Ashwagandha shows potential for improving symptoms of OCD

An Iranian study tested the ability of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) to enhance the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It determined that the root extract of the Ayurvedic herb could improve the symptoms of the psychiatric problem.

Mashhad University of Medical Sciences supported the study. Its findings were published in the science journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

  • Participants consisted of 30 patients who were being treated for obsessive-compulsive disorder. They were evenly divided between a placebo group and a treatment group. Some patients also displayed unrelated comorbid anxiety disorders.
  • Ashwagandha roots were processed to created dry powdered extract. Thirty milligrams of the extract was combined with lactose in 250-milligram capsules. Meanwhile, the placebo equivalent contained pure lactose.
  • Participants took one capsule each day, increased their consumption by an extra capsule every four days until they were taking four units each day. Towards the end, they reduced their dosage by one every four days until they were back to taking one capsule per day.
  • The trial lasted for six weeks. At the start of the period and after it ended, the participants answered the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale test, a test that measured the severity of OCD.
  • The scores of the ashwagandha extract-treated participants displayed greater positive changes when compared to the performance of the placebo group members. None of them reported any ill effects from taking ashwagandha.

The study recommended further exploration of the beneficial effects of ashwagandha on OCD treatment, such as the extract’s phytochemical content and the effect’s possible dependency on dosage.

For more articles about the beneficial effects of ashwagandha extract, visit

Journal Reference:

Jahanbakhsh SP, Manteghi AA, Emami SA, Mahyari S, Gholampour B, Mohammadpour AH, Sahebkar A. EVALUATION OF THE EFFICACY OF WITHANIA SOMNIFERA (ASHWAGANDHA) ROOT EXTRACT IN PATIENTS WITH OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER: A RANDOMIZED DOUBLE-BLIND PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIAL. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2016;27:25–29. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.018.

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