Are you looking for a way to help manage your stress and anxiety naturally? Stress no-more” ashwagandha may be just what you need for your anxiety! Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been used in both herbal and ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress. Read on to learn all about why you should take ashwagandha for anxiety and to reduce stress, naturally, without the side effects of pharmaceuticals.
How Anxiety and Stress Impact Our Mental and Physical Health
Before understanding how ashwagandha helps you manage anxiety and stress, it is important to understand how stress works. When we are faced with any demand or stress, we have both a physical and emotional response. This happens regardless of the type of stress, whether it’s about a bill you have to pay, losing a job, getting married, or dealing with the death of a loved one.
Stress begins in the brain with something called the HPA axis. When confronted with a stressor, a part of your brain (the hypothalamus – the “H”), acts as a giant filter to tell you “something happened.” This results in the hypothalamus sending signals to the pituitary (the “P”) gland which is also known as the master gland. The pituitary gland has control over many other glands in the body, such as the adrenal (the “A”) glands, thyroid, ovaries, and testes and when the pituitary gland sends the signal all of the glands that produce a certain set of hormones in response to a situation. Several hormones are released in the face of stress, but a common one is cortisol, which helps the body both respond to a threat or stress. These hormones are responsible for our fight or flight response. These commonly known hormones are cortisol and adrenaline, which are part of the endocrine system. These hormones help you make those quick decisions, that high-speed fight or flight response you may experience. Physical symptoms that we feel when dealing with something stressful include a faster heartbeat, tightened muscles, and a rise in blood pressure.
While some stress is a normal part of life, the problem arises when stress becomes chronic and long-term. Our bodies were not meant to deal with daily or chronic stress, and this leads to a variety of physical and mental symptoms that can take quite a toll on the entire body. We may feel this physically through frequent headaches or stomach issues or just an overall feeling of malaise. Psychologically, this is where the feelings of anxiety come in. In fact, stress and anxiety are problems that typically occur in a cycle. Stress will cause anxiety/depression, and anxiety/depression causes the body to feel stress.
Ashwagandha for Anxiety: A Natural Remedy
It’s important to be able to properly manage your anxiety and stress in order to prevent the toxic physical and emotional effects on your body. While there are numerous pharmaceutical medicines for mental health, these medicines can come with unwanted and unpleasant side effects.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that has been proven to safely help people reduce their anxiety and stress! It has been used for thousands of years to help the body manage stress, and ashwagandha continues to be popular today for its ability to boost mood and reduce anxiety. Ashwagandha has been studied extensively for its important ability to help reduce anxiety. One important study involving 98 subjects found that those who consumed ashwagandha over a 60 day period saw significant reductions in indicators of stress, and that’s without any adverse side effects!
So how does ashwagandha help improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety and even help us treat depression? Read on to learn about ashwagandha and anxiety and the important role ashwagandha can play in helping us manage stress and anxiety.
Ashwagandha Controls Stress Hormones
Ashwagandha’s benefits on stress come from its impact on the HPA axis and its ability to influence the endocrine system. Specifically, ashwagandha manages stress by modulating your stress hormones – when you need a boost you get it, when you need a bit of calm you get it. This is because ashwagandha helps the body respond more appropriately in the face of stress. This allows things like the adrenal glands and endocrine system to remain in balance, nourish the endocrine system, which thus nourishes your adrenal glands and other parts of the brain that produce those stress hormones that can have damaging long term effects on our health. In other words, ashwagandha helps the body monitor and level out hormonal responses by maintaining balance in the major parts of the HPA axis like the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands.
Ashwagandha Can Help Regulate Your Fight or Flight Response
Let’s break down ashwagandha’s impact on stress and anxiety further. When we become stressed, the body secretes cortisol, a hormone that signals the body to get ready for a potential threat. By doing this, your body then can kick into that fight or flight response. This was particularly helpful for humans in ancient times because who wants to be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger? Cortisol gets a bad rap, but it has very specific physiological functions that help us respond to a threat — it keeps us awake and alert, allowing us to run from the threat, and it gives us the energy to fight or flee by dumping sugar into the bloodstream. Adrenaline helps us do many other things too, like shifting our focus into our physical eyes, giving us heart palpitations to help us keep up our physical performance, and shunting blood from the extremities into the core. Additionally, converting fat or protein into energy takes a lot of resources, and when we’re stressed, the body overrides that conversion in favor of easy quick energy. So, it gives us a sugar rush because that’s much easier to burn for energy.
Today, we aren’t running away from saber-toothed tigers periodically, but instead, our stress is felt daily – almost constantly. This constant stimulation of the stress response has some potent impacts throughout the body. The chronic release of cortisol can result in emotional effects, such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Ashwagandha does multiple things to help control the physiological effects of stress on the body. Ashwagandha supports the adrenals and can even reduce elevated levels of cortisol. One eight-week study consisting of 75 participants showed that those who were given ashwagandha saw a significant decrease in their BAI (Beck Anxiety Inventory, which is a self-reported measure of anxiety), as well as improvements in concentration, fatigue, and social functioning. Additionally, as a warming herb, ashwagandha is able to help increase blood circulation, which promotes relaxation in the body.
Ashwagandha Can Help Regulate Cortisol
Another benefit of ashwagandha for anxiety is that ashwagandha can help regulate cortisol. As discussed above, our adrenals release cortisol to help us respond to daily stress. Cortisol is released in a variety of circumstances such as illness, high insulin levels, or even just not getting enough sleep. Cortisol, like adrenaline, is able to increase sugar in the bloodstream as needed in times of stress, as well as help your brain make use of that sugar.
While we know some cortisol is good, too much cortisol can create a variety of physical and emotional problems. Indeed, high levels of cortisol can cause damage to the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that changes short-term memory into long-term memory and regulates mood. Now you can see how damage to the hippocampus can contribute to even more stress and anxiety! A damaged hippocampus can poorly affect your ability to heal from past trauma and manage your mood. Additionally, high levels of cortisol can lead to other physical symptoms in the body, including fatigue, irritability, and headaches, and that can cause even more stress!
Thankfully, studies have shown that supplementing with ashwagandha can substantially reduce cortisol levels. By working to prevent the damage of elevated cortisol, ashwagandha can help lower anxiety levels and help your brain function without stress taking its toll on things like memory and focus. As a bonus, ashwagandha is a natural relaxant and can help you sleep, so you are less likely to secrete cortisol that is due to lack of quality sleep!
Ashwagandha Can Improve Your Mood
As we said before, stress, depression and anxiety are all connected. An important benefit of ashwagandha for anxiety comes from ashwagandha’s support of the hippocampus of the brain and overall brain function, which can help you have better control over your mood. This special adaptogen has been clinically studied to optimize your energy levels and improve people’s perception of their quality of life.
Ashwagandha supports antioxidant activity in neural cells (those cells found in nervous tissue like the brain). It helps to fight against oxidative damage due to stress and neutralize free radicalsd. It is still unclear as to the exact mechanism of action, but studies point to it stemming from ashwagandha’s ability to stabilize glutamate. High levels of glutamate are neurotoxic, which damages the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Damage can show up as headaches, memory loss, and slowed/impaired cognitive function, but also as loss of coordination, physical nerve pain, numbness, dementia, and nervous system disorders like ALS and Parkinson’s. This damage also falls in the stress and anxiety/depression cycle.
How to Add Ashwagandha Into Your Diet
Adding ashwagandha for anxiety into your daily routine is super easy. Since ashwagandha doesn’t taste very good, most people take it as a supplement. Daily supplementation is recommended to help keep your stress and anxiety in control. And you don’t have to worry about those pesky side effects that many anxiety-treating drugs tend to have! Make sure your supplement is made from full-spectrum, organic ashwagandha root to get the benefits nature intended for this powerful herb. Further Food Premium Ashwagandha not only contains organic ashwagandha root, but it is also boosted with black pepper and avocado oil to help maximize absorption and its anxiety- reducing benefits! Learn more here.
If you’re looking to reduce anxiety and stress in your life or simply want to improve your mood, ashwagandha may just be the adaptogen for you.
What is the HPA axis?
The HPA axis consists of the hypothalamus (H), pituitary (P), and adrenals (A). When we are confronted with a stressor, the hypothalamus notices and sends signals to the pituitary gland which, in turn, sends signals to other parts of our bodies including our adrenal glands, thyroid, ovaries and testes. This signal, in response to stress, stimulates all these glands that are responsible for producing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that help us fight stress.
How does ashwagandha reduce stress and anxiety?
While some stress is part of life, chronic and long term stress can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, as well as anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha helps us manage stress and anxiety by directly impacting the HPA axis and its ability to affect the endocrine system and the release of stress hormones. In this way, ashwagandha helps us to modulate our stress response.
How does ashwagandha reduce cortisol?
Too much cortisol can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems, including feelings of stress and anxiety. Researchers have demonstrated that ashwagandha has the ability to substantially reduce cortisol levels. By helping to reduce cortisol levels, ashwagandha can help to reduce stress and help the brain and body function better.
How does ashwagandha improve mood?
Ashwagandha helps to support our hippocampus and overall brain function, which can have an important impact on mood. Ashwagandha’s antioxidant activity helps to fight against oxidative damage due to stress, as well as helping to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, ashwagandha works to stabilize glutamate, which helps reduce symptoms such as headaches, memory loss and slowed cognitive function. While these are both direct impacts, the brain is very sensitive to cortisol levels and chronic stress is well connected to mood disturbances. Ashwagandha’s ability to reduce cortisol and moderate the impacts of stress on the body is another important contribution to how ashwagandha supports a healthy mood.
How can I add ashwagandha into my daily routine?
Since ashwagandha does not taste very good, most people find it easiest to take ashwagandha as a supplement. Just make sure to use a supplement that is made from the full-spectrum root and that the supplement contains black pepper for maximum benefits. Daily supplementation is recommended to help keep your stress and anxiety under control. Buy Further Food Premium Ashwagandha here.
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