By Macaela Mackenzie
Among the adaptogens, ashwagandha — an evergreen shrub found growing in Asia and Africa — reigns supreme.
Here’s everything you need to know before adding ashwagandha to your wellness routine.
Adaptogens, known for their almost-mystic abilities, are everywhere these days.
It’s an adaptogen noted for its effects on reducing inflammation and anxiety, and boosting antioxidants and the immune system. “I generally recommend adaptogens alongside other stress-relieving lifestyle recommendations,” says Elana Weisberg, L.Ac., the director of acupuncture at Tia Clinic.
A meta-analysis of studies published in 2020 found that ingesting the adaptogen demonstrated a “reasonable efficacy” in treating everything from chronic stress, to insomnia, to anxiety, to type-2 diabetes, to fertility. The best part: No serious adverse side effects were reported in any of the studies analyzed. (The most common downside, according to the report, was some mild gastric discomfort.)
One study among COVID patients found that taking a gram of ashwagandha daily for a week helped reduce markers of inflammation in the body.
“It’s a wonderful herb for stress-related insomnia; it helps with sleep because it helps to relieve anxiety through cortisol regulation,” says Weisberg.
While documented risks of taking ashwagandha are few, “it can be a good idea to chat with your doctor before starting any new supplements,” cautions Yael Cooperman, M.D., the senior manager of medical content and education at Ro. “Supplements are not closely regulated by the FDA and don’t always contain what they claim to contain (or in the doses they claim to contain it).”