‘I tried Goop ashwagandha for my anxiety and holy Paltrow’

The effect of Goop’s ashwagandha magic dust on Aimee’s mental health was a real shock.

Sometimes, I feel so anxious my heart pounds, my palms get sweaty and I feel a bit dizzy. This can even happen to me before I’ve gotten up; despite the comfort of laying in my bed, I can feel an overwhelming sense of crushing anxiety before the sun has even risen. See, I’ve had an incredibly difficult year, and I’m still dealing with the aftermath of an insanely traumatic divorce and move across the world complete with starting over on my own in every aspect of my life.

Despite the wonderful support I’ve been lucky enough to have from some pretty special friends and family, sometimes, it still feels like it’s all too much.

While my doctor has been super understanding of this challenging period in my life and has provided me with prescriptions for both Ativan and Clonazepam, I quite honestly find them addictive and don’t want to find myself in any more trouble than I already feel like I’m in.

Also, I enjoy a glass of wine as much as anyone, and I’ve made the unfortunate mistake of mixing the two before with less than stellar results. (Full disclosure: I engaged in a long and heartfelt slurred speech about the injustice of feminist’s rights to my dad, who kindly soothed my worrisome pain and fed me. Thanks, Dad, and so sorry again.)

It’s safe to say I am doing the right thing by only taking these medications when I really need them, but I often feel like I still need something else to help ease my anxiety, especially when it’s the middle of the day and I have work and life to attend to and can’t be living in Xanax dreamland.

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I’ve always been into health and wellness, and stumbled across the ancient herb ashwagandha in a recent Goop rabbit hole. In a Q+A article asking about how to deal with stress, Goop’s senior director of science and research, Gerda Endemann, who has a BS in nutrition from UC Berkeley, a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT, convinced me ashwagandha was certainly worth a go.

“This herb has stood the test of time: It comes to us from Ayurveda, a practice of traditional medicine originating in India thousands of years ago. And its value is now also being demonstrated in clinical research. When I described the multiple benefits of ashwagandha to my fiancé recently, he said that it sounded too good to be true,” she says.

Ashwagandha has been used for so many purposes in Ayurvedic medicine and as a general tonic—a rasayana—to promote health and revitalise the body. It does all this by helping us deal with stress in a healthy way.”

I was in agreement with Endemann’s fiancé – this ancient Ayurvedic herb really did sound too good to be true.

Nonetheless, I took her suggestion of going with Sun Potion’s offering, which is available for purchase on the Goop site for $47 US.

Once it arrived in all its magic-looking glory, I dove right in and began taking it immediately.

Heading Endemann’s advice, I poured some soy milk into my Nespresso milk frother and added a small spoonful of the brown powder during the wind down period of my evening. Fairly innocent in its scent and taste, it was actually even mildly and surprisingly pleasant to drink. Eventually I began to turn into a nightly ritual.

Truthfully, sometimes I even add a splash of whiskey to the frother to make an ashwagandha-spiked nightcap. This made me feel equal parts adult and conflicted — is it OK to mix Jameson with an ancient wellness tonic? Who knows, but here we are, nonetheless.

I can truthfully say I have felt a great reduction in my daily stress levels after taking ashwagandha for the better part of a month. I am able to just take a deep, calming breath when things start to feel heavy. I feel more level-headed, and my full-on feelings of overwhelming panic are a thing of the past, too.

I’m seriously surprised at the root’s ability to have such a strong impact on my mental health, but it seems to be proving impressively effective. These days, when I have a meal with my parents, my Dad isn’t feeding me to calm my messy state of mind and hurray for that.

This story was republished with permission from Whimn.com.au