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Can Ashwagandha Help Anxiety? Here’s What to Know About the Supplement

A bowl of ashwagandha powder, someone picking leaves, and ashwagandha roots
Terrasoul Superfoods/Vitafusion/Life Extension

If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, you know how debilitating it can be. While therapy and medication can be life-changing for some people, others prefer to try natural supplements first to see if they can help. Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement that is often marketed as a way to reduce anxiety symptoms, but can it really make a difference? Here’s what you should know about this plant.

What is Ashwagandha?

Powdered ashwagandha sits next to roots.

Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. This herb is grown in Asia and Africa, and has its roots in India. Since almost 6000 BC, it has been used as a tonic, diuretic, and stimulant, among other uses.

The name ashwagandha comes from the Sanskrit words “ashva,” meaning horse, and “gandha,” meaning smell. This is because the root of the plant smells like a horse. Ashwagandha is a member of the nightshade family, which includes other plants like tomatoes and potatoes.

The roots and leaves of the ashwagandha plant are used to make supplements. Ashwagandha supplements are typically sold in the form of capsules, powders, or tinctures. You can also find ashwagandha in some topical products, like creams and ointments.

How Does it Work?

Scientists believe that ashwagandha works by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol is released in response to stress and can lead to symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and weight gain. By reducing levels of cortisol, ashwagandha may help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Ashwagandha has also been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially improve immune function. Higher stress levels can cause inflammation and negatively affect the immune system, so taking an ashwagandha supplement can help offset some of these effects in people with anxiety.

Is it Safe?

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe when taken in the recommended dosage. The ideal dosage for you will depend on your age and what problem you are trying to treat, but adults with anxiety should be able to take 125 to 1,250 milligrams per day safely. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements, especially if you are on any medications, have underlying health conditions, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The Best Ashwagandha Supplements

Ashwagandha supplements are in a bowl.
Eugeniusz Dudzinski/Shutterstock.com

After getting the okay from your doctor, you’ll find that there are many available supplements. Here are some of the best to choose from.

Best Overall: NaturaLife Labs Organic Ashwagandha

Several containers of ashwagandha supplements
NaturaLife Labs

One of the most popular ashwagandha supplements online, NaturaLife Labs Organic Ashwagandha delivers a superior potency of the herb with 2100 milligrams per serving. Made with pure organic ashwagandha powder root and ashwagandha root extract, this natural ayurvedic stress relief supplement does not contain any fillers, magnesium stearate, dioxides, preservatives, gluten, soy, sugar, yeast, or starch.

This product also contains black pepper extract, which may help with absorption. Organic and third-party tested, this product is a great option for people looking into the benefits of ashwagandha.

Best Overall

NaturaLife Labs Organic Ashwagandha

High potency and great quality.

Best Budget: Life Extension Optimized Ashwagandha

A blue supplement container and powdered ashwagandha
Life Extension

You can support your health and well-being while staying within your budget. Life Extension’s Optimized Ashwagandha is a great product that doesn’t skimp on quality even though it’s offered at a great price. Made with Sensoril ashwagandha, which offers a higher potency, you know you’re getting the most for your money with this product.

Each capsule only contains 125 milligrams of ashwagandha, so you can start with a small dosage and work your way up as needed. And with 60 vegetarian capsules in each bottle, this supply should last you a long time.

Best Budget

Life Extension Optimized Ashwagandha

A great product at a great price.

Best Gummies: Vitafusion Ashwagandha Gummies

A container of ashwagandha gummies and someone picking leaves

For people who prefer gummy supplements, these Vitafusion Ashwagandha Gummies are a delicious alternative to capsules and pills. With 125 milligrams of Sensoril ashwagandha per serving, they’re perfect for those looking to help manage stress and anxiety.

Formulated with ashwagandha roots and leaves extract, these gummies are water extracted for maximum potency. They’re also non-GMO, gluten-free, and contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners, although they still taste great.

Best Gummies

Vitafusion Ashwagandha Gummies

A tasty way to enjoy the benefits of this herb.

Best Powder: Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder

A bowl of ashwagandha powder and a bag of ashwagandha powder
Terrasoul Superfoods

Ashwagandha can commonly be found in powder form, which makes it easy to stir into yogurt or blend into smoothies. Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder is a great powder option for people who prefer the herb in this form.

This powder is 100% certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. It’s also easy to take the exact amount that you want in each serving, so it’s great for people who want to start with a very small dose.

Best Powder

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder

A versatile supplement that's easy to take.

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for centuries to help people with anxiety, stress, and other ailments. Here’s what the science says and which supplements you should try after speaking with your doctor.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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