Ashwagandha is primarily popular for affecting mood, but the debate is on whether this is bad or good. Would you trust Ashwagandha to improve your mental state? Is this herb recommended for people with mental illness, stress, or anxiety?
While we can find more proof of having the symptoms removed, people have also claimed to have worsening effects on their moods. So, the question remains, can Ashwagandha cause depression?
Ashwagandha isn’t scientifically proven to cause or worsen depression. Rather it is seen to improve mental health or work to cure anxiety and strength. However, everyone reacts to it differently, which can intensify moods if the person feels down or tired. Besides, Ashwagandha might trigger an existing health condition to worsen mood.
Still not convinced about Ashwagandha and its role? Read on to discover more and decide whether it can cure depression or anxiety.
Can Ashwagandha Cause Depression?
No, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that ashwagandha causes depression.
Ashwagandha is believed to affect mental health, mood, stress, and anxiety. But none of these are negative. On the contrary, some studies have explored the potential antidepressant effects of ashwagandha.
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Remember that individual responses to any substance, including herbs and supplements, can vary. So, some may have felt changes in their mood while taking the supplement. If you have depression, it is likely to be caused by some other issues.
Besides, if you take ashwagandha directly or mix it with hot fluids like coffee, tea, or chocolate, you might feel irritated, elevating your depression symptoms.
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Ashwagandha can also enhance any mood, especially if you are feeling down. Your blood sugar levels can drop as well due to Ashwagandha. It leads to general weakness and dullness, signs of depression.
So, if you notice any symptoms, check with your doctor for any pre-existing conditions.
How does Ashwagandha Influence Mental Health?
Ashwagandha is beneficial for mental health due to its adaptogenic properties. It helps the body adapt to stress and promotes overall well-being.
It is also known to help reduce stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels. Promoting a calmer state may contribute to improved mental well-being. You will be relieved from social anxiety disorder with controlled neurotransmitter activity.
Ashwagandha also has mood-enhancing properties to make you feel better. However, this can sometimes have a reverse effect if you have low energy or a sense of dullness. This herb will intensify your negative mood; however, it will not make you numb.
However, Ashwagandha also allows improved cognitive functions, good memory, and better brain health. Studies also show that ashwagandha may remove symptoms of depression and anxiety by regulating the body’s stress response and neurotransmitter activity.
Does Ashwagandha Help With Depression?
Ashwagandha is often touted for its potential to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. But studies are yet to be conducted to prove that Ashwagandha is the ultimate cure for depression.
Some studies have concluded that ashwagandha can control neurotransmitters to maintain better mental health. You have better resilience to stress. Even then, Ashwagandha should not be used as a sole treatment for depression.
Can You Take Ashwagandha with Antidepressants or SSRIs?
Though both Ashwagandha and antidepressants are used to treat stress and anxiety and improve mood, their interactions with antidepressants and SSRIs are not well-studied. However, there are hardly any side effects reported. But let your doctor decide on your supplement regime to avoid adverse effects.
Ashwagandha can potentially enhance the effects of certain medications, including antidepressants. It can lead to an increased risk of side effects or drug interactions. Additionally, ashwagandha may have mild sedative effects, which could increase your fatigue.
It means that Ashwagandha isn’t a good choice to combine with every medicine, especially sedatives or antidepressants. So speak to your doctor to help you find the right solutions.
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What is the Right Dosage of Ashwagandha?
The appropriate ashwagandha dosage can vary depending on the individual, their health condition, and the specific formula.
The recommended dosage range is 300 to 500 milligrams per day in divided doses. If using ashwagandha root powder, a dosage range of 1 to 6 grams per day, divided into multiple doses, is often suggested.
Start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it if needed while monitoring your body’s response.
How to Improve Depression?
Improving depression usally requires a comprehensive approach that may include a combination of strategies such as medication, therapy, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
- Seek help from a qualified healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis, including for taking Ashwagandha for depression.
- As per doctor’s prescriptions, take antidepressant medications, such as SSRIs, or different supplements to help manage depression.
- A healthy lifestyle can positively impact depression, with regular exercise and a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Building a support network of friends and family or participating in support groups can provide emotional support and understanding.
- Manage stress through physical activity like exercises, sports, yoga, or medicines.
Other Side Effects of Ashwagandha
While depression isn’t solely a side effect or cause due to Ashwagandha intake, this herb can cause other adversities if administered wrong or for your health condition.
Ashwagandha can cause diarrhea and nausea, irritating the gastrointestinal tract and worsening pre-existing gut infections.
Ashwagandha may intensify fatigue symptoms by not addressing underlying disorders such as copper toxicity, undermethylation, and zinc deficiency.
Ashwagandha’s potential to increase heart rate can worsen insomnia and side effects like headaches and gastrointestinal distress.
Ashwagandha’s “heating” properties can increase inflammation and emotions like irritation and frustration, contributing to anxiety. Rapid drops in blood sugar levels can also intensify anxiety symptoms.
Disruption of Hormones
Ashwagandha’s role in hormonal disruption, particularly for those with copper overload, methylation disorders, and gut infections, can impair progress and increase adrenal issues. Hormone therapy and certain herbal remedies may have adverse effects in these cases.
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Who should avoid Ashwagandha?
While Ashwagandha is beneficial, it might not suit all. It can cause allergic reactions in many users. So, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have cancer, liver or thyroid problems, or will undergo surgery, you should avoid taking it.
Is it safe to take Ashwagandha daily?
Taking ashwagandha regularly, at least once for up to eight weeks, is perfectly safe. But do monitor changes to ensure that it doesn’t cause any problems. Consult your doctor if you notice any symptoms or for recommendations for long-term use.
Can ashwagandha affect your hormones?
Ashwagandha can regulate hormones to keep them balanced. But it might trigger responses that can increase certain hormones. Some men can also have increased testosterone levels. But it hardly affects female hormones unless you have thyroid issues.
The Bottom Line
Ashwagandha itself doesn’t cause depression in a healthy person. Rather, it can remove various symptoms causing stress or mood swings and even regulate the nervous system for better brain functions. The problem may occur if you are already suffering from depression without you knowing.
Ashwagandha has quite strong side effects as well. If you have a hormonal imbalance or other health problems, it can worsen some symptoms. In some cases, your good or bad mood can also become elevated. So, if you want a cure for depression, seek professional health.
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I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.