Dr. is a doctor at the University of Pittsburgh.
She takes only one supplement regularly: ashwagandha.
The traditional Ayurvedic medicine is known to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, the herb ashwagandha is rising in popularity in the United States.
According to the most recent report by the American Botanical Council, ashwagandha was the seventh most purchased supplement in 2021. Its sales rose 226% from the year prior, the largest growth of any supplement.
Dr. Megan Bradley, a urogynecologist at the University of Pittsburgh, thinks that ashwagandha is backed by some compelling research. “I think there’s some pretty good data about it for general stress,” Bradley told Insider. She also said she thinks that it’s “good for sleep and general well being.”
The research is so compelling that ashwagandha is the only supplement Bradley regularly takes.
Ashwagandha may help decrease stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is considered to be an adaptogen — a substance thought to improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress.
Most people, like Bradley, report taking ashwagandha to improve “overall health and wellness” according to a 2021 survey published by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
One small research study from 2019 found that adults who took ashwagandha capsules had reduced cortisol levels — a hormone released when the body is stressed. They also reported feeling less stressed, and sleeping better.
A 2022 review of multiple studies also found that ashwagandha significantly reduced anxiety and stress, but said that more studies on the herb are needed.
Ashwagandha can be taken in many forms
Ashwagandha can be taken in many forms including powders, capsules, liquid drops, and even gummies. It is also an ingredient in some herbal teas.
Regardless of the form, Dr. Yufang Lin, an integrative medicine specialist, told Cleveland Clinic that the dose is typically 500 mg twice a day.
Side effects are usually minimal, although sometimes people may experience gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
If you have a pre-existing thyroid condition, Lin recommended checking with your doctor prior to trying ashwagandha, as ashwagandha can lead to hyperthyroidism in people who already have an overactive thyroid.
It is also important to speak with your healthcare provider before trying ashwagandha if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an autoimmune disease.
Read the original article on Insider
Dr. Debi Johnson is a medical expert and health journalist dedicated to promoting well-being. With a background in medicine, she offers evidence-based insights into health trends and wellness practices. Beyond her reporting, Dr. Debi enjoys hiking, yoga, and empowering others to lead healthier lives.