Thursday, 3 November 2016

An Ayurveda Herb for Anxiety


The herb Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning that its effects depend on your current body chemistry.  In terms of anxiety Ashwagandha can lower cortisol, which is the hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. This hormone results in the 'fight or flight' response - the heart rate speeds up, the breath quickens, muscles tense primed for action, blood sugar levels rise etc.

Rising blood sugar levels may lead to insulin resistance if anxiety becomes chronic. 
There can also be other knock on effects, commonly referred to as 'adrenal exhaustion'. When your adrenals become exhausted they cannot produce cortisol to meet the 'demand' and they use progesterone instead. This causes your sex hormones to get out of whack. DHEA, a precursor of several other sex hormones also becomes depleted as a result of adrenal fatigue, and since the hormone also acts as an antioxidant, lower levels of DHEA can enhance aging. Cortisol also interferes with thyroid hormone production and since thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, anxiety may lead to weight gain. 

You need to take Ashwagandha for around three months in order to feel the full effects of reduced anxiety.  You should start noticing other benefits then too- such as better sleep, stronger immune system (anxiety lowers immunity because cortisol dampens down the immune response), and you will also have more energy. To get on top of your anxiety long term will improve your overall wellbeing - lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's etc.

Please note do not take Ashwagandha if you are pregnant and if you suffer from any medical condition please consult your medical practitioner.



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