use garlic to improve your mood. Garlic has been found to act as a mood lifter, which might help you when you’re feeling down. Garlic can also ward off symptoms associated with insomnia, fatigue, and anxiety.
6. Slow aging using garlic. Garlic can help lessen age-related impairment of blood flow and improve circulation, helping to keep you feeling younger and stronger.
7. Use garlic to help minimize and heal a fungal infection; garlic is one of the most powerful anti-fungals known. Rub crushed garlic over the fungal infected skin area every day until it improves.
Garlic does earn the name ‘king of medicine’.
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Millions of people around the world eat garlic every day, but not many of them know that it actually has very strong medicinal properties. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians, and Chinese knew about the health benefits of garlic and used it extensively. It is also a potent remedy to various illnesses and conditions according to Ayurveda in India, although it is mentioned it has some side effects as well. So, you can continue using garlic in your pizzas and pastas, but you can also use it as an actual medicine when you get sick. Here are 7 reasons to use garlic for your health.
Cold and flu
Garlic is a powerful immunity booster and will help your body deal with cold or flu in no time due to the sulphur compounds that form when you crush, cut, or chew a fresh garlic clove. This means that you can reap the most benefits from consuming raw garlic. To battle the seasonal flu take a few raw cloves of garlic or make a garlic tea with addition of some ginger and honey to make the taste more bearable. This will boost your immunity and relieve cold symptoms.
Garlic is chock-full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for your overall well-being. It has high levels of Vitamin C, copper, iron, selenium, magnesium and vitamin B6. The latter two are known to be responsible for cognitive functions, brain health, and good mood. Garlic is low on calories, which makes it a perfect food supplement to boost your health.
For thousands of years our predecessors have been using garlic to fight various infections, ward off parasites, and flush out toxins. You can also say good-bye to bad bacteria and yeast infections. A mouth wash made from garlic will clear all the cavity-causing bacteria from your mouth, although it’s not the most freshening remedy. Prolonged intake of garlic and certain herbal mixes will free your body from all kinds of parasites.
Normalize blood pressure
High blood pressure is the cause of various heart diseases. Not only does garlic help regulate blood pressure, it also balances out cholesterol levels and lowers blood sugar. All this happens to the sulphuric compound Allicin that is present in freshly cut, crushed, or pressed garlic. This means that you will get the most benefits by consuming un-cooked garlic as it loses most of its medicinal properties once you add it as an ingredient to your meals.
One of the main reasons our skin looks tired and old is the lack of collagen, which happens due to inappropriate diet, inadequate sleep cycle, and stress. All these factors lead to more wrinkles, making you look older than you care. Garlic helps retain collagen and it can also be used topically to treat various skin conditions and fungal infections.
You might have heard that onion can somewhat restore your damaged hair – well, garlic can also provide some beautifying effect. If you have thin bristle hair and you feel that you’re losing too much of it, take some garlic extract (from raw crushed garlic) and rub it gently into your scalp. As you probably know, all hair problems lead either to your diet or to your scalp. You need to keep them both healthy! You can also try some garlic-infused oils and massage your head at least once a week. Your hair will become much stronger.
How to use it
Now that you know that garlic is pretty amazing, especially when consumed raw, you might want to include it into your diet. Make a tangy salad dressing by crushing a clove of garlic and mixing it with some olive or sunflower oil. You can also make a healthy, although a bit smelly, spread for a toast – just mash one garlic clove and mix it with some ghee for a better taste. If raw garlic isn’t for you, just use it to spice up your veggies, soups, and smoothies. There are also supplements you can take that have no odour whatsoever!
Whether it’s a looming deadline, overflowing inbox or the anticipation of heading home for the holidays, stress can strike at any time. And when it hits, sometimes comfort food and high-fat, high-sugar treats seem like the best way to find relief. (Hi, cookies and chips!)
In fact, most people say they snack more under stress, says Torey Armul, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But that’s not the worst part. “Stress also increases the hormone cortisol, which can boost appetite,” she says, creating a self-perpetuating cycle. Yikes!
You can turn your diet habits around, though, and actually use food to your calming advantage. Read on to find out how meals can affect your mental health.
The Gut-Brain Connection
By now, you probably know that our microbiome, aka the trillions of bacteria that call our gut home, plays a role in everything from digestion to immunity to sleep. Well, it can also affect your mood and brain health.
“We’ve come from a place of compartmentalization where the gut exists here and the brain over there,” says Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, author of the new book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan: Boost Brain Performance, Lose Weight, and Achieve Optimal Health. “We now recognize that the body is an integrated whole. There’s a powerful relationship between what’s going on in the intestine, how we feel and how we interpret the world around us.” In other words, your breakfast of choice could put you in a positive or negative mindset for the day, depending on the foods you choose.
The brain and the gut talk to each other via the gut-brain axis and this communication pathway depends on the healthy bacteria in your stomach. When the one-cell layered lining of your gut gets compromised, “things inside the gut can get out and into the bloodstream, stimulating your immune system and causing inflammation,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “And inflammation is the cornerstone of mood issues, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and virtually every chronic degenerative disease.”
In the brain, inflammation compromises both the growth of new brain cells and the creation of synapses (which connect brain cells to each other), according to Dr. Perlmutter. It also impacts mitochondria, your cell’s powerhouse and can lead to cell death. All pretty poor news for your mental health.
Eat to De-Stress?
Research shows that social stress is associated with higher levels of inflammation and an unhealthy microbiome. “When there’s chronic or big stress, cortisol increases. It changes the bacteria and other organisms in the gut, directly increasing the permeability of the intestinal lining,” says Dr. Perlmutter. What’s worse, the inflammation this creates can affect how the body produces serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter). And experts estimate that 90 percent of serotonin is manufactured in the gut.
By eating the right foods, you can offset a leaky gut, which will help you feel better — mentally and physically. Foods high in fiber and good bacteria help rebuild your microbiome, decrease inflammation in the body and nourish a healthy gut-brain connection by protecting the body against toxins, carcinogens and oxidative stress. Reducing inflammation in the body also means you’ll feel stronger emotionally. And the act of eating itself increases happiness. “Eating releases oxytocin, which creates feelings of well-being,” says Armul.
For a daily dose of feel-good hormones and a quick mood boost try adding more of these seven foods to your diet.
7 Foods for Stress Relief
Similar to yogurt, this fermented milk product is full of good-for-you probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. “Probiotics are the bacteria that colonize your gut and help crowd out unhealthy bacteria that can lead to disease,” says Armul. These good-for-your-gut probiotics also help to maintain the integrity of the stomach lining and help prevent leaky gut symptoms, says Dr. Perlmutter. (Remember: A healthy gut often equals a healthy brain.) He also notes that kefir is rich in antioxidants, which protects your cells against oxidative stress.
This root vegetable (aka Mexican turnip) adds more than just a satisfying crunch to your salads. It’s a good source of prebiotic fiber. “There’s a difference between fiber in general and the notion of prebiotic fiber,” says Dr. Perlmutter. “Prebiotics nurture the good gut bacteria we already have. It’s the fuel they use to grow.” Other sources rich in prebiotic fiber are onions, garlic and dandelion greens.
You know that beans are full of protein and fiber. But, did you know that beans can also make you feel joyful? “There are certain proteins that come from beans, but not dairy and poultry, that are a source of dopamine, a pleasure hormone,” says Armul.
4. Fatty Fish
Here’s another reason to get your fill of DHA, a healthy omega-3 fatty acid. It reduces inflammation and eliminates toxins in the body. According to Dr. Perlmutter, DHA acts upon an important protein pathway (Nrf2) that produces antioxidants and detoxification enzymes to combat soaring levels of stress in the body. By eating more fatty fish (like salmon), your body learns to activate this de-stress tactic, without waiting until you’re in the midst of a super anxious state.
5. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables aren’t just high in fiber, they can also increase levels of serotonin in the body. “Serotonin is linked to mood and it rises when you eat foods rich in folate like leafy greens,” says Armul.
Fermented vegetables like kimchi are a potent source of probiotics. In addition to fortifying your intestinal lining, Dr. Perlmutter notes that probiotics increase BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps stimulate the growth of new brain cells. If the spicy pickled Korean cabbage isn’t your jam, try pickles, fruits or vegetables pickled in brine (not vinegar) for another probiotic punch.
This powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich spice tops every superfood list. And for good reason: The mustard colored seasoning comes from the same family as ginger root. According to Dr. Perlmutter, curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, produces antioxidants to protect the body’s mitochondria and helps maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Research also shows that curcumin boosts DHA levels in the brain.
Learn how tears can benefit you and improve your health.
For over 20 years as a physician, I’ve witnessed, time and again, the healing power of tears. Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration. Also, you can have tears of joy, say when a child is born or tears of relief when a difficulty has passed. In my own life, I am grateful when I can cry. It feels cleansing, a way to purge pent up emotions so they don’t lodge in my body as stress symptoms such as fatigue or pain. To stay healthy and release stress, I encourage my patients to cry. For both men and women, tears are a sign of courage, strength, and authenticity.
Like the ocean, tears are saltwater. Protectively they lubricate your eyes, remove irritants, reduce stress hormones, and they contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes. Our bodies produce three kinds of tears: reflex, continuous, and emotional. Each kind has different healing roles. For instance, reflex tears allow your eyes to clear out noxious particles when they’re irritated by smoke or exhaust. The second kind, continuous tears, are produced regularly to keep our eyes lubricated—these contain a chemical called “lysozyme” that functions as an anti-bacterial and protects our eyes from infection. Tears also travel to the nose through the tear duct to keep the nose moist and bacteria-free. Typically, after crying, our breathing, and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.
Emotional tears have special health benefits. Biochemist and “tear expert” Dr. William Frey, at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones that get excreted from the body through crying. After studying the composition of tears, Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins that accumulate during stress. Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.” Interestingly, humans are the only creatures known to shed emotional tears, though it’s possible that elephants and gorillas do, too. Other mammals and also salt-water crocodiles produce reflex tears that are protective and lubricating.
Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. In addition to physical detoxification, emotional tears heal the heart. You don’t want to hold tears back. Patients sometimes say, “Please excuse me for crying. I was trying hard not to. It makes me feel weak.”
My heart goes out to them when I hear this. I know where that sentiment comes from: parents who were uncomfortable around tears, a society that tells us we’re weak for crying, in particular, that “powerful men don’t cry.” I reject these notions. The new enlightened paradigm of what constitutes a powerful man or woman is someone who has the strength and self-awareness to cry. These are the people who impress me, not those who put up some macho-front of faux-bravado.
Try to let go of outmoded, untrue, conceptions about crying. It is good to cry. It is healthy to cry. This helps to emotionally clear sadness and stress. Crying is also essential to resolve grief when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are set up for depression. When a friend apologized for curling up in the fetal position on my floor, weeping, depressed over a failing romance, I told her, “Your tears blessed my floor. There is nothing to apologize for.”
I’ve been this enthusiastic about crying for years. In fact, during my psychiatric residency when supervisors and I watched videos of me with patients, they’d point out that I’d smile when a patient cried. “That’s inappropriate,” they’d say. I disagreed then and still do. I wasn’t smiling because my patients were depressed or grieving. I was smiling because they were courageously healing depression or other difficult emotions with tears. I was happy with their breakthrough. In my life, too, I love to cry. I cry whenever I can. I wish I could more. Thank God our bodies have this capacity. I hope you too can appreciate the experience. Let your tears flow to purify stress and negativity.
Ayurveda has used ashwagandha as a rasayana (rejuvenator) for centuries to improve physical and mental health and increase longevity. And modern medical science has found that ashwagandha can treat almost all disorders that affect human health. 1 And it now has reasons to recommend the use of ashwagandha for anxiety and depression.
Clinical studies on animals and humans have found that ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, is an adaptogen – it makes the body adapt to stress. It is indispensable in treating various central nervous system (CNS) disorders, particularly epilepsy, stress, and neurodegenerative diseases. 2
Let’s see why you should use ashwagandha for anxiety and depression.
Ashwagandha Reduces Stress Which Causes Anxiety And Depression
Stress is an inescapable part of your daily life, and your body deals with it by producing the hormone cortisol. But if the stress-causing factors – say a disease or environmental toxins –
Chronic stress causes anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha can prevent these by reducing the stress hormone by up to 28%.
Ashwagandha can help you cope with stress. In a study on people suffering from chronic stress, it was found that ashwagandha roots could bring down the cortisol levels by 28% in just 2 months. It could improve the symptoms of stress, and in some cases, even prevented stress. 3
Researchers credit 2 chemicals – sitoindosides and acylsterylglucosides – in ashwagandha as
Ashwagandha Improves Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
When stressed, you may feel sad and lose your appetite, concentration, sleep, and ability to perform simple daily chores. You may also want to detach yourself from others. These are fine for a few days. But experiencing these symptoms severely for more than 2 weeks, feeling unreasonably guilty, and nurturing the thought of suicide are symptoms of clinical depression. Chronic stress often builds up to depression.
Depression is not just a long spell of sadness; it’s a disease that affects your mental and physical health, particularly, your heart. 5 Across the world, almost 1 million people of all ages are victims of depression-induced suicide.
Anxiety disorder, which often occurs with depression, has visible symptoms such as dry mouth, sweating, increased heart rate, butterflies in the stomach, and panic attacks.
1. Can Reduce Severe Depressive Symptoms By 68%
A human study on 64 patients of chronic stress made the participants take 300 mg capsules of ashwagandha or a placebo (a substance without any medicinal value) twice daily for 2 months. The participants were then asked to answer 3 questionnaires they had also filled at the beginning of the study. 7 The difference in their scores was remarkable. In the ashwagandha group:
- The stress score went down by an average of 44%.
- The physical symptoms score decreased by 76.1%.
- Anxiety and insomnia score
dropped by 69.7%.
What these figures mean is that people taking ashwagandha felt calmer and more in control. They had fewer physical symptoms of anxiety and depression and slept better. Their productivity also increased.
2. Acts As A Mood Stabilizer
In two animal studies, ashwagandha root extract or its bioactive ingredient glycowithanolides (WSG) acted as a mood stabilizer and had an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect on rats suffering from anxiety and depression.
In one, its effect was comparable with that of diazepam, a standard anxiolytic drug. When given in low doses, ashwagandha even improved the effect of diazepam. 8
In the other, the effect of WSG was comparable with that of the standard anxiolytic drug benzodiazepine lorazepam and the antidepressant tricyclic imipramine. 9
3. Reduces Insomnia
Anxiety and depression block some of your body’s natural coping mechanisms. While a good night’s sleep is a great stress reliever, patients of anxiety and depression often suffer from disrupted sleep or insomnia. As the insomnia can further worsen the symptoms, you are caught in a vicious cycle.
Research suggests that ashwagandha can be used for insomnia, and to its credit, it isn’t a sedative. It helps the body address a stress-related condition rather than masking it with sedatives. It has a pronounced and positive effect on the nervous system, rejuvenating it and producing energy. This in turn eases stress and helps the body settle back into its normal state and sleep. 10
4. Manages Weight In Chronic Stress Patients
A study on patients of chronic stress found that taking 300 mg ashwagandha twice daily for 4 weeks reduced weight. But that’s not all. Along with their stress, their food cravings also decreased significantly. 11
5. Works Better Than Psychotherapy
In yet another study, patients with mild to severe anxiety were given a naturopathic treatment that included ashwagandha, a multivitamin, dietary counseling, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. This seemed to have greater effect than standard psychotherapy. 12
6. Has No Side Effects Or Withdrawal Symptoms
Another study tested the effects of an ethanol extract of the herb on human anxiety patients. The results showed that it was well tolerated, with little adverse side effects. Even when the patients were taken off this abruptly at the end of the test period, none of them reported withdrawal symptoms. 13
Dosage And Caution
Usually, a daily dose of 3–6 gm of dried ashwagandha root powder is recommended. Or if you prefer the liquid form, go for a 6–12 ml of a 1:2 water extract. Be warned that it’s bitter. It’s best to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before you start taking ashwagandha supplements. The dosage and the duration may depend on your health profile.
- Don’t go overboard with it. Although it is generally considered safe, excessive consumption could lead to stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Don’t consume it alongside depressants like alcohol and sedatives.
- Don’t take it in large doses when you’re pregnant. Large doses may make it act as an abortifacient drug, inducing miscarriage.