Natural Support for Anxiety, Depression, Overwhelm, and PTSD

by Mark Davis on Aug 17, 2022

Natural Support for Anxiety, Depression, Overwhelm, and PTSD

Are you someone dealing with depression or the feeling of constant overwhelm? Maybe you are someone struggling with PTSD. If so, I'm going to be discussing a natural adaptogenic herb that could possibly impact your life or someone that you love.

Ashwagandha, an herb with a funny name, but serious health benefits, is an herb that's found primarily in India, and it's been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to help folks with a wide array of different health issues. What's unique about Ashwagandha is it's what we call an adaptogenic herb. An adaptogenic herb is an herb that doesn't work like medicine to replace a hormone or to stimulate your body to do something of a specific action, rather it helps provide an environment for your body to adapt and re-regulate its own hormones so your body will naturally raise or lower hormones to find its new balance. So what does that really mean?

There's been studies that have shown ashwagandha's effect on TSH, otherwise known as thyroid stimulating hormone. When someone with low TSH took ashwagandha, it literally raised it. When someone who had high TSH took ashwagandha, it lowered it. So what ashwagandha did was allow the body to adapt itself and rediscover it’s normal. 

What's great about ashwagandha is it works not only to adapt with thyroid hormones, but other hormones in the body as well. Cortisol is a classic stress hormone that is released from the adrenal glands. These glands sit on top of the kidneys and respond to mental or physical stress, and in response release cortisol. High levels of cortisol can have a negative effect on your overall health and wellbeing. This can lead to adrenal fatigue, depression, anxiety, overwhelm, and so on. Ashwagandha as an adaptogenic herb helps the body reset to find that normal again.

How Can Ashwagandha Help You?

Do you have a job that's really high in stress? Are you a mom with kids that are constantly pulling you in a million different directions? Maybe you have family stress? In any case, ashwagandha is a herb that can help your body bring those stress hormones back under control and back into balance, improve your cortisol levels, thereby improving your health, your overall mood, decreasing depression, and all those feelings of overwhelm. 

Ashwagandha is an herb that can help bring those stress hormones back under control and back into balance. By improving cortisol levels, your mood improves, decreasing depression and those feelings of overwhelm that you may be feeling. I've seen it time and time again in clinical practice, and there's nothing better than watching someone get back to that place that they used to be. 

Ashwagandha and PTSD

One of the best situations I've seen Ashwagandha having a profound impact on is PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in our military personnel returning from deployment.

Coming from a military family, this is really close to my heart because the more military personnel that we can get to understand the benefits of ashwagandha, the more we can help. Understand there's a multitude of mental and physical reasons for PTSD, and the number one thing that you could do is seek professional help. However, ashwagandha is something that can be added to help the body physically recover after a deployment. 

Think for a moment what many of our military personnel go through, they're away from their families for months, if not years at a time. Lots of the time is spent in these extremely high stressful situations where your body's constantly producing large amounts of adrenaline. Your cortisol levels are off the charts for weeks, sometimes months, sometimes years on end. You're constantly on high alert. Even when you're resting, the body's producing more cortisol than it should be.

Now, add to the mix the fact that many of our military personnel are taking stimulants to help stay alert. These energy drinks, pre-workouts and other substances further increase the stress hormones. This isn't even taking into consideration the emotional aspects. This is just talking about the physical aspects of cortisol and adrenaline on the body. At some point, your body goes into adrenal fatigue and that will affect your mood, depression, anxiety, feeling of overwhelm and so on. 

Unfortunately, this is the type of thing we see all too often to the people who have served our country. Ashwagandha as I said is an adaptogenic herb that can help smooth the transition, help balance cortisol, insulin, and even adrenaline, and help these folks transition back more smoothly to a healthier mental state and a healthier physical state.

The Whole Picture

Of course, I wouldn't just recommend ashwagandha. I'd recommend a balanced diet that's low in sugar and processed foods and high in good fats, but nevertheless, understand ashwagandha is going to help adaptogenically balance your hormones regardless of your diet, but a healthy diet literally supercharges it, so it obviously makes sense to have the healthiest diet that you can while transitioning.

7 Benefits of Ashwagandha

Balancing Stress Hormones

The number one reason I love ashwagandha is its effect on anxiety and depression by helping balance the body's stress hormones and getting them back into check. 

Improved Stamina & Endurance

The next reason I love ashwagandha is improved physical stamina and endurance, something we haven't talked about yet, but studies have shown that ashwagandha actually improves physical endurance and stamina. This improvement in athletic performance is profound, and it's great especially for those who are endurance athletes. I wish I would've known this when I was doing marathons and triathlons a few years back, as every athlete loves to have that little competitive edge. So if you're an athlete, it might be something that you want to add into your training regimen.

Improved Thyroid Function

The third reason I love ashwagandha is it can improve thyroid function. If you're someone who can't lose weight, has cold fingertips on a regular basis, or has thinning hair that you can't really explain, you may have a thyroid issue. If so, ashwagandha is shown in studies to help the body adapt. Again, if you have a high thyroid level, your body will adapt it down. If you have a low thyroid level, your body will adapt it up. It's irrespective where it's at, it's an adaptogenic herb.

Supports Sexual Health

The next reason I love ashwagandha, it has been shown to support sexual health. It supports libido, energy levels, stamina, and your overall well-being. 

Reduce Adrenal Fatigue

Next reason, as I said before, is that this is the number one herb for adrenal fatigue. Obviously, as I said before, it is highly beneficial for our military personnel, but also for busy moms, law enforcement, any job with high stress that you may be dealing with adrenal fatigue, you will find benefit when supplementing with ashwagandha. 

Overall Enhancement of Mood

The next reason I love ashwagandha is overall enhancement of mood. This is what ashwagandha is probably most known for in the literature. It's called the herb that helps with happiness. I have loved seeing this in family members. I've seen it in patients, I've seen it in friends. Understand this isn't a sense of euphoria when taking this, but it's been described as feeling this sense of joy or contentment, which is obviously always a good thing, and it's fun to watch people really come back around to their old selves. 

Positive Effects on the Brain

Another reason I love ashwagandha is it's been shown to have positive effects on the brain, not only cognitive thinking and memory, but things like Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's.

It helps us by balancing the hormones. So it doesn't matter if you're a student trying to improve or a worker who really just needs that extra focus. Ashwagandha is going to be a great addition. 

Boost The Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha and Maca

Maca is another adaptogenic root, and it's found in the mountains of Peru. What's interesting about maca is it's one of the very few plants that can grow at the 13,000 plus feet elevation in the Peruvian Mountains. The reason why it works so well is because it also contains alkaloid compounds, which help balance hormones. But it goes a step further. Maca's said to not only help balance hormones, it increases libido, helps with infertility and symptoms of menopause. When it's used in conjunction with ashwagandha, they work synergistically to help the body find balance once again, and that's why they're so great together.

Ashwagandha and Black Pepper

Black pepper is great because some of the compounds it contains help the ashwagandha actually become absorbed more readily into the bloodstream, so you're able to use more of it and get more out of every single dose you take. So if you're going to get an ashwagandha supplement, make sure it contains black pepper. You're likely going to be able to absorb a lot more of it as you take it. 

All right, there you have it. Those are the reasons why I absolutely love this herb with a funny name. Ashwagandha with MACA and black pepper is available at Davis Nutrition. It's called Pure Ashwagandha. You can also get ashwagandha at your local health food store. Just make sure it has the black pepper and the MACA in it as well, so that you get as much out of it as you possibly can. 

Until next time, remember, health is by choice, not chance.