LMU 145 – Harnessing Ashwagandha: A Natural Ally Against Stress
Source: Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (2012)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 27, 2019)
In the relentless rhythm of modern life, stress has entrenched itself as a pervasive force affecting our well-being. Amidst the scramble for effective stress management strategies, an herbal remedy has garnered attention—Ashwagandha. We’ll delve into a noteworthy study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine in 2012, which investigated the potential of Ashwagandha to combat stress and enhance quality of life. This study’s insights illuminate the interplay between this ancient herbal supplement and our modern battle against stress.
Unveiling Ashwagandha: A Powerful Adaptogen
At the heart of this exploration lies Ashwagandha—an adaptogen renowned for its anti-stress properties. While traditional wisdom has long embraced Ashwagandha’s stress-relieving potential, rigorous scientific research has been limited. The study in question aimed to address this gap by delving into Ashwagandha’s impact on stress and overall well-being.
The Study: A Glimpse into the Methodology
The study enrolled 64 participants with a history of chronic stress. These individuals underwent comprehensive physical and laboratory assessments, accompanied by questionnaires probing their stress levels, depression, anxiety, and general well-being. Serum cortisol, a stress marker, was measured—an indicator of the adrenal glands’ response to stress intensification. The study followed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. For 60 days, half of the participants received 300 mg of Ashwagandha twice daily, while the other half received a placebo. Compliance was ensured through phone interviews on days 15, 30, and 45, tracking any adverse reactions.
Astonishing Discoveries: Ashwagandha’s Impact
The results painted a remarkable picture. The group supplementing with Ashwagandha exhibited a staggering 70% reduction in stress, a 64% decrease in depression, a 76% decrease in anxiety, and a 44% improvement in overall well-being and quality of life—compared to their initial baseline measurements. In stark contrast, the placebo group experienced mere 12%, 10%, 4%, and 6% improvements in the same domains. The Ashwagandha group’s perceived stress scale scores plunged by 44%, while the placebo group witnessed a modest 6% reduction. Serum cortisol levels corroborated these findings, with a 28% drop in the Ashwagandha group compared to a mere 8% in the placebo group.
Upholding Safety: The Role of Ashwagandha
Crucially, the study noted no serious adverse side effects from Ashwagandha supplementation. The researchers highlighted that stress, the outcome of external physical or mental overload, can cascade into debilitating states, from anxiety to cardiac issues. As our global landscape witnesses an alarming surge in stress-induced conditions, exploring effective interventions is paramount.
A Holistic Approach: Integrating Ashwagandha
While stress management is a multi-dimensional endeavor tailored to individual circumstances, this study posits that Ashwagandha supplementation could be a valuable adjunct. The synergy between ancient wisdom and modern research underscores Ashwagandha’s potential to alleviate stress’s toll on well-being, including its impact on depression and anxiety.
The study’s revelations encapsulate the potent influence of Ashwagandha on stress, offering a potential solution in our quest for balance amidst life’s pressures. This herbal ally beckons us to integrate holistic approaches into our stress management toolkit, bridging the ancient and modern to forge a path toward well-being.
Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012. 34(3): 255-262 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.