Ashwagandha is a potent herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Its versatility has gained recognition in modern wellness practices worldwide.
But does Ashwagandha make you happy? This article delves into this question, exploring the benefits of Ashwagandha, specifically its role in mood enhancement, stress reduction, and overall mental health.
Ashwagandha, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is a shrub native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Its roots and berries are used for medicinal purposes.
ASHWAGANDHA AND HAPPINESS: THE CONNECTION
Several studies have shown that Ashwagandha can boost mood. A study in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that people who took ashwagandha had improved scores on scales measuring stress and anxiety. Another study found that Ashwagandha was effective in reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety in adults.
STRESS AND ANXIETY REDUCTION
Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic qualities can help the body handle stress, which can indirectly lead to feelings of happiness. By regulating the body’s stress response, Ashwagandha can reduce symptoms of anxiety and promote a sense of calm.
IMPROVED SLEEP QUALITY
Ashwagandha has also been shown to improve sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that ashwagandha extract improved sleep quality and helped manage insomnia in patients with anxiety disorders. Improved sleep can lead to improved mood and a greater sense of well-being, contributing to overall happiness.
THE USE OF ASHWAGANDHA THROUGH THE AGES
The history of Ashwagandha dates back over 3000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. Understanding the origins and historical use of Ashwagandha can shed light on its current popularity and use.
ORIGINS IN AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
The use of Ashwagandha can be traced back to Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. The word “Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit and can be translated to “smell of the horse”, which refers to both its unique smell and the traditional belief that consuming the herb would give the individual the strength and vitality of a horse[^9^]. In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha was used as a “Rasayana” herb, believed to maintain youth and prolong life[^10^].
ANCIENT MEDICINAL USES
Historically, Ashwagandha has been used to treat a wide range of conditions. These health conditions include arthritis (joint pain), constipation, insomnia, skin conditions, stress, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, rheumatism, and epilepsy[^10^]. The diverse medicinal uses of Ashwagandha speak to its versatility and potential health benefits.
ASHWAGANDHA IN OTHER CULTURES
While Ashwagandha is most closely associated with Ayurveda and Indian culture, its use has not been confined to this area. The use of Ashwagandha spread to other parts of the world, including Africa and the Middle East. In Africa, Ashwagandha was used to treat fevers and inflammatory conditions[^11^].
READ MORE: IS ASHWAGANDHA ILLEGAL?
HOW DOES ASHWAGANDHA WORK?
Ashwagandha belongs to a class of substances called adaptogens, which are known for their ability to help the body adapt to stress. They do this by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. Ashwagandha specifically has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
THE BENEFITS OF TINCTURES OVER POWDER OR CAPSULE FORMS
Ashwagandha is commonly available in several forms – powder, capsules, and tinctures. Among these, tinctures, a concentrated liquid form, have several advantages.
HIGHER ABSORPTION RATE
Tinctures have a higher absorption rate compared to capsules or powders. This is because they bypass the digestive system and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, resulting in a more immediate effect.
Tinctures also allow for more precise dosing. Because they are liquid, you can adjust your dose drop by drop, unlike capsules or powders.
LONG SHELF LIFE
Compared to powders and capsules, tinctures have a longer shelf life. When stored properly, tinctures can last for several years.
CONCLUSION: ASHWAGANDHA AND HAPPINESS
In conclusion, while the question “Does Ashwagandha make you happy?” may not have a straightforward answer, evidence suggests that Ashwagandha has several properties that could contribute to overall happiness. This includes mood enhancement, stress and anxiety reduction, and improved sleep quality.
The use of Ashwagandha, especially in tincture form, could potentially be a beneficial addition to a holistic approach to mental wellness. As with any supplement, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning use.
The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
- NIH: Ashwagandha
- Indian Journal of Psychiatry: A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha
- Journal of Dietary Supplements: A Randomized, Double Blind Placebo-Controlled Study of Efficacy and Tolerability of Withaina Somnifera Extracts in Knee Joint Pain
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Effects of an Ayurvedic medicinal plant on sleep quality
- PubMed: Adaptogens
- Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine: Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
- The Chopra Center: What is Ashwagandha?
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (Ashwagandha): A Review of Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology
- PubMed: Tinctures in Herbal Medicine
- NIH: Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition