It’s back-to-school time, and this September has brought a lot of changes – children are heading into the classroom, and many adults are returning to work after lockdown.
If this is causing anxiety in your household, you’re not alone!
Transitions naturally spike our stress response; it’s nature’s way of keeping us safe. Anytime things change, we’re hard-wired to be more on edge and constantly on the lookout for danger.
During a difficult period of change like this, a natural herbal remedy like ashwagandha can be a useful tool in your toolkit.
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that has been used for over 3,000 years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.1
Its Latin name is Withania somnifera. Many of its health benefits are attributed to its high concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to fight inflammation2 and tumour growth in laboratory-based studies.3
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help your body manage stress. Several controlled human studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders.
In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, on average, compared with 11% in the placebo group.4
In another 6-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo.5
Ashwagandha can also help to improve the quality of your sleep. Researchers in human clinical trials concluded: “Ashwagandha root extract is a natural compound with sleep-inducing potential, well tolerated and improves sleep quality and sleep onset latency in patients with insomnia.”6
Why is ashwagandha so effective at helping your body manage stress? It’s because it can actually decrease the amount of cortisol in your system. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone released by your adrenal glands as a response to stress. Usually, your body will respond to the stress and then return to normal once a perceived threat has passed.
But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The constant stream of cortisol flooding into your system can disrupt almost all your body’s processes, putting you at risk of:
- Digestive problems
- Muscle tension and pain
- Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
Studies have shown that ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels. In one study in chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared with the control group. Those taking the highest dose experienced a 30% reduction, on average.7
Ashwagandha is considered a safe supplement for most people, although it should be avoided by anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding or taking thyroid medication, as it may increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.8
If you have an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or type 1 diabetes you should check with your healthcare provider before adding Ashwagandha to your daily Gut Health Smoothie.
Ashwagandha has been found safe and effective for children age 3+.11
You can source pure, organic ashwagandha tincture from Chuckling Goat here.
Our ashwagandha tincture is made with pharmaceutical-grade alcohol, so it’s a matter of personal choice whether you feel comfortable giving few drops of alcohol to your child.
We would suggest the following:
- Age 3-12, 5 drops in a small glass of water, two or three times daily
- Age 13-18, 10 drops in a small amount of water, two or three times daily
- 18+ 15-20 drops in a small amount of water, two or three times daily
Any questions? Ask our Nutritional Therapists on live chat, open weekdays from 8am to 8pm.
How is everyone in your house coping with the back-to-school/back-to-work pressure cooker? We’d love to hear from you!