Ashwagandha: The Indian Adaptogen Herb

Ashwagandha: The Indian Adaptogen Herb

Ashwagandha is a prized herb in Ayurvedic medicine, which scientific research has confirmed to possess adaptogenic, anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties.

Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera as it is known botanically, has a long traditional history of medicinal usage and herbalists typically recommend Ashwagandha for increasing energy, strength, vitality and vigor.

Ashwagandha is also commonly referred to as “Indian Ginseng” due to it’s adaptogenic and tonic properties, despite not being botanically related to the panax ginseng species.

Adaptogens are a class of herbs, which have been shown to increase the bodies resistance to stress and help to maintain optimal homeostasis.

Adaptogenic herbs exert part of their stress-protective benefits by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and endocrine hormones, preventing the over-release of stress-hormones such as cortisol.

In particular, Ashwagandha is a great choice of adaptogen herb for individuals with anxiety disorder, due to the mild calming effect and GABA-mimetic activity.

Ashwagandha is a multipurpose herb that acts on various systems of the human body: the neurological system, the immune system, the energy-production system, the endocrinal system and the reproductive system.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the latest scientific research on Ashwagandha root and the potential health benefits.

Ashwagandha & Thyroid Health

Traditionally Ashwagandha root has a long history of being recommended to treat thyroid disorders, low thyroid function and sub-clinical hypothyroidism.

Ashwagandha can help to aid the thyroid gland in the conversion of T4 to T3.

A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study published in 2017 has also confirmed that treatment with the herb Ashwagandha may be beneficial for normalizing thyroid indices in sub-clinical hypothyroid patients.

Eight weeks of treatment with ashwagandha improved serum TSH (p < 0.001), T3 (p = 0.0031), and T4 (p = 0.0096) levels significantly compared to placebo.

Ashwagandha treatment effectively normalized the serum thyroid indices during the 8-week treatment period in a significant manner. [1]

Ashwagandha For Reducing Stress & Anxiety

A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2012 evaluated the safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha roots in reducing stress and anxiety and in improving the general well-being of adults who were under stress.

The study concluded:

The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.

High-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract can be used safely as an adaptogen in adults who are under stress. [2]


[1] Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.

[2] 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

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.


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