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Herbal Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, and Bipolar Disorders

Ashwagandha may help with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders.

One of the most common psychiatric disorders, anxiety tends to be a chronic condition and is linked to increased risk for a number of other health issues. It is not only costly to the individual, but a burden upon health care systems and work place productivity—with one study showing an average of over 50% lost work days in a 30 day period due to anxiety.56

Preclinical studies evaluating the benefits of ashwagandha on anxiety and depression in animals have demonstrated that ashwagandha exhibits both anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects comparable to that of the common pharmaceutical drugs lorazepam and imipramine.56

There is an 8-week randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial at the University of Pittsburgh currently enrolling participants to evaluate the effects of the standardized ashwagandha extract Sensoril® on people with bipolar disorder. Specifically, the researchers are investigating if ashwagandha can improve cognitive abilities like memory and concentration and reduce symptoms of anxiety and metabolic dysfunctions (if they exist in the patient).69

Evidence of Benefits

  • In one 12-week randomized, controlled clinical study involving 87 patients with anxiety, participants were basically either given counseling and cognitive therapy weekly with placebo pills two times a day or counseling, patient education, and a standardized 300 mg ashwagandha supplement (that looked like the placebo) twice daily. The group treated with ashwagandha showed significantly greater improvements in symptoms of anxiety—including mental and physical fatigue, lack of concentration, stress, and other general health complaints.56
  • A study involving 25 individuals with depression found that ashwagandha supplementation over a period of two months offered noticeable improvement in both anxiety and depression symptoms.11
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