October 12, 2015

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb and an adaptogen. As such it is very good for reducing anxiety and the effects of stress on the body. Few things are more stressful than withdrawing an addictive substance. These stress reducing properties make ashwagandha excellent for assisting individuals attempting to eliminate their addictions. While there are not many studies on this topic, the few that have been done do suggest that ashwagandha may be beneficial.

One recent study showed that ashwagandha extracts can interact with GABA and opioid receptors and block some of the effects of morphine on the brain. The authors concluded that the results warranted further study for opioid addiction[1]. There have also been a couple of studies looking at the effects of ashwagandha use with alcoholism. They found that by antagonizing the same GABA-B receptors that were noted in the morphine addiction research, ashwagandha was able to decrease the amount of alcohol that mice would seek out and consume[2]. Another group found that ashwagandha extracts were able to decrease anxiety and other symptoms in mice undergoing alcohol withdrawal[3].

Ashwagandha has been used for centuries for its calming and adaptogenic properties. While the results of these studies are hardly surprising it is always beneficial to see research validate traditional herbal theory and uses.