Here’s my experience with ashwagandha, and why it may be a quick fix for mild stress and anxiety.
Native to India, Africa, and Southeast Asia, ashwagandha has been used for almost 6,000 years in Indian medicinal practice as well as other traditional medicine. Today, it is available as a dietary supplement in gummies, powder, liquid drops, or even tea. Like turmeric, maca, and raspberry leaf, it is classified as an adaptogen that is said to bring the body back to homeostasis from whatever external or internal stressors there may be. There have been many benefits to taking ashwagandha, but out of all of them, I experimented with using it for mild stress and anxiety. To preface, this should not be a replacement for medical consultation, because it is so important to relay information to a wide range of professionals before deciding to use anything, especially in cases of serious mental illness.
Let me explain my experience with using the supplement, why, and how I used it. As a college student, it can be very difficult to manage stress levels with every aspect of college that I am sure many students are already aware of. School, work, social life, hobbies, and time for yourself can seem like too many factors to fit into day-to-day life. It can be very overwhelming and lead to prolonged stress, mental fog, and just overall fatigue. First and foremost, if you are experiencing anything that seems to trouble you, talk to friends, family, and even better, a professional. There is so much support out there for you, so do not be afraid to reach out!
On that note, I found myself needing a little extra help for those days when I feel like my mind is scattered all over the place and stressed with no idea of how to get myself back on track. I have made many changes in my lifestyle and found new outlets for stress management, including taking a class on stress management here at UMass Amherst, called UNIVERSITY 197P — Positivity and Relaxation Training! While these changes have benefited me a lot, I decided to try taking ashwagandha supplements in the form of liquid drops to see if they would help as a fast remedy. In the few, short months I have used it, I can confidently say that I absolutely love it. I do not take it as a regular supplement, only as needed, but the effects have improved my stress immensely. Before taking it, I did my due research on the truthfulness of these anti-anxiety and anti-stress claims and found many studies supporting it. It also has been found to aid immediate and general memory, reduce cortisol levels, and may benefit insomnia and depression symptoms. I am a huge advocate for natural healing and medicine for the things that do not require serious medical consultation, so finding this supplement to be worthwhile has been a great discovery for my mental health. This is a reminder that because everyone’s body is different, do some of your own research and talk to your doctor to see if taking this supplement fits your lifestyle and health!
Hopefully, ashwagandha can safely be a part of your self-care and stress management routine!