Damn. I didn't notice the old thread warning, so my entire long post got deleted when I didn't tick the box at the bottom and tried to post. I wrote a long in depth review of Ashwagandha but it's gone now
Time to re-write it..
Started taking Ashwagandha a little over 2 weeks ago. I'm taking 1x 125mg capsule of Sensoril each morning alongside my vitamins/minerals. (ps I'm specifically going to avoid naming the actual brand, because I find when reading any positive review of anything, the moment I hear brand names mentioned I start doubting the authenticity of the review. So you'll have to ask someone else if you want a brand recommendation.)
The first couple days I noticed nothing. Day three I noticed some higher libido and increased energy.
A few days later for the first time in years I went out to a busy supermarket alone (normally I just go to the little corner shop where it's only one employee, who I already know - this time I went to a bigger busy supermarket), and felt zero, yes ZERO anxiety. It was mind-boggling. I didn't feel any of the lowered inhibitions that I'm used to from other substances that helped with my anxiety in the past (alcohol, benzodiazepines, stimulants etc) - so I couldn't even tell if it was helping with anxiety at all.. but then when I went out and put myself in a situation that would normally make me anxious, it just wasn't there. It's like someone hit the mute button on my anxiety. I even tried
to feel anxious just to test it, but I didn't feel anything.
A few days later I made myself go there again. Once again no real anxiety to speak of.
A couple of days ago I walked to the pharmacy (even though it would have been easier to just order what I needed online) and I felt minimal (although some minor) anxiety.
Now I haven't put myself in any truly serious situations with regards to anxiety yet. Things like: going to a bar, talking to/approaching a stranger, etc... but for the last few years I've been almost entirely house-bound except when I'm able to leave the house with someone else (since my anxiety is dramatically reduced in the presence of someone I know already/trust). So this is major progress.
Now that's the good. The bad is that Ashwagandha doesn't seem to give you lowered inhibitions or any sort of "push" like say benzos or a stimulant would. In other words it's still up to you to decide to place yourself in those situations that would normally make you anxious. However, if you can get yourself there, Ashwagandha seems to do the rest and turn down or eliminate the anxiety you would normally experience.
This could be seen as a positive though depending on the person. Other anxiolytics can give that strong push, but it can be problematic. You often feel over-confident, and inhibitions are lowered too much. It's like a facade, you become this fake version of yourself that you're not at all like when off the medication. For some people that's fine, but others might not like that. If you're someone who doesn't like that, then you'll love Ashwagandha, because it seems to do all the anxiety reduction without giving you that chip on the shoulder, that fake confidence. So perhaps it offers an opportunity to learn and build your own real lasting confidence on your own, rather than relying on your medication for it.
Other pros: This stuff is seriously cheap. I was lucky enough to get a deal on my Sensoril. The online store in question had 3 bottles left in stock, and all of them expire next month. Now I know that expiry dates are just a guarantee of you getting 100% of the effective dose up to that date, and that it's usually years longer before you see any notably degradation in even the least stable supplements - and often decades in others.. So, I didn't care about that, and bought all 3 bottles. Cost me about $22, plus a couple bucks shipping to get the 3 bottles, and each bottle is 120 capsules each containing 125mg Ashwagandha. I've experimented with 125mg vs 250mg, and honestly I don't think a higher dose is necessary. I think the anxiety reduction effects come from the cumulative effects of taking it daily, not from the acute effects, and so I don't think increasing the dosage is necessary. So based on that, that's about a year's worth for $22. For that price I'd expect something along the lines of a vitamin with no real noticeable effects - but on the contrary, short of something like benzos, Ashwagandha has been the most effective thing I've taken to date.
Now it's still only early days. I've been taking it for a little over 2 weeks, but some people say that the true cumulative effects take 1-2 months to build up. So it's possible the effects will change over the coming weeks. Maybe it will get stronger and give more of that "push" I'm used to from other anxiolytics. Maybe some other effects I've yet to experience will kick in. Or maybe it'll simply stay the same.
I look forward to finding out. I'll probably post an update if anything changes. If it's been 6+ months or something and no response from me since then, chances are that the effects have stayed more or less the same.
Some other things worth noting:
- It significantly takes the edge off and synergises with caffeine. I've been drinking a lot of coffee since taking Ashwagandha. Previously I was very sensitive to the effects of too much caffeine and so couldn't really enjoy something like coffee except in small amounts. Now I can drink coffee all day long though without getting a terrible crash or jitters etc. I guess this is maybe what people get from Theanine (never tried it)?
- Partly as a result of the above, and partly I think just the Ashwagandha itself, I've been way more productive lately. I've written the first half of a book, and done a lot more work over the past two weeks than I usually would.
- Improves sleep. I find myself falling asleep a lot more quickly now without tossing and turning. Once again, much like the anxiolytic effects, Ashwagandha doesn't really "make itself known" here. By that I mean that you don't feel sedated or sleepy or anything like that. It's just that when you do get in bed, you fall asleep quickly and easily.
- I'm not sure whether Ashwagandha increases libido or not. I had CRAZY high libido on the third day taking it, and a few brief moments like that since, but other days like for example today my libido just feels completely normal. So I don't know whether those moments of really high libido were Ashwagandha or just coincidences. I do suspect that it may have some libido-improving effects though, and perhaps I've just got used to them, or perhaps it's situational.