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Last modified on February 26th, 2021
Ranking the Best Ashwagandha Supplements
Ashwagandha can be a powerful herbal medicine to add to your medicine cabinet.
It has many health benefits, including benefits for mental and physical health, yet it’s a type of herbal remedy that many people aren’t familiar with.
The following is an overview of ashwagandha benefits, ashwagandha dosage instructions, and ashwagandha reviews. We include links to the top supplements if you decide you’d like to start taking it.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Before delving into specific ashwagandha supplements, what is it? It’s also known as winter cherry and Indian ginseng.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb, and according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, it may have anti-inflammatory properties. In animal studies, it has been shown to relax the central nervous system.
In Ayurvedic medicine and tradition, ashwagandha is considered one of the most healing herbs available.
In traditional forms of medicine, this herb has been used as an adaptogen.
An adaptogen is something that can help the body adapt to certain types of physical and emotional stress.
Ashwagandha has a medicinal history going back more than 5,000 years for conditions ranging from failure to thrive in children, to insomnia, stress joint inflammation, hormone imbalances and more.
This herb is in the same family as the tomato and is known as a nightshade.
Ashwagandha is a shrub with round leaves and yellow flowers, as well as fruit that grows to be around the size of a raisin.
It grows natively in India, the Middle East, and northern Africa, and increasingly it’s grown in some parts of the United States.
There are many ashwagandha benefits backed by research and scientific studies. According to the Chopra Center, the following are some of the healing properties and benefits of ashwagandha:
Anxiety and Stress Relief
Many of us are plagued by symptoms of anxiety and stress.
When our body is experiencing anxiety or stress, it can cause the release of something called cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that’s a contributor to our fight or flight response in stressful situations, or when we perceive we’re facing danger.
There are times when cortisol levels naturally rise and then fall; however, because of the ongoing stressors of modern life, many of us have chronically high cortisol levels.
This affects the functionality of our nervous system, our glucose levels, the health of our gastrointestinal system, and more.
There is evidence ashwagandha can help stabilize cortisol levels and encourage our body to maintain healthy inflammatory processes that occur when we experience stress.
These effects and benefits of ashwagandha can promote healthier immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
A study published in the Phytomedicine journal showed among ashwagandha benefits is the ability of the herb to lower anxiety levels. The herb may even be as effective as certain anti-anxiety medicines at reducing symptoms.
Optimal Nervous System Health
Our nervous system includes our brain, and ashwagandha may help ensure our nervous system functions in an optimal way.
It may help promote healthy cognitive function, and naturally stimulate the GABA brain pathways which can promote a sense of calm.
Many people find that supplementing with ashwagandha can help them feel calmer and maintain a more balanced mood. As part of this, it may also help regulate healthy sleep patterns.
When you have arthritis, the pain can impede your daily functionality, and you may start relying on pharmaceutical drugs with dangerous side effects.
One study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research showed because of the anti-inflammatory properties of ashwagandha, it could be effective in the treatment of arthritis, and in particular, rheumatoid arthritis.
As an anti-inflammatory herb, ashwagandha benefits may extend to the heart and the entire cardiovascular system.
A human study published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research found using ashwagandha was helpful for improving endurance as well as muscle strength.
Beyond that, benefits may include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and helping reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lowering Blood Sugar
A test-tube study looked at the use of ashwagandha to lower blood sugar levels and found the administration of the herb did increase the secretion of insulin and improve insulin sensitivity.
Human studies looking at both people with diabetes and people without have shown ashwagandha can help reduce blood sugar levels.
A study that looked at six people with type 2 diabetes found using an ashwagandha supplement for 30 days lowered fasting blood sugar levels as well as a diabetes medication used orally.
Studies in test tubes and animal studies have demonstrated the anti-cancer properties of ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha benefits may include the ability to kill cancer cells and stop the growth of new cancer cells.
Why these effects?
Researchers believe it could be because ashwagandha can create something called reactive oxygen species or ROS.
ROS are toxic to cancer cells, but not to our normal healthy cells.
Animal studies have shown ashwagandha benefits for different types of cancer, including:
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Ovarian cancer
In a study looking at mice with ovarian tumors, when treated with ashwagandha on its own or in combination with an anti-cancer drug, there was a decline in tumor growth of anywhere from 70 to 80%.
The ashwagandha treatment also prevented the spreading of cancer to other organs.
There are currently no human-based studies looking at these effects, although the animal studies show promising results in terms of ashwagandha benefits for cancer.
Along with potentially helping people with anxiety symptoms, ashwagandha may be helpful for symptoms of depression.
There was a controlled study that looked at 64 adults over a period of 60 days. The group who took 600 milligrams of highly concentrated ashwagandha extra each day had a 79% reduction in severe depression.
The placebo group, on the other hand, had a 10% increase in symptoms.
Male Sexual Health and Function
Among the long list of potential benefits of ashwagandha are possible effects on male reproductive health and testosterone levels.
There was one study of 75 men considered infertile. Of those men, the group who was treated with ashwagandha had increased sperm count and sperm motility.
The administration of ashwagandha also led to significant increases in testosterone levels.
A separate study showed that with three months of ashwagandha treatment, 14% of men’s partners became pregnant.
Are There Any Side Effects of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha can seem like a wonder herb, and in many ways, it can be, but you may wonder if there are any side effects of ashwagandha.
Typically, the use of ashwagandha supplements is well-tolerated.
Potential side effects tend to be mild in severity and can include headache, drowsiness or mild stomach upset.
Do be aware that the use of ashwagandha can impact your blood pressure, blood sugar and thyroid levels so speak with your health care provider before you start using it.
As with many herbs and supplements, there aren’t any studies looking at the long-term safety of ashwagandha in a controlled environment.
Sometimes people with autoimmune disorders are advised against the use of ashwagandha as well unless they speak with their doctor.
How Do You Take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha can be taken in different forms. Many people will look for an ashwagandha supplement that comes as a powder form, either in capsules, or they might use the powder itself. There are also liquid extract versions of ashwagandha.
For convenience purposes, people often prefer to use an ashwagandha capsule.
There are also tea-based versions of ashwagandha.
What is the Recommended Ashwagandha Dosage?
The ashwagandha dosage you might use can vary depending on why you’re using it. Since there aren’t clinical trials yet, there isn’t a standardized dosage, and this is common with many top supplements and herbs.
If you’re using a powdered form of ashwagandha, you might use anywhere from 450 mg up to 2 grams.
Most people take a dose of anywhere from 125 to 1,250 mg each day in the studies currently available.
A good rule of thumb is to use a capsule or another form of an ashwagandha supplement with a dosage of around 450 to 500 mg and take it either once a day or twice a day.
What Are the Top Ashwagandha Supplements?
We compiled a list of the best supplements based on different factors. One of the primary factors we used for this ranking is ashwagandha reviews from real users.
We looked at things like not only reviews themselves, but Amazon ratings and third-party information outside of Amazon.
We looked at the reputation of the company, the convenience of each, price, and general convenience to purchase and use each. We also relied on our experience using some of these products to guide our decision-making as we ranked the top ashwagandha supplements.
NutriRise All-Natural Organic Aswaghanda
This product has no fillers or binders and is gluten, soy and dairy-free.
It’s great for anxiety relief, boosting the immune system, and balancing the thyroid and hormones. People also use this formula to improve cognitive function.
According to the makers of NutriRise’s organic ashwagandha product, it’s three times more powerful than the average supplement which has only 1000 to 1200 mg of ashwagandha powder.
Do be aware when using this product that it’s a serving or dose that has 1300 mg of ashwagandha—that much is not contained in a single capsule. This bottle contains 120 capsules.
According to some of the reviews, people have experienced great results with this pick. Results include improved quality of sleep, reduced irritation, and lower blood sugar.
The NOW ashwagandha supplement is only $7.07 a bottle, and a dose is 450 mg. There are 90 capsules per bottle, and with this formulate you’re advised to take one anywhere from one to three times a day.
With this pick, many people report getting the best results when they combine it with Rhodiola Rosea, which is another adaptogen supplement.
Reviewers say some of the benefits they experience with NOW’s ashwagandha supplement include better hormone levels, reduced cortisol levels, and improvements in symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
People also say when they use this type of ashwagandha supplement, they experience less anxiety, irritation and overall frustration. It’s described as easy-to-swallow and a good value for the money.
Along with immune system and mood support, this product offers a dosage of 2100 mg. This is another ashwagandha product that contains black pepper, which improves absorption and ensures you’re getting the maximum benefits.
There are 602 ashwagandha reviews for this product on Amazon currently, with an average of 4.5 stars.
A bottle contains 100 vegan capsules.
This ashwagandha supplement doesn’t contain fillers, soy, dairy, gluten, or rice concentrate.
There are no binders, so this product contains the highest purity and most potent available product.
NaturaLife Labs also says the test all of their products to ensure they don’t contain heavy metals, toxins, pesticides or solvent residue.
It can help balance out the effects of being in chronic fight-or-flight mode and help promote improved physical and mental well-being.
True Veda’s Organic Ashwagandha contains the adaptogenic herb that is vegan and USDA organic.
According to user reviews of this top ashwagandha supplement, people who take it experience rapid benefits.
For example, according to customer reviews, it may help reduce physical tension, anxiety and sleep problems.
Some people report other benefits including an improved mood, less bloating, and more joint comfort and mobility.
Zokiva offers a highly-rated ashwagandha tea product that contains no caffeine, no gluten and no artificial ingredients. It is only 100% pure ashwagandha.
To use this ashwagandha tea, you should place one bag in an eight-ounce cup. Pour boiling water over the tea bag and let it steep for 5 to 7 minutes.
People who left reviews for this top ashwagandha supplement say it helps promote a sense of calm but in a mild way, with few side effects. The tea is described as soothing and relaxing, making it a great option before you head to bed in the evening.
The Hawaii Pharm product is one of the top-rated supplements in tincture or liquid extract form.
It’s available on Amazon in two-ounce bottles, and you can buy several bottles at once and receive a discount on pricing.
If you’re wondering why someone might prefer to take an ashwagandha dosage in tincture form, there are some reasons.
First, a liquid herbal tincture of ashwagandha is going to be better absorbed than the powdered form of the herb in capsule form.
Tinctures tend to act faster, along with having better absorption.
Tinctures are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, while capsules with powdered ashwagandha have to be broken down and digested before they can be absorbed.
With a tincture, you’re going to be more of the active ashwagandha as well.
When an herb is powdered, some of the elements of the plant may not be retained as well as they are in a liquid extract.
Does that mean powdered versions of ashwagandha aren’t effective?
No, that’s not the case and some people prefer capsules because tinctures can taste unappealing.
Regardless if you do want a tincture version of an ashwagandha supplement, the version from Hawaii Pharm is excellent and top-rated.
To use an ashwagandha supplement powder like this option from Banyan Botanicals, you can add it to food as you cook, or you could bake with it. Another option, according to the makers of this product, is mixing it with warm milk and honey before bed to promote more restful sleep.
You can add ashwagandha powder to a smoothie or morning drink, add it to tea, or even combine it with your favorite nuts to make nut butter.
The flexible and unique ways you can use a powdered herbal supplement are a reason people like these versions.
Another benefit of ashwagandha powder is the fact that it’s pretty economical and an inexpensive bag can go a long way.
According to reviews of this top ashwagandha supplement, it helps users to feel more even-tempered and mellow. Some users say it helped with their depression symptoms as well.
Ashwagandha Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are brief answers to questions people often have about ashwagandha supplements and ashwagandha reviews.
How Much Ashwagandha Should I Take?
As with most herbal supplements, there aren’t standardized dosages for ashwagandha across the board.
Instead, follow the instructions listed with the product you choose. If you read ashwagandha reviews, you can also get an idea for the dosage people frequently use.
The lowest effective dose recorded is around 300 to 500 mg a day. A therapeutic dose can be as high as 6,000 mg a day, taken in three divided doses.
If you’re just starting to take an ashwagandha supplement, you might want to start low and then gradually work your way up once you see the effects it has on you.
Does Ashwagandha Interact With Any Medicines?
There are possible ashwagandha interactions to be aware of, and you should speak with your doctor or health care provider before starting it. For example, ashwagandha can interact with certain diabetes medicines because it can reduce blood sugar.
If you take ashwagandha with diabetes medicine, your blood sugar levels can drop too much.
Ashwagandha may lower blood pressure, so be aware of this if you already take a blood pressure-lowering medication.
If you take immunosuppressant medications, there may be interactions with ashwagandha. Ashwagandha can stimulate the immune system, so sometimes it’s not advised for use by people who have immune system disorders.
If you have an autoimmune disorder, speak with your health care provider before you use an ashwagandha supplement.
Ashwagandha can have a mildly relaxing or sedative-like effect, so be careful when combining it with other drugs that have sedative properties as well—you may become drowsy.
If you take thyroid medication, be aware that ashwagandha has the potential to increase how much thyroid hormone your body makes. If you take ashwagandha with certain thyroid medicines, you might make too much thyroid hormone.
How Does Ashwagandha Work?
Ashwagandha has components that are believed to help reduce activity in the brain and promote calm.
It also has antioxidant properties, can reduce swelling and inflammation and impacts blood pressure and the immune system.
Does Ashwagandha Cause Liver Damage?
There is currently no evidence that using ashwagandha, even daily or longer periods of time, can contribute to liver damage.
In fact, ashwagandha tends to combat free radicals and might help prevent liver damage, although you should always speak with your doctor.
If you’re interested in trying ashwagandha supplements, we encourage you to review our list and learn more about this fascinating herb. As always, our guide to the best ashwagandha supplements isn’t a replacement for medical advice, so speak with a health care professional before taking any supplements.