The reason ashwagandha helps promote relaxation and anxiety reduction is that it is a natural adaptogen which protects the nervous system and enhances our ability to minimize the effects of stress and anxiety. It has also exhibited superior protective qualities which help reduce the degenerative effects of stress on the immune system.
Chronic stress has incredibly destructive effects on all of the cells in the body. By reducing these destructive effects, the herb is thought to help slow the aging process. It is also known as a powerful antioxidant since it has protective benefits which help prevent early cell death, mutation and oxidative stress.
The herb has performed as well as or better than some common anxiety medications in studies. Recommended dosage is usually 300-500 mg once or twice a day depending on need. In one study, participants reported an enhanced sense of well-being, more restful sleep and lower levels of perceived stress. It has also demonstrated impressive benefits in reducing the level of the highly destructive "stress hormone" cortisol.