The Skeptics Guide to Anxiety Supplements: Ashwagandha for Anxiety

Young woman wearing white t shirt looking bored, tired of boredom, being sketical, skeptic

So, you’ve been hearing a lot lately about ashwagandha for anxiety, and you’re wondering what the deal is. Does it work, or is it just another scam designed to part fools from their money? Let’s take a look at the facts.


What is Ashwagandha?

An ancient plant from the nightshade family, ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years for a wide range of issues, from relieving stress and improving concentration to increasing energy levels and physical strength.

But if the internet is to believed, every medicinal plant and herb has been used for thousands of years for a wide range of issues. It sounds impressive, but it doesn’t really provide anything useful—it’s like saying the moon is 4 million bananas from Earth. That’s great, but what are we supposed to do with that? (And no, I didn’t research that figure. I thought it’d be a fun bit of trivia we could investigate later, but 4 million sounds about right.)

The Facts About Ashwagandha for Anxiety

The fact is, every source on the internet claims that medicinal herbs have been used for thousands of years because chances are, it’s true. But what they then fail to provide is any indication of how that helps us today in the 21st century, surrounded by incredibly sophisticated medical technology and ridiculously expensive medications. And given the highly advanced state of contemporary medicine, what has been learned since ancient times about the medicinal herb in question? For all we know, common, affordable medications and treatment therapies have been developed that show better results. So, what are the facts? Excellent question! Here, have a banana, I’ve got tons of them. They’re for an experiment I’m working on.

Ashwagandha plant with red berry
Facts Myths concept
Beautyful blonde woman sitting in cabinet and talking to doctor

The Facts About Ashwagandha for Anxiety


As with many medicinal herbs, ashwagandha has been used throughout history because it’s effective. And building upon this solid history is some promising evidence that recent research has been able to provide.

Ashwagandha is a proven “adaptogen,” a classification of plants noted for their ability to help the body combat a variety of stressors, be they physical, biological or chemical. That makes ashwagandha and similar medicinal herbs particularly useful, as they can help the body as well as the mind.

These stress-reduction properties have become evident in case studies like this one, published by the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 64 subjects with chronic stress showed significant improvement in just 60 days. It concluded that “Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”

Similar ashwagandha case studies abound for the treatment of a surprising variety of other mental health disorders—from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder to dementia and schizophrenia—as well as everyday health concerns like improving memory, cognitive function, improving strength and mitigating the effects of aging. 

As always, Anxiety Supplements recommends talking with your healthcare provider before starting any herbal supplement regimen. And if your mental health is ever at a particularly critical point, use these resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Remember, the only shame in mental illness is not getting the help you need. These people are pros, let them help you.

And for a closer look at our all-natural ashwagandha supplement, take a gander here.


Update: Almost 2 billion bananas. I was way off.


Walker Kornfeld is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in health & wellness writing and dark fiction editing. Drop him a line at Watchword Writing and Editing Services.