This Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb is known for its stress-busting ability plus it’s meant to help with improving concentration, increasing energy levels and supporting hormone health in women and men, amongst other qualities! I’ve been a fan for the last couple of years and although I don’t take it consistently, it’s a regular in my supplements collection. Here’s a great piece from Ayurvedic supplement brand Earths Secret all about the benefits of Ashwaganda… enjoy.
Ashwagandha is a small plant with yellow flowers, native to India and North Africa and known to be one of the most powerful herbs used in Ayurvedic healing.
If you’re not familiar with Ayurveda, it is essentially a form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing. Ashwagandha has been used to help relieve stress, increase energy levels and improve concentration for over 3000 years!
Ashwagandha is known to be one of the most powerful Ayurvedic herbs because of its very extensive list of health benefits.
- It optimises the body’s stress response by lowering cortisol levels and promoting a calmer, clearer state of mind. It’s been clinically proven to reduce the feelings of anxiety by supporting the productions of mood-stabilising brain chemicals.
- It is classified as an Adaptogen, meaning that it can help the body better deal with stress and can return you to a state of balance and homeostasis when things get out of sync.
- It has been shown to enhance GABA receptors and Serotonin in the brain. It appears to work on neuron receptors, enabling GABA to connect easier, which inhibits the signals present under a stress response in the brain.
Multiple studies have been conducted which show the benefits of using Ashwagandha for anxiety and stress relief. One study done in Asha Hospital in India, where 64 patients with chronic stress were administered high concentration root-extracted Ashwagandha, concluded that the extract safely and effectively improved their resistance to stress over a period of 60 days.
Another more recent study conducted in the Risk Care Hospital, Prakruti Care Hospital and Jupiter Hospital in India also revealed the same conclusion after including healthy stressed adults in a randomized trial of high concentration root extract Ashwagandha.
Other benefits of supplementing with Ashwagandha include memory improvements, as well as learning and cognitive capacities as the plant has been shown to boost acetylcholine in the brain.
A clinical study involving 20 healthy males revealed significant improvements in their reaction times, which involve cognitive and psychomotor abilities, given just 250mg of extract over a 14 day period. Ashwagandha has also been linked to male fertility and boosting testosterone, as well as decreasing inflammations, making it particularly beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases.
Dosage and Safety
In terms of dosage, whilst there is no official recommended amount, Ashwagandha is typically advised between 300 and 600mg daily for 6 to 12 weeks. Overall, the dosage may vary depending on how it is consumed, such as in a supplement capsule with the full dose or it can also be taken as tea in lower doses throughout the day, depending on what it is used for. If you plan to take ashwagandha for anxiety, you could take low doses several times per day in a tea, or take it a single dose before bedtime to combat insomnia, for example.
The Ashwagandha market has a vast amount of product options but they don’t all offer the same level of efficacy or safety, as they don’t use the same type of plant extracts. A lot of products contain the plants’ leaf compounds which can actually have a negative effect on the body due to high toxicity levels. Many also don’t have the levels of validated compounds as the labels suggest and are therefore less efficient than they claim to be.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha is a specific type of Ashwagandha extract that has been peer-patented as a clinal based ingredient, created and refined over 14 years of research. This type of extract differs from others by being a so-called “full-spectrum” root extract, which means it has the highest percentage of the plants’ active compounds and chemicals when compared to other root-only extracts, without affecting their natural ratio. KSM-66® Ashwagandha offers the highest concentration, most bioavailable full-spectrum root extract on the market, derived only from the roots of the plant. This makes it 100% safe to use and with no toxicity risk, as there are no leaf extracts.It is also the highest clinically studied version of Ashwagandha, having received 22 gold standard human clinical trials, further proving its efficacy and safety to use.
Another benefit of this extract versus other Ashwagandha ingredients is that it’s the first one to be produced with a “Green Chemistry” based process, that doesn’t involve synthetic solvents or alcohol for extraction.
Earth’s Secret Ashwagandha Supplement
At Earths Secret we use KSM-66® Ashwagandha as our Ashwagandha extract, and it is in fact the pillar ingredient in our Calm complex. We guarantee an amount of 600mg of KSM-66® Ashwagandha inside each daily dose, which is the optimal dose for ultimate efficacy.
In our Earths Secret supplements we use 600mg as it is the optimum amount for high efficacy. Large doses of the extract can cause some side effects such as drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhoea, nausea, or vomiting. However, low to moderate doses of ashwagandha often cause few–if any– unwanted side effects. Ashwagandha has no known moderate or severe interactions with other drugs either.
Regarding efficacy, there are currently no known ingredients that make Ashwagandha inefficient, however it is advised against being taken together with drugs such as blood thinners or other prescribed anxiety medication.
There are a few ingredients that actually enhance the effects of Ashwagandha on the other hand, namely other adaptogens such as Rhodiola Rosea and L-theanine, as these complement each other’s benefits. Black pepper also works well with Ashwagandha since it enhances the body’s natural capacity to absorb it. All of these ingredients make up our Calm complex, with the addition of Holy Basil.
It is also important to consider how Ashwagandha is sourced. By using the KSM-66® Ashwagandha extract as well as through our own sustainable ways of working at Earths Secret, we can ensure that all of our ingredients including Ashwagandha are ethically and sustainably sourced. We also use the most eco-friendly packaging possible, partner with One Tree Planted and are advocates for full transparency and traceability of supply chains. Our goal is to always use powerful natural ingredients when creating our Complexes without ever using any artificial, preservatives or additives.
Salve, J., Pate, S., Debnath, K., & Langade, D. (2019). Adaptogenic and anxiolytic effects of ashwagandha root extract in healthy adults: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study. Cureus, 11(12).
Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255-262.
Pingali, U., Pilli, R., & Fatima, N. (2014). Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants. Pharmacognosy research, 6(1), 12.