Is Ashwagandha Good For Perimenopause?

July 08, 2021.

Ashwagandha is a medical herb that humans have used throughout millennia to treat a variety of ailments. Known as Withania somnifera, “Indian Winter Cherry,” and “Indian Ginseng,” this plant comes from India and Northern Africa. As one of the most well-known ancient medical herbs and a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicinal practices, numerous scientific studies prove its effectiveness in treating several symptoms. But, many women wonder, is this plant effective against perimenopause symptoms? Let’s take a look.

What is ashwagandha used to treat?

The root of ashwagandha is where we get the medicinal properties of this plant. In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is used for its stress-relieving properties. It can be classified as an adaptogen because it helps the body combat different forms of stress. Withanolides are the primary compounds that relieve stress in the body. Because withanolides are present, ashwagandha may help:

Does ashwagandha help with perimenopause? 

Few studies show whether or not ashwagandha is effective against perimenopausal symptoms. One study did find that this root may help with hot flashes, but it showed noticeable effectiveness against psychological disturbances like:

  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia

What evidence we do have for ashwagandha is mostly anecdotal, meaning that many women say they use an ashwagandha supplement to successfully mitigate their uncomfortable perimenopausal symptoms. 

Ashwagandha Thyroid Use? 

There is substantial evidence that ashwagandha helps balance thyroid hormones. Indeed, this herb is commonly found in thyroid supplements to help raise thyroid hormone levels, benefiting people with hypothyroidism. This herb can raise thyroid hormone levels through its ability to lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. When cortisol levels are high, it can suppress thyroid hormone production. 

Thyroid problems are relatively common in women in perimenopause and menopause. These conditions are often diagnosed in women aged 40-60. Many of the symptoms that signal you have a thyroid problem are very similar to perimenopause symptoms (think: weight gain, fatigue, depression, joint pain, constipation, menstrual irregularities, etc.). Indeed, some women struggle to identify if their symptoms are related to perimenopause or a thyroid problem. 

How to take ashwagandha

In traditional Ayurvedic practice, this medicinal herb is prepared in a fine powder and added to water, ghee, or honey. However, most people take it in supplement form, which often comes in capsules or tablets. Sometimes, it is used in combination with other herbs in a supplement. You can also add the powder to various beverages (like smoothies) and even yogurt.

Ashwagandha Tea Benefits 

Another common way to get this herb is by drinking ashwagandha tea. You can buy this tea pre-prepared, or you can steep ashwagandha roots or powder in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Adding honey, mint, or lemon can enhance the flavor. Many people like the tea because it is easier on the digestive system and can be a soothing way to wind down at the end of the day while taking a medicinal herb that helps combat stress. 

ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Reviews and Safety

Most evidence supporting ashwagandha use in perimenopause is anecdotal, so we often turn to review on popular retailers to see what women are saying. Out of thousands of ashwagandha Amazon reviews, most supplement brands with this herb get 4.5/5 stars. It is found in some menopausal supplements, many of which get positive reviews as well. Ashwagandha Walmart reviews are equally in favor, although there are fewer reviewers at this retailer than Amazon.

Ashwagandha is safe for most people to use. However, some people need to be cautious when taking it, and of course, it is always best to consult your doctor before starting something new. If you have an autoimmune condition where your immune system is already overactive, you may not want to take this herb as it boosts the immune system. Similarly, if you are taking certain medications to treat thyroid conditions and diabetes, you may not be able to take this herb. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid ashwagandha. 

When you follow the directions for use, there is a very low risk for side effects. Some people may have gastric upset, like diarrhea and nausea, but the risk for those symptoms is low. 

Disclaimer: this is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment. 

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Julia Walker
perry expert Julia (RN, BSN, BA) is a registered nurse based in Colorado. Julia's nursing background in women’s health has ranged from neonatal and postpartum care to labor and delivery, to outpatient gynecological medicine for both adolescent and adult populations. She specializes in helping women optimize their health during perimenopause and beyond.

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