Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a warm, heavy and sweet root that is harvested in the fall to be eaten throughout the winter.
Traditionally, it was added to soups and stews to support immunity, stamina and structural strength during the harsh winter months.
It is probably best known as an adaptogen, a class of herbs that help the body cope with the ravages of stress. In one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study, 98 chronically stressed adults were given Ashwagandha for 60 days.
The participants were divided into groups that received either:
- 125mg once a day
- 125mg twice a day
- 250mg twice a day
The results showed that all three groups that took Ashwagandha were less affected by stress.
- The group that took the lowest dose, at 125mg a day, demonstrated a 62% reduction in emotional strain (1).
- Cortisol, which is a degenerative hormone released during times of stress, was reduced by 14.5% (1).
- DHEA, which is a supportive hormone for cushioning the stress response in the body, increased by 13.2% (1).
- All three groups that took Ashwagandha saw a decrease in C Reactive Protein, a marker for the body’s natural inflammation process (1).
The researchers concluded that daily use of Ashwagandha would benefit people suffering from degenerative stress and emotional strain without any adverse effects (1).