Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb native to India and North Africa that is commonly used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India.
However, unlike Ayurveda itself, Ashwagandha’s medicinal properties have been proven effective by numerous scientific studies and research has shown that it helps to counteract stress, improve physical performance, and regulate certain hormones.
In this article, we’ll review what Ashwagandha is and highlight the 4 best Ashwagandha supplements available along with their key features and major health benefits.
TL; DR: What You Need to Know About Ashwagandha
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that counteracts the effects of stress on the body.
- It’s best known for its role in the management of chronic stress and anxiety but it has also demonstrated other health benefits such as reducing insomnia, lowering cortisol, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as regulating blood glucose levels.
- When searching for Ashwagandha supplements, it’s crucial for people to select a product that contains a standardized extract, GMP certification, and 3rd party testing in order to experience the full-range health benefits.
Comparison of the 4 Best Ashwagandha Supplements
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What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a herb called Withania somnifera in Latin, however, it’s also referred to as Indian ginseng and winter cherry. The name Ashwagandha means “horse smell” and this is attributed to the scent of its roots.
The roots and leaves of this plant are typically used in Ashwagandha extracts and supplements to help promote certain health benefits which include:
- Lowering cortisol and reducing the impact of stress
- Reducing anxiety and improving overall mood
- Lowering blood sugar and cholesterol
- Improving sperm quality and testosterone levels
- Reducing insomnia, fatigue, and depression
- Increasing strength
Benefits of Taking Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha for Stress
Ashwagandha is commonly labeled as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are a group of herbs that support and improve your body’s abilities to manage stress.
Multiple high-quality studies suggest that Ashwagandha supplementation can successfully alleviate the symptoms and physical effects of chronic stress. 
One of the clinical trials is a double-blind, randomized, controlled study with 64 participants suffering from chronic stress. After 60 days the treatment group has significantly lower scores and increased resistance on stress tests. The participants taking ashwagandha also reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia and a 79% reduction in severe depression.
Another double-blind, randomized, controlled trial with 98 men and women found similar results, of ashwagandha on chronic stress.
All of the studies also reveal that ashwagandha significantly reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The effect ranges from 14-28% amongst different trials.
Ashwagandha for Anxiety and Depression
A small 6-week placebo-controlled trial with 39 people found out that people who took ashwagandha experienced a significantly higher reduction in anxiety compared to the placebo group.
Another randomized controlled trial lasted 8 weeks and included 75 participants with moderate to severe anxiety. Again, anxiety scores decreased significantly more into the participants taking ashwagandha. 
However, it is important to note that the anxiolytic and anti-depressive effects are most prominent in participants suffering from chronic stress.
Ashwagandha for Boosting Testosterone
Multiple studies in infertile men show that supplementation with Ashwagandha significantly increases testosterone levels and improves fertility.
One of the studies included 60 infertile males and found out that supplementation increased testosterone levels by 10-20% on average.  In addition to the testosterone boost, 14% of the participants got their partners pregnant!
Another trial with 180 infertile male patients revealed that Ashwagandha supplementation significantly improved the quality of their semen. 
Other studies in infertile men also support the findings of increased testosterone and improved semen quality.
 However, there is no evidence to suggest a testosterone boost in healthy fertile men.
Ashwagandha for Athletic Performance
Improvements in power output have been noted in both trained and untrained individuals after supplementation with Ashwagandha.
One study with 40 healthy men and women revealed an improved speed and leg strength after 8 weeks of supplementation when compared to placebo.
Another 8-week, randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 57 untrained men showed significant improvements in strength and size compared to placebo. Furthermore, the study found a greater increase in testosterone levels and a decrease in body fat percentage in the men taking Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha For Sleep
There is one study with 60 patients which specifically examined the effects of ashwagandha on sleep after 10 weeks of supplementation
The scientists found out that supplementation significantly shortens sleep onset, sleep efficiency, and sleep quality when compared to placebo.
Ashwagandha for Weight Loss
Unfortunately, the evidence for weight loss benefits of ashwagandha is inconsistent at best.
Such effects were suggested by a study investigating the safety of Ashwagandha when used daily for a period in 30 days and doses up to 1250 milligrams.
The study found a trend towards the reduction of body fat in some of the subjects but nothing significant. Furthermore, it found no adverse effects in any of the 18 participants except one who at 750 mg/day experienced increased appetite, libido, and hallucinogenic effects with vertigo.
Ashwagandha for Thyroid Health
There is one human study with 46 participants who had subclinical hypothyroidism. The trial reported a significant reduction in TSH levels and an increase in T3 and T4 levels after the participants took 600 mg of a standardized extract (5% Withanolides) for 8 weeks.
However, a single small study is highly insufficient evidence to make any recommendations for patients with thyroid hormones.
Furthermore, Ashwagandha might lead to undesired interactions with thyroid medications.
Ashwagandha for Reducing Blood Sugar
Only a few small studies are suggesting a blood-sugar-lowering effect of Ashwagandha.
One of the first studies to suggest such effects included only six patients with type 2 diabetes. However, the trial found a blood sugar lowering effect comparable to oral hypoglycemic drugs.  The study also noted significantly improved blood cholesterol levels.
However, Ashwagandha might not be well tolerated by patients who are already taking anti-diabetic medications and might be at an increased risk of hypoglycemia.
Ashwagandha Side Effects
- Ashwagandha is safe when taken daily for up to 3 months according to the longest trials we currently have. However, we do not have data to confirm its safety for longer periods.
- Large doses of Ashwagandha should be avoided since it can lead to gastrointestinal problems, including upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Those are also the most commonly reported side-effects.
- Make sure to avoid Ashwagandha if you have gastritis or stomach ulcers.
- Supplementation with Ashwagandha should be avoided in pregnant and breastfeeding women since its safety has not been confirmed in studies. In fact, some studies suggest that the herb can increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.
- Ashwagandha should be used with caution if you are taking medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid conditions as the supplement might potentiate their effects.
- Also, Ashwagandha supplementation should be discontinued at least two weeks before surgery as it might interfere with the anesthesia.
How Did We Research the Best Ashwagandha Supplements?
- The first thing we researched about each ashwagandha product was the exact type and overall quality of the extract used. Not all extracts of Ashwagandha are equal with respect to their content of bioactive substances. We recommend selecting a product that uses standardized extract with a specified withanolides content.
- Optimal dosage is another important factor in ensuring the effectiveness of the extract. Most studies demonstrate that the use of at least 300mg of Ashwagandha extract, taken twice daily, is optimal for achieving desired health benefits.
- Finally, we selected brands that were given a GMP certificate, conducted third party testing, and were manufactured in a FDA approved facility.
What to Look for in Ashwagandha Supplements
The main type of molecules that give Ashwagandha its unique properties are called withanolides. One of the most prominent withanolides is Withaferin A and it is vastly studied for its effects on inflammation and cancer.
Thus, it is important to look for an Ashwagandha supplement with a standardized extract as well as a specified amount of withanolides.
How is Ashwagandha Controlled for Quality?
- Different supplements might contain various breeds of Ashwagandha, each with different content of withanolides. Fortunately, there are standardized extracts that contain a specific concentration of withanolides, such as KSM-66 which contains 5% withanolides.
- Just like any other supplement, Ashwagandha products should adhere to the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulated by the FDA and receive GMP Manufacturing Certification.
- Furthermore, a strong indicator of quality is third-party testing. Such verification programs include the USP, TruLabel, and ConsumerLab and the products verified by them bear their marks.
What Forms of Ashwagandha are Available?
- Ashwagandha has good bioavailability even when used orally in the form of a water-extract. Studies suggest the main active compounds have a quicker absorption rate when taken by mouth.
- Studies on the bioavailability of ethanolic extracts are minimal, but such products also display effectiveness at lower concentrations in certain trials.
- Most products contain only a root extract, but some manufacturers may also include the leaves since they contain a higher content of withanolides.
How to Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha should be taken orally since it has enhanced bioavailability in either water-extract or alcohol-extract form. It should be taken twice daily since the half-life of the withanolides in the blood is shorter than a few hours, according to animal studies.Additionally, Ashwagandha should be taken after consuming food, according to medical recommendations.
The effective daily dosage may vary depending on the withanolides content of the extract that’s used. For example, standardized KSM-66 extract containing 5%, withanolides has demonstrated effectiveness when used at a dosage of 300mg daily.
Who Should Take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is best for the following types of people:
- People who experience chronic stress
- People who suffer from anxiety or depression
- Men with fertility problems or who have low testosterone
- Athletes who are looking to improve strength, speed, or muscle gain
If you have diabetes, hypertension, or thyroid problems make sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplement including Ashwagandha
The 4 Best Ashwagandha Supplements
Best Ashwagandha Powder on Amazon: Ashwagandha Extract by Bulk Supplements
If you prefer Ashwagandha in a powder form, this supplement is just for you.
It is perfect for those who prefer not to take supplements as pills or capsules.
The supplement contains high-quality root powder that can be added to drinks or meals.
Best Overall: Organic Ashwagandha + by Nuzena
This product’s quality is guaranteed by third-party testing and Nuzena provides customers with the option to track specific lab results from their specific product.
Ashwagandha + contains pure ashwagandha root extract along with black pepper extract, which is used in many supplements to improve nutrient absorption.
Furthermore, customers can choose to receive a free personal consolation via a well-made questionnaire on the website. Based on their answers customers will receive feedback from a specialist through email.
Best Ashwagandha for Men: Testo Lab Pro
This product combines high-quality standardized KSM-66 Ashwagandha extract containing 5% withanolides with essential vitamins and minerals for optimal testosterone production.
It covers the most common vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin D, K, and magnesium. It also contains Mucuna Pruriens which needs more studies to support its effectiveness but currently, it looks like a promising testosterone booster.
For more information on testosterone boosters click here.
Best Ashwagandha for Vegans: Super Chill by Futurekind
Every ashwagandha extract is plant-based, meaning its vegan-friendly. However, Futurekind is a company that creates supplements that are specifically designed for vegans and those who follow a vegetarian diet.
Their Ashwagandha product is created to maximize the adaptogenic properties of the herb. It is combined with other natural extracts such as lemon balm oil and Rhodiola.
These herbs enhance the effects of calmness while simultaneously lower fatigue and improve memory function.
The Verdict: Does Ashwagandha Really Work?
In conclusion, there is a solid amount of evidence that supports the numerous health benefits of Ashwagandha. Multiple studies have supported its powerful apoptogenic properties and its ability to help people better manage stress and anxiety, improve their sleep, increase fertility, and lower blood pressure.
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9 Ashwagandha Benefits for Men
Previously, this herb was largely common in dry regions such as northern Africa, the Middle East and India, however, with the discovery of the immense number of benefits obtained, it’s now manually grown in mild climates too.
The benefits of ashwagandha are numerous. It is beneficial to men and women of all ages. From maintaining hormonal balance to fighting age-related illness, ashwagandha has earned its reputation as a healing herb. Researchers have now been able to categorize the different health benefits it has for men and women.
Here, we have listed out of some of the benefits of this amazing herb for men.
1. Stress Management
Among the myriad of healing properties which it possesses, it’s also prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors for stress management. Men who have used this herb have reported it to be surprisingly effective. Cortisol is the main stress hormone in human body that is responsible for all kinds of stress. Research showed that ashwagandha lowered cortisol by as much as 27.9 percent.
2. Reduce Anxiety
Most men confuse stress and anxiety to be the same thing, but they’re not. Anxiety is more of a nervousness that stops you from being at your full potential. Even if you take ashwagandha every day just for the purpose of reducing anxiety, you’ll certainly be a happier man. Just think about it, not being unsure of yourself while talking to women, giving a presentation and just no nervousness in your day-to-day life.
3. Boost Immune System
This herb works wonders on your immune system. Regular intake of ashwagandha is sure to keep you healthier by helping you fight off commonly caught illnesses because of the anti-malarial properties and other anti-inflammatory benefits.
4. Increase Strength and Stamina
Ashwagandha has been known to boost muscle strength and increase stamina, which thus helps you increase your muscle size. Strength and stamina doesn’t always go hand in hand, but with regular intake of this herb, you should feel top-notch both in terms of strength and stamina. You’ll be able to work out for longer periods in the gym and it also aids in recovery time after your workout.
5. Improve Cognition and Memory
Along with reducing anxiety and stress levels, cognitive function of your brain is also aided by ashwagandha. With healthier brain function, you’ll be able to tackle problems at a much faster pace, concentrate for longer hours, and it also increases attention span. Another benefit of this herb is that it has been known for its effect on memory. You won’t suddenly develop some kind of super eidetic memory, but still, your memory will drastically improve if you’ve been having problems with it.
6. Increase Testosterone Level
One of the reasons ashwagandha is becoming popular is because of its effect in the production of healthy testosterone. While there are other supplements that help increase testosterone levels, most of them come with some sort of side effects, so ashwagandha is the safest alternative in that manner. This particular benefit thus leads to a number of other benefits such as reduction of anxiety, increase in sexual potency, improvement of sexual performance, increase in immune system, strength and so on.
7. Increase Sexual Performance
This is probably one of the most notable benefits for men. Ashwagandha has plenty of benefits, and one of them is the boost in sexual performance. It will increase your arousal, stamina, libido, as well as increase your sexual performance. Ashwagandha maintains your hormonal balance, thus allowing you to have a higher sperm count, sperm mobility and even larger volume of semen. Increase in testosterone is one of the major reasons for this benefit. Other factors that with your sexual libido include decrease in cortisol (stress hormone), reduction of anxiety and so on.
8. Promotes Restful Sleep
Sleep deprivation is not an uncommon thing among men of all ages. While the reasons may vary, quite a few men claim to experience sleep deprivation at some point. One doesn’t necessarily have to be suffering from insomnia to lack sleep, other factors like hormonal imbalance and stress also causes sleep deprivation. Take ashwagandha at night after a tiring day and you will feel nourished and mildly sedated enough to sleep.
9. For the Aging Body
With age, most men feel their muscles to be stiff and it can even be painful. Ayurvedic doctors also prescribe ashwagandha supplements to aging men. This herb helps the muscles to relax and also assists in toning and strengthening muscle tissue. Another important benefit is that it reduces inflammation.
The benefits of this amazing herb seem to be endless. From brain to muscles, and sexual potency, ashwagandha has benefits for every part of the body. While Ayurvedic doctors prescribe this herbal supplement for problems in the patient, you can take a regular dose of this Ayurvedic herb for a healthier body and life style.
Ashwagandha also has plenty of benefits for women that range from helping to maintain body weight to promoting confidence and increase in sexual performance.
The benefits are endless in the case of both men and women, as long as it’s taken wisely. Remember that taking this herb too often, and in higher doses, could have some unwanted side effects.
Best Ashwagandha Supplements FAQs
Which brand of ashwagandha is best?
KSM-66 is the most researched brand of ashwagandha extract. It is full-spectrum, which means it contains all the natural ingredients of Ashwagandha and it is standardized to 5% of withanolides which is the highest amongst commercial Ashwagandha products.
What is ashwagandha used for?
Ashwagandha can be used for stress and anxiety relief, insomnia, high blood sugar, cholesterol, hypertension, and infertility. It might also provide benefits for athletic performance, testosterone levels, and thyroid function.
Are there any side effects associated with taking ashwagandha?
The most common side-effect is gastrointestinal disturbance including upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because it is not recommended for people with stomach ulcers. It is also not recommended for pregnant women due to an increased risk for miscarriage. Use with caution and consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.
Does ashwagandha interact with any medications or supplements?
In combination with antidiabetic medications, Ashwagandha might lead to hypoglycemia. In combination with antihypertensives, it might lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure. In combination with sedatives, it might lead to increased sleepiness and drowsiness. In combination with immunosuppressants, it might decrease their effectiveness
Who would benefit the most from taking ashwagandha?
People who are exposed to chronic stress and might have various stress-related problems, including anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, high cortisol, male fertility problems. It might also provide benefits for people with diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disorders. Some studies suggest it might improve athletic performance.
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