Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herbal remedy often recommended for anxiety and poor sleep. It is derived from the Withania somnifera plant common in various parts of India.
People with abnormal levels of cortisol may benefit from the use of ashwagandha as it helps to lower high cortisol and increase low cortisol. For this effect, it is known as a cortisol adaptogen.
Before you consider most therapies for adrenal fatigue, you should do testing to determine your cortisol levels.
We recommend that you run a series of four cortisol saliva tests for the most accurate understanding of your cortisol levels because they vary widely throughout the day in a circadian pattern in which cortisol is typically lowest at bedtime and highest at waking.
Unlike most adrenal fatigue therapies, ashwagandha appears to be safe for people with high, low, or mixed high and low cortisol levels.
Suspected Basis for Function
Ashwagandha has been found to have many antioxidant compounds. These may help reduce damage to cells, organs, and biochemicals in the body.
There are reports that it boosts the quantities of SOD (Super Oxide Dismutase), catalase, and glutathione perioxidase antioxidant compounds in the body.
Some believe that ashwagandha constituents include compounds that behave as GABA, an anxiolytic neurotransmitter. GABA receptors in the brain are a frequent target for anxiolytic medications and therefore ashwagandha components that behave similarly to GABA could explain the effects at reducing anxiety.
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Conditions For Which Use May Be Beneficial
Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions)
Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulemia Nervosa
Abnormal cortisol levels (high or low) and related conditions:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Muscle weakness and tension
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Skin problems brought on by stress
Conditions For Which Use May Be Detrimental
Pregnancy — has been reported to result in abortions
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