There are multiple herbs mentioned in ancient herbal medicinal literature used in ancient times in mental disorders, including stress. These uses are extensively reported in popular herbal medicine literature available on the internet. Some of the common herbs mentioned herein are Bacopa monnieri, ginseng, ginkgo, Pfaffia paniculata (common name Suma), Astragalus spp, Glycyrrhiza glabra, and G. uralensis, and many others. The scientific support to most of the above-listed plants is limited at best to animal studies or anecdotal evidence.
I did find a scientific reference to a human clinical trial using Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) that claims the role of this herb in reducing stress. Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, leading to under-performance and adverse clinical conditions. Adaptogens are herbs that help in combating stress. Ayurvedic classical texts, animal studies, and clinical studies describe Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) as a safe and effective adaptogen. Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and improves self-assessed quality of life. (Chandrasekhar. K, et al.)
Memorial Sloan Kettering Center too has references to ashwagandha that claims the plant possessing stress-reducing properties. Mild to moderate and transient drowsiness, upper GI discomfort, loose stools adverse reaction of this herb has also been reported here. Less common effects reported are: Giddiness, drowsiness, hallucinogenic, vertigo, nasal congestion (rhinitis), cough, cold, decreased appetite, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, hyperactivity, nocturnal cramps, blurring of vision, hyperacidity, skin rash, and weight gain.
This brief preview indicates that using any of the herbs for reducing stress should be used only under medical supervision. Herbs have side effects and are also known to interact with other herbs and medications.
- Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants
- Asian Herbs and their wondrous health-giving properties
- Natural Solutions for Diabetes
- Natural Solutions for Obesity
- Natural Solutions for Cancer