Ashwagandha is a popular ancient adaptogen whose primary function is to help to manage stress. It’s been used for over 5000 years in eastern medicine, and can help improve body composition.
Ashwagandha can also help boost brain function, lower cortisol, reduce anxiety, and normalize blood pressure. Below, we’ll explore the best Ashwagandha supplements, its benefits, and more.
1. Nuzena Organic Ashwagandha+
Nuzena’s Organic Ashwagandha is scientifically designed to treat stress, anxiety, and thyroid issues. Nuzena’s formulas are all third-party lab tested to ensure the highest quality.
What we liked: Nuzena’s clinically-proven formula uses only sustainable ingredients and go through rigorous testing for allergens and heavy metals. The dose is fairly average, but the added Bioperine drastically improves the potency.
Flaws: It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for. Our #1 pick of 2020.
2. Essential Elements Organic Ashwagandha
This triple-strength organic Ashwagandha by Essential Elements is one of our top picks because of its excellent price point and high-quality.
What we liked: Essential Elements Organic Ashwagandha is a powerful mood and cognitive booster. It’s combined with organic black pepper extract to improve absorption. It’s also free of gluten, GMOs, dairy and soy, and preservatives.
Flaws: This product may not be suitable for everyone, and there is a risk of allergy or adverse reaction.
3. Rootalive Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder
This certified organic, raw, and gluten-free Ashwagandha powder is an excellent alternative to the typical pill supplement.
What we liked: This product is a powder, so it’s an excellent solution for those who don’t want to or have trouble swallowing pills. Many customers mix the finely-milled powder into water or other beverages, like smoothies. You can easily tailor your dose as well with the included scooper.
Flaws: Some people will strongly dislike the flavor. This product also doesn’t travel well.
4. Himalaya Ashwagandha
Himalaya provides a potent and pure Ashwagandha supplement that’s great for more advanced users.
What we liked: Himalaya uses a modern processing technology called supercritical carbon dioxide extraction. This helps to maximize the dose of active ingredients, providing a more powerful supplement with 670 mg per capsule.
Flaws: This is quite a potent supplement and may not be ideal for beginners.
5. Havasu Nutrition Ashwagandha
Havasu Nutrition provides a well-reviewed ashwagandha product that includes a moderate dose of Ashwagandha, along side other extracts to maximize the stress response.
What we liked: Havasu Nutrition steps up the game by including 50 mg of artichoke leaf alongside 500 mg of Ashwagandha in their gelatin capsules.
Flaws: Some people don’t like the combination of 2 different herbs combined. The gelatin capsule also makes this product non-suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
6. Nutra Herbals
NutraHerbals provides one of the purest Ashwagandha supplements on the market, packed inside a vegan-friendly capsule.
What we liked: NutraHerbals provides a powerful dose of 600 mg of Ashwagandha root powder per capsule, alongside Bioperine for maximum bioavailability.
Flaws: Its high dose and improved bioavailability may be too much for people just starting out.
7. Organic India Ashwagandha
Organic India’s provides a good middle of the pack Ashwagandha best suited for purists and beginners.
What we liked: Organic India’s Ashwagandha is USDA-certified organic, which means there’s no trace pesticides or chemicals used in the plants.
Flaws: Its fairly low dose at just 400mg per capsule.
8. Vorst Ashwagandha
Vorst Ashwagandha is one of Amazon’s top-selling supplement products. Its affordable price point and excellent reviews make it a fantastic choice for new users.
What we liked: Vorst Ashwagandha is a Canadian-made supplement that is guaranteed authentic, made with premium ingredients, and GMP certified. It’s free of artificial additives, yeast, dairy, and gluten. Vorst has been making products since 1987, which shows this brand has excellent lasting-power and that many consumers continue to trust them
Flaws: The pills are 500mg, and the daily serving is 1000mg, so consumers have to take two pills. It’s also not certified vegan.
9. 88Herbs Premium Grade Ashwagandha
88Herbs Ashwagandha is vegetarian friendly and uses one of the most studied strains of the herb, KSM-66. Many customers raved about this product, and the price point is in the middle of the road.
What we liked: 88Herbs uses certified organic KSM-66 Ashwagandha which is premium-grade. It’s manufactured in a GMP facility and has zero unhealthy fillers.
Flaws: The dosage on these capsules is fairly low at just 300mg.
10. NOW Ashwagandha
NOW supplements Ashwagandha is a fairly average Ayurvedic adaptogen, that comes at an affordable price for those on a budget.
What we liked: NOW provides a lower dosage of Ashwagandha per serving, at at 450 mg per capsule.
Flaws: There’s tons of additives and stabilizers included to maximize shelf life.
Who Should Buy Ashwagandha?
The benefits of Ashwagandha are outstanding, and many of them can be backed up by research and clinical trials. Ashwagandha has been used for centuries to help with concentration levels and increasing mental clarity (1). It’s believed that the high level of withanolides helps reduce inflammation and reduce tumor growth (2, 3).
It’s also been shown in studies to reduce blood sugar levels (4). This makes it an excellent option for reducing stress, managing body weight, and even building muscle. There’s a good reason that this herb has been used in medicine for over 5,000 years.
Ashwagandha appears to be safe for most individuals but may interfere with immunosuppressants and sedative medications. Pregnant women, diabetics, and people with thyroid issues should not take ashwagandha.
If you have any concerns, it’s always important to speak to your doctor before starting a supplement regimen with ashwagandha.
How We Ranked
The first thing we looked at when ranking the best Ashwagandha products on the market was the dosage and delivery method. On average, we wanted each product to provide at least 400mg per serving, as this allowed for easy dose tailoring and good value. Capsules were preferred, mainly because of dosage accuracy and taste. We did include powder-based products if they were of site quality, as in the case of Rootalive Organic Ashwagandha.
Next, we looked at the extraction process. There are a few ways to extract ashwagandha, with the best being supercritical carbon dioxide extraction. This method helps to maximize the dose of the active ingredients, providing a more powerful and pure supplement – a main reason why Himalaya ranked in our top 5.
Added ingredients were also important to consider. Products that contained a lot of filler sand stabilizers were either eliminated or ranked low, as in the case of NOW supplements. Supplements that included beneficial ingredients like BioPerine, which helps improve absorption, were rewarded accordingly.
Lastly, we looked at purity. Because ashwagandha is taken as a concentrated plant extract, we had a high preference for certified-organic products. This ensured we would get no pesticides or herbicides in our supplements, and was a main reason why our top choices like Essential Elements and Nuzena ranked so well.
Ashwagandha can help improve blood sugar levels. There have been several studies that show that Ashwagandha can lower blood sugar levels for those who have both relatively normal levels and diabetes. One study showed that Ashwagandha increased insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in muscles (5).
Another small study from the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology suggests that participants with type 2 diabetes showed a vast improvement in their fasting blood sugar levels over 30 days. However there was no control group present during testing (6).
Ashwagandha can help reduce cancer cell growth. Apoptosis is the death of cancer cells, and this is due to the levels of withaferin within the herb. Withaferin is connected to the promotion of the ROS inside cancer cells, which is the reactive oxygen species that disrupts their function.
While there is minimal testing on humans and a lack of clinical trials available, tests on animals and in test tubes show that the ancient herb may be able to impede the growth of cancer cells and help induce apoptosis (7).
Other successful animal tests show that Ashwagandha may be able to treat a variety of cancers, including lung, brain, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers (8).
A 2014 study completed by PLOS ONE showed that mice with tumors on their ovaries were treated with withaferin, either alone or with an anticancer drug, and they showed up to 80% reduction in tumor growth and prevented cancer from spreading (9). While this hasn’t been shown in humans, the research is promising.
Ashwagandha can help improve mental wellbeing. Ashwagandha is known for its mental health-boosting properties. There have been several studies that show that the herb can help reduce cortisol levels, which directly affects stress levels.
The adrenal gland releases cortisol in stressful situations, and cortisol levels can become elevated at all times. When cortisol levels become chronically elevated, it can negatively impact blood sugar levels and increase body fat storage (10). In one study, the participants who took ashwagandha showed a 30% reduction in cortisol levels compared to the control group.
Along with cortisol levels, the stress pathways in the brain are potentially regulated by Ashwagandha, as shown in rat testing. In human trials, it’s been shown that it can help reduce the stress associated with anxiety disorders but should not be used as a replacement for doctor-prescribed medication without supervision.
In one study of 64 participants, over 60 days, showed an almost 70% reduction in anxiety and insomnia versus the control group, who only showed 11%(11). In another study, almost 90% of participants reported reduced anxiety, whereas those who took the placebo showed 50% of participants felt a reduction in anxiety (12).
Ashwagandha may be able to reduce the effects of depression. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been thoroughly studied. One participant who was studied for the effects on anxiety reported a reduction in depression as well, but they were the only participant with a history of depression, so the results are unclear.
Ashwagandha may improve infertility. There is a strong connection between Ashwagandha and reproductive health, particularly in testosterone levels in men. In a study of 75 men struggling with infertility, Ashwagandha was shown to increase sperm mobility and overall count.
It also showed that participants had a significant testosterone increase and antioxidant levels in the blood. Another study showed that the herb had a positive impact on sperm quality, resulting in 14% of participants’ partners becoming pregnant after three months of treatment (13).
Ashwagandha can improve muscle growth and body composition. Ashwagandha has shown to impact muscle growth, strength, and body composition. In fact, many individuals who have taken the herb show an improvement in strength after 30 days. In one particular study, Ashwagandha was shown to reduce body fat twice as much as the control group (14).
Ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation. It’s been shown that Ashwagandha may help with overall inflammation in the body. The herb has shown to increase natural killer cells activity, which are the cells that fight infection, keeping your body healthy.
Ashwagandha also decreases markers of inflammation, like CRP, or C-reactive protein. This particular marker is linked to heart disease. Taking the supplement can result in up to a 35% reduction in CRP.
Ashwagandha can help improve cholesterol levels. For those looking to lower cholesterol and triglycerides can turn to Ashwagandha for a natural aid.
There have been significant results through animal studies, but the human trials have shown less of an impact, but there are results reported. Studies have shown up to a 17% decrease in LDL cholesterol and an 11% decrease in triglycerides in humans.
Ashwagandha helps improve memory and cognitive function. While there hasn’t been much human research into the impact on memory and brain function, there have been positive results through test-tube and animal testing.
Whether there have been brain function issues from disease or injury, there has been a positive impact on memory from taking Ashwagandha. Due to the promotion of antioxidants and the protection of cells from free radicals, the herb could help with memory issues.
In a study with rats who suffer from epilepsy, the herb helped to reverse almost off the spatial memory impairment caused by the seizures, which might be linked to less oxidative stress.
One of the big benefits that have been tied to the herb is memory and cognitive improvement, but there aren’t many studies completed to back up the claims. However, the studies that have been performed show a positive increase in clarity and productivity. In an 8-week study of 50 participants, there was a positive increase in memory, performance, and focus (15).
Q: Can you take Ashwagandha long term?
While the effects of taking Ashwagandha long-term are not really known, research suggests that taking it up to three months is the ideal time frame. Once the three months are surpassed, it could cause upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Q: Is Ashwagandha safe for diabetics? For those who want to use Ashwagandha to lower blood sugar levels, it could interfere with any prescription medication, so please consult your doctor before use. When combined, it could cause very low blood sugar, and if you’re diabetic, you should monitor your levels closely.
Q: Does Ashwagandha affect blood pressure?
When using the herb to impact blood pressure levels, it should not be used if you have low blood pressure, as it lowers it naturally. It can interfere with blood pressure medication, so use with caution and the supervision of a doctor. If you have stomach ulcers, the herb may impact the GI tract negatively, so do not use it if you have ulcers.
Q: Can Ashwagandha be taken by people with auto-immune disorders?
If you have an auto-immune disease like lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, or numerous other diseases, Ashwagandha may increase the activity in the immune system, which may amplify any symptoms felt by these diseases. It’s best to avoid using the herb in this case.
For those who suffer from thyroid issues, the herb may negatively impact hormone levels, so any hormonal medications could negatively interact with it.
Q: Can Ashwagandha be taken before surgery?
If you are about to have surgery or have recently had surgery, it’s best to avoid Ashwagandha at least two weeks prior, as it may slow down the nervous system, which could negatively impact anesthesia or other medications administered during surgery.
Q: Do I need a prescription for Ashwagandha?
No, you can find Ashwagandha available through many major retailers and online. If you have questions about the product, your pharmacist or doctor can provide additional information.
Q: Can Ashwagandha help me lose weight?
While the drug is not promoted exclusively for weight loss, it may have some benefits if you’re trying to lose weight. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, which could be linked to emotional eating. It promotes strength and muscle growth, which could be beneficial if you’re working out or doing light exercise every day.
It also helps regulate hormones, which can help reduce overall body fat. There have been studies that have shown a positive reduction in overall body weight when compared to a control group. Always consult your doctor before taking on any lifestyle change and adding supplements that promote weight loss into your routine.
Q: Will Ashwagandha help my anxiety?
Ashwagandha is well-known for it’s mental health-boosting properties. Studies have shown that individuals see a positive impact on their anxiety levels, and possibly even depression.
However, everyone is different, and while this product may not work for you, speak to your doctor about other options. If you are currently on medication for anxiety or depression, Ashwagandha should not replace prescription medication.
Q: What is the optimal dosage of Ashwagandha?
Typically, you should follow the instructions on the bottle, as the quality of the product will vary among producers. Often, the amount taken is around 450mg to 500mg once or twice daily.
Extracts are more potent and effective than root products, so please read and follow the label. If you have concerns or questions, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information on dosage. Ashwagandha should be taken orally and not put on the skin.
Q: Can I take Ashwagandha with water?
Yes, many people take Ashwagandha with water. It’s also common to take it with milk. Many people mix the powdered supplement into coffee and tea in the morning. A popular option is to take it with ghee, warm milk, and honey. Depending on your preference, you could also add it to a smoothie.
Q: How soon will I see results with Ashwagandha?
Studies have shown that around the 30-day mark, you should see results. Ashwagandha is best taken for up to three months, as there is a lack of information on the effects of long-term usage. Consult your doctor if you want to exceed the three-month usage recommendation.
Q: Does Ashwagandha interact with other medications?
Immunosuppressants, benzodiazepines, CNS depressants, and thyroid medications are the most common and critical drugs that interact with Ashwagandha.
Immunosuppressants like azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others should not be mixed with the herb. Benzodiazepines like clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others should not be combined with Ashwagandha.
CNS depressants, or sedatives that should not be mixed include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Q: Can I take Ashwagandha with other supplements?
While there is no concrete evidence of other supplements interfering with Ashwagandha, it’s best to consult your doctor before introducing a new supplement into your routine, in case of adverse reaction.
Q: When should I take Ashwagandha?
It’s recommended that you should take Ashwagandha with meals. If you take the entire dosage at once, it’s best taken in the morning with food. If you spread it out throughout the day, ensure you take with food. Depending on what feels best for your body, lower dosages may feel better.
Q: Can I take Ashwagandha on an empty stomach?
While it’s suggested that you take the supplement with food in the morning, everyone is different. You may feel better taking the herb on an empty stomach. If you feel discomfort like an upset stomach, gas, and bloating, try taking it with your first meal of the day.
Q: Who shouldn’t take Ashwagandha?
Individuals who suffer from auto-immune diseases should not take the herb unless otherwise instructed by their physician. This includes MS, Lupus, type 1 diabetes, and more. Individuals who are on thyroid medications or hormonal medications should not take the herb unless specified by their doctor.
Individuals on blood pressure medication or insulin should discuss taking the supplement with their doctor to ensure dosages are correct.
Q: Is Ashwagandha okay to take while breastfeeding or pregnant?
To err on the side of caution, it’s not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women to take the herb. There is not enough scientific research behind this, but the herb has been linked to miscarriage in women. As the effects are not known, it’s best to avoid the herb during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Q: What happens if I am allergic to Ashwagandha?
If you are sensitive to many foods or are allergic to nightshades, you may have trouble taking Ashwagandha. Individuals who are allergic to Ashwagandha may have a skin rash, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and itchiness as common side effects.
While these allergies are rare, if you are allergic to foods like tomato, potatoes, or peppers, they’re directly related to the herb.
Q: Does Ashwagandha help with sleep?
Ashwagandha helps improve insomnia and stress levels. Many consumers of Ashwagandha praise its ability to help them get more restful sleep and improved energy levels during the day. Due to the positive impact on the central nervous system, the herb impacts mental wellbeing on all levels, and that includes a more restful sleep.
Q: Can both men and women take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is great for everyone and shows improvements in both men and women. Men see a positive impact on testosterone levels and improved fertility. Women may see an improvement in PCOS symptoms.
Q: Does Ashwagandha help with OCD?
Ashwagandha may be one of the most prevalent herbal remedies for OCD available today (16). It works to balance the chemistry of the brain, reduce stress, and stimulates BDNF. The herb helps to reduce compulsive urges, anxiety, and stress, which are all beneficial factors in treating OCD.
While no clinical trials have been done to provide supportive research, there are many individuals who have had their lives changed because of Ashwagandha. Taking prescription medication is a great option for some patients of OCD, but not all. There can be undesirable side effects.
The withanolides in Ashwagandha helps regulate hormones. OCD is thought to take place in the basal ganglia, and Ashwagandha can help tame excited brain activities. It may also be able to repair some of the damage done to neural networks and transmitters.
Q: Is it safe to take Ashwagandha with alcohol?
Ashwagandha should not be taken with alcohol, as it already works to suppress the nervous system. The same way it should not be taken with sedatives, it can have an undesirable effect on the body.
Q: Is Ashwagandha great for skin?
There is not much scientific research for the effects of Ashwagandha on skincare, but it does have a high level of antioxidants and protects the body from free radicals, which can cause wrinkles and blemishes. The alkaloids that help with stress and anxiety may have a positive impact on the skin as well.
It has a positive impact on muscle growth, and body fat may result in improved skin. It works to improve reproductive health and hormone levels, which may help slow the aging process.
Q: Can children take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha has been shown to be safe for children and teenagers and promotes a variety of benefits for them. Children are building their immune systems, so the herb can provide a much-needed boost to protect them from the germs they come in constant contact with.
Like in adults, the herb can help reduce stress and anxiety in children and teens, resulting in better sleep and mental clarity. It can help improve focus and memory, which can be super beneficial through the school years. If your child struggles with food or a poor appetite, Ashwagandha may be able to help, as it regulates body weight while promoting strength.
Children have sensitive immune systems, so dosages will need to be smaller for youth. Please consult your doctor before providing them with the supplement. Typically, they would be getting all the benefits of Ashwagandha with 300mg per day dosage in the morning with breakfast.
For kids, it takes about a week to start seeing the impact, but that is different for everyone. If that dosage doesn’t seem to be enough, an addiction 300mg may be given in the afternoon, around 4 hours before bedtime.
Q: Can I take Ashwagandha daily?
Unless you are seeing undesirable side effects from taking too much Ashwagandha daily, it’s typically safe to take every day. The supplement should only be taken up to three months unless otherwise supervised by a doctor, as the long-term effects are not known.
Q: Can Ashwagandha help with PCOS symptoms?
Because Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels, the stress hormone, this can positively impact the severeness of PCOS symptoms in women.
Q: Can Ashwagandha make me high or intoxicated?
There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that Ashwagandha has an intoxicating effect when following dosage suggestions on the label. The herb is meant to reduce stress and anxiety and create a boost in mood, so if you’re feeling elated, it could be a regulation of the chemicals in the brain.
If you have taken too much Ashwagandha, you may experience an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you feel to be in medical distress, please visit your closest emergency room.
Q: Is Ashwagandha keto-friendly?
Ashwagandha is keto-friendly, and many individuals on the keto diet swear by the supplement.
Q: I’ve seen many remedies that include putting Ashwagandha on my skin, are they safe?
There isn’t enough scientific research to support the benefits of putting Ashwagandha on the skin. The root extract must be taken orally in order to receive any skincare benefits, so you may experience skin irritation by putting it directly on your body.
If you have questions about this or are experiencing rashes or itchiness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Overall, ashwagandha is an affordable way to boost your mental wellbeing, increase concentration, and reduce anxiety in those who don’t have underlying health conditions.
While the long-term impact of using ashwagandha is unknown, it’s typically safe for most people to use. We always recommend discussing your supplement regimen with your doctor before introducing a new supplement.
For CPOE.org’s #1 recommended Ashwagandha, click here.