According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) may help to alleviate worsening symptoms of schizophrenia, such as social withdrawal. Typically, these symptoms are more difficult to manage than others, like hallucinations. Currently, the standard treatment involves anti-psychotic drugs.
A team led by K.N. Roy Chengappa, M.D., FRCPC of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center observed 66 randomized schizophrenia patients aged 18 to 75 years who experienced recent worsening of symptoms. At the end of 12 weeks, the researchers noted significant improvements in "negative" symptoms (social withdrawal, absence of speech, difficulty processing emotions, etc.), as well as decreased anxiety and depression, in the group that received ashwagandha.
The researchers concluded that a "standardized extract of Withania somnifera, when added adjunctively to anti-psychotic medications in patients with schizophrenia experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms, provides benefits for negative, general, and total symptoms and stress."
Chengappa KNR, Brar JS, Gannon JM, et al. Adjunctive use of a standardized extract of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) to treat symptom exacerbation in schizophrenia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2018;79(5):17m11826. https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.17m11826