October 2023

Ashwagandha for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Ashwagandha has been one of the top-selling natural medicines for many years now. Stress and anxiety remain common reasons why people try these products. New guideline recommendations are now weighing in on its use for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Here’s what you should know.

Clinical practice guidelines from the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) provisionally recommend taking ashwagandha root extract alone or as an adjunctive therapy in people with GAD. The guidelines recommend doses of 300-600 mg by mouth daily – findings from several preliminary clinical studies consistently show that it helps.

If patients want to give it a try, tell them to look for products standardized to 5% withanolides. And make sure they understand that these guidelines are only for persistent anxiety – it’s unclear if taking ashwagandha helps with occasional anxiety. There aren’t any major safety concerns when it’s used appropriately, but emphasize that product quality remains a concern for the adaptogen product market in general. Refer to our Quality Certifications resource for guidance on evaluating product quality.

Check out our recently updated ashwagandha monograph to learn more.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2023 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.