An estimated 4 million people in the United States are addicted to prescription drugs. Xanax is one of the most popular drugs on the market. It’s popularity level increases over time due to the calming affects. These days, drugs are handed out like candy to cure every aliment under the sun. The dangers of getting addicted to these prescriptions can be very high. So, why not try herbal remedies to lighten your mood. This herb called Ashwagandha has the ability to calm you down without getting addicted.
Here’s a little background…..
Antioxidant properties of ashwagandha root
Researchers from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, have discovered that some of the chemicals within ashwagandha are powerful antioxidants. They tested these compounds for their effects on rat brain and found an increase in the levels of three natural antioxidants — superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase. They say, “These findings are consistent with the therapeutic use of ashwagandha as an Ayurvedic rasayana (health promoter). The antioxidant effect of active principles of ashwagandha root may explain, at least in part, the reported anti-stress, cognition-facilitating, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects produced by them in experimental animals, and in clinical situations.”
Aphrodisiac properties of ashwagandha root
Ashwagandha is historically used as an aphrodisiac. Ashwagandha is mentioned in the ancient Kama Sutra as an herb to be used for heightening sexual experience, Ashwagandha herb has the ability to restore sexual health and improve overall vitality while promoting a calm state of mind.I have included ashwagandha extract in a libido product called Passion Rx. Laboratory studies show ashwagandha can produce nitric oxide which is known to dilate blood vessels.
Ashwagandha: a mood enhancing and anti-anxiety herb
The roots of ashwagandha are used extensively in Ayurveda, the classical Indian system of medicine. In rodent studies ashwagandha has been shown to reduce anxiety and have a positive effect on mood.
Ashwagandha and brain health
Ashwagandha is used in India to treat mental deficits in geriatric patients, including amnesia. Researchers from the University of Leipzig in Germany wanted to find out which neurotransmitters were influenced by ashwagandha herb. After injecting some of the chemicals in ashwagandha into rats, they later examined slices of their brain and found an increase in acetylcholine receptor activity. The researchers say, “The drug-induced increase in acetylcholine receptor capacity might partly explain the cognition-enhancing and memory-improving effects of extracts from ashwagandha observed in animals and humans.”
A study done in 1991 at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center indicated that extracts of ashwagandha had GABA-like activity. This may account for this herb’s anti-anxiety effects.
A 2002 laboratory study indicates ashwagandha extract stimulates the growth of axons and dendrites. A 2001 study in rodents showed ashwagandha extract had memory boosting ability.A 2000 study with rodents showed ashwagandha extract to have anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects.
Additional benefits of ashwagandha root
One small study (see bottom of page) found ashwagandha root was able to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and had a diuretic effect.
Ashwagandha side effects
Ashwagandha herb does not seem to have any significant side effects but long term studies are not yet available to determine ashwagandha side effects from chronic use. Nevertheless, it is best to take breaks from use. For instance, one can take a week off each month or take ashwagandha 3 or 4 times a week as opposed to daily. There is one casereport from Holland of a person taking high doses of ashwagandha for prolonged periods who ended up with excessive thyroid hormone production (source).
If depression and stress are keeping you from achieving your fitness goals, then maybe it’s time you tried this great herb. If you are dependent on Xanax then maybe you should go for a cheaper and healthier (non- addictive) form. Emotional eaters could also benefit from mood enhancing herbs. Brightening up your mood keeps you from over eating, espacially at night when you have the extra time to snack.
(CES, PES, CPT, BS)