I’ve been hearing a lot about ashwagandha.
Q. Dear Terry, “I’ve been hearing a lot about ashwagandha. It sounds really interesting and I would like to know if it is safe to take on a daily basis?” — Joe K., Las Cruces, NM
A. Dear Joe, Ashwagandha has been a staple of the traditional medicinal system of India, known as Ayurveda. This herb belongs to an elite class of botanical compounds called adaptogens. Adaptogens help the body combat stress – physical, psychological, environmental – by returning us to a state of balance.
There have been numerous studies on ashwagandha: improving memory and cognition, body weight management, muscle strength and recovery, endurance, sexual function in both men and women, and longevity. All of these studies showed positive benefits using ashwagandha. One 60-day study even showed that ashwagandha was able to decrease levels of cortisol (our “fight or flight” hormone) and significantly reduce feelings of fatigue and stress by over 50%. Another study looking just at ashwagandha and chronic stress had very impressive results: 76% decrease in physical symptoms, 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, 68% decrease in social dysfunction, and 79% decrease in severe depression. And the study only lasted 60 days!
Because stress can occur any time of day, any day of the week, I think it is best to take ashwagandha daily. While ashwagandha can be effective in short-term situations, or as needed, for enhanced benefits I would take it every day.
Look for an ashwagandha that is standardized to the key compounds, withanolides, and one that has clinical studies. Adaptogens are often combined, so you may want to consider taking ashwagandha along with rhodiola on a daily basis.
Terry . . . Naturally