Ashwagandha - effects, side effects, studies, dosage, experience and more
If you want to buy Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), you should first obtain comprehensive information about the herbaceous plant. The word Ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit and means "smell of the horse". It is used to describe the smell of the plant as well as the ashwagandha effect.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, the plant is said to make the person who consumes it strong and powerful. The "sleeping berry" belongs to the nightshade family. It is found throughout Africa, parts of Asia, Spain, Greece and Sicily. It was first used as a medicinal plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Therefore the users of this traditional Indian healing art were the first to gain comprehensive knowledge of its effects.
Even today many people still use Ayurveda to alleviate physical and mental ailments. Ashwagandha plays a special role in the ancient Asian medical systems and is considered one of the most valuable herbs.
In Ayurvedic herbalism, Dravyaguna, the plant is considered a potent herb for the treatment of ailments of old age, inflammation, infertility and insomnia. In addition, the herbal plant belongs to the tonic group. Tonicas are invigorating agents that stimulate blood flow and the immune system.
Science confirms many of the Ashwagandha effects that the ancient Indians used thousands of years ago. Today's findings show that not only the quality of the herb, but also the Ashwagandha dosage, the time of ingestion and the form play an important role. This guide presents the most important findings of the Ashwagandha studies in the following paragraphs.
In short: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) often comes from Africa or Southeast Asia, is used in Ayurvedic medicine, has been researched for several years and has shown very interesting effects in studies.
The Ashwagandha effects
Winter cherry, queen of Ayurveda, Indian ginseng - the herb not only has many names but also many effects. The health benefits are mainly based on its composition. Ashwagandha powder contains substances in a dosage that are only very rarely found in other plants.
The potent, health-promoting properties of the individual active ingredients are not solely responsible for the Ashwagandha effect. The full effect potential is only unfolded when the individual active ingredients interact and influence each other.
First we will show you the most known effects of Ashwagandha (smell of the horse). Afterwards you will find them individually itemized and explained in detail.
In Ayurveda treatment Ashwagandha is used for:
- Despondency and listlessness
- Mild depressions
- Weak libido in men and women
- Low testosterone level
- Imbalanced hormones
- Weak immune system
- Thyroid gland diseases
- Shifted insulin sensitivity
- High blood sugar level
- Bad memory
- Weak concentration
Ashwagandha against stress and anxiety disorders
The best known Ashwagandha effect is the adaptogenic effect. Adaptogens are plant substances that help the body to cope better with physical and mental stress situations. This effect is mainly attributed to glycosidic withanolides.
These are plant substances that are found in the leaves as well as in the roots of the Ashwagandha plant. Scientists attribute the positive effect on stress mainly to withanoside IV.
The mechanism is not yet fully understood. Scientists suspect that the plant substances alter the neuronal stimulation through stress. As a result, fewer stress hormones are released in a stressful situation than is normally the case.
Ashwagandha studies on the influence of stress hormones
In Ashwagandha studies a positive effect on the stress hormone cortisol could be proven. After taking the Ashwagandha extract, the cortisol level dropped by 14.5 to 27.9 percent. This effect is greater than with a large number of other supplements.
One of these studies was published in July 2012 in the journal Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. (1) The Indian scientists investigated the effect of a highly concentrated full-spectrum extract from Withania somnifera roots on stress and anxiety in adults. The scientists divided 64 men and women into two groups. The first group received a placebo, while the second group took 300 mg full-spectrum extract twice a day.
At the end of the 60-day intake, both groups were compared. The participants of the first group had significantly lower cortisol levels. This effect on cortisol levels does not appear to be limited to psychological stress. The results of studies show that Ashwagandha capsules reduce physical exhaustion under stress. No Ashwagandha side effects occurred in the participants of the study. (2)
Cortisol: Curse and blessing for modern humans
Latest brain research shows that stress hormones like cortisol put the body on alert. This hormone was important for our ancestors to mobilise energy reserves in a "fight-or-flight" situation. In simple terms: If our ancestors were facing a big animal, they got scared, released stress hormones and could flee faster or fight more fearlessly.
Today many people have a lot of cortisol in their bodies for other reasons. The stress hormones suggest to our body a "fight-or-flight" situation and thus a dangerous situation. Cortisol plays a central role in anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
It is therefore not surprising that Ashwagandha extract has a positive effect on anxiety disorders. However, it is interesting to note that this effect depends on the level of stress. The higher the stress level, the more someone with anxiety disorders benefits from the Ashwagandha effect.
In short: Ashwagandha studies show that the plant can be used against stress and stress-related anxiety disorders. Scientists suspect that the plant lowers cortisol levels by inhibiting the neuronal excitation of stress through glycoside withanolides.
Use of Ashwagandha against depression
The use of Ashwagandha against depression has a long tradition, especially in India, and is based on Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed that the plant has a positive effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain.
Scientists suspect that the antidepressant effect is due to adrenaline and noradrenaline. The effect of Ashwagandha on depression has been repeatedly demonstrated in animal studies. One of the most interesting results of the animal studies: The antidepressive Ashwagandha effect seems to be based on an improvement of receptors. (3)
The intake of ashwagandha extract improved the sensitivity of the 5-HT2 receptors. 5-HT receptors are receptors to which the hormone serotonin can dock. Serotonin is also called the feel-good or happiness hormone. Most treatments for depression aim to normalise serotonin levels.
Important: Further studies are needed to substantiate the current findings. So far, it is only known that combination preparations with Ashwagandha capsules can increase the serotonin level.(4)
In chronically stressed persons, who often suffer from depressive symptoms, the administration of 300mg Ashwagandha extract reduced the symptoms of depression by almost 80 percent. No ashwagandha side effects occurred in the participants of the study.(1)
Reading tip: Everything about a mild depression
In short: Animal and human studies indicate that Ashwagandha can counteract depression. The plant substances influence both the receptors for serotonin and stress-induced depressive symptoms. The effect depends on the Ashwagandha dosage. Further medical studies are required to substantiate this effect.
Ashwagandha against overweight
There are many people who take Ashwagandha for weight loss.The herb is of course not a miracle slimming herb, but it can have a supporting effect. Several processes play a role.
It is controversial which role cortisol plays exactly in overweight. It is only acknowledged that stress influences the metabolism, body composition and the build-up of body fat. In addition, stress burns people out, so that they have less motivation for sport or healthy eating habits.
A 2018 review indicates that prolonged stress can promote trunk obesity. (5) Since Ashwagandha capsules lower cortisol levels, it can ultimately help to put oneself in the right mindset and provide the necessary motivation to follow the right diet and lifestyle.
This causal relationship has been confirmed in human studies. In January 2017, the "Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" published a study by Choudhary et al. in which 52 overweight, chronically stressed men participated.
The men were divided into two groups. The participants of the first group received a placebo and the participants of the second group 300 mg of an ashwagandha extract twice a day. The extract contained 5 percent withanolides. The Indian scientists investigated whether the extract affected weight loss and general well-being.
After 8 weeks, the scientists compared the two groups. Body weight, BMI and cortisol levels were significantly lower in the Ashwagandha group. In addition, the root extract had a positive influence on the desire for food, as well as on well-being. No Ashwagandha side effects occurred in the study participants.
If you want to lose weight with Ashwagandha, you do not have to be under stress. At least this is the result of studies with fat cells. Withaferin A, a steroid lactone that is mainly found in the leaves of the plant, can help to reduce the viability of some fat cells and initiate cell death, according to another study. (6)
Another Indian human study from 2015 showed that ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, can not only counteract stress-related obesity. (7) The 8-week study involved 57 young men who received either a placebo or an Ashwagandha extract (300 mg) twice a day.
During this time, the untrained participants completed strength training. When comparing the two groups, the scientists found that the participants of the Ashwagandha group had more muscle strength and muscle mass. The muscle damage induced by the training was also reduced, allowing the muscles to recover better. In addition, Ashwagandha helped with weight loss: the participants lost 2% more body fat than the participants in the placebo group.
In short: Ashwagandha is often used in cases of stress-related overweight and, according to studies, can also support weight loss in conventional cases.
Ashwagandha for better sexual function and more testosterone?
Ashwagandha capsules play an important role in Ayurvedic medicine and are used there for problems with masculinity. The Indian medical system also uses Ashwagandha interactions with other plants. The herbaceous plant plays a special role in the Indian medical system as it is an adopter which is said to improve potency and virility. Various studies confirm this effect.
One of the first studies that found a positive effect on various sex hormones dates back to 2009. (8) In this study, scientists gave male rats ashwagandha extract and investigated the effect on various sex hormones. The rats' testosterone levels increased.
However, these results are not transferable to humans. Mainly because this is an animal study, but also because the increase was only observed in diabetic rats. In rats without diabetes only an increased FSH level (follicle stimulating hormone) could be observed.
Human studies show a mixed picture. In some Ashwagandha studies, testosterone levels increased and in others no effect could be demonstrated. However, it is considered proven that infertile men can benefit from the Ashwagandha effect.
In studies with male participants, a positive effect of the ayurvedic medicinal plant on the sperm count and sperm quality of infertile men could be proven. Testosterone levels were also positively influenced in this study. (9)
The antioxidative properties of the plant substances seem to be mainly responsible for this. It has been observed in several studies that antioxidants lead to an increase in the sex hormones in the blood serum of infertile men. However, fertile men would not benefit from this. No Ashwagandha side effects occurred in the participants of the study.
In healthy men, Ashwagandha was able to increase testosterone levels when they did strength training. (7) During the 8-week trial period, men who took Ashwagandha capsules twice a day were able to increase their testosterone levels. In comparison with the control group, this increase was 15 percent. A 15 percent increase does not lead to any noticeable changes in physical composition. However, for a herbal supplement, 15 percent is a strong effect.
In Ayurvedic medicine Ashwagandha is also used against a low libido. This effect has been confirmed in animal studies. (10) However, an Ashwagandha dosage that is too high seems to have the opposite effect and has had a sedative effect in animal studies. (11) The sedative effect occurred at a dosage of 3g extract per kilogram body weight. Further research will be necessary to confirm an effect on humans.
In short: Ashwagandha powder is often touted as a testosterone booster. Such an effect could not be proven beyond doubt in studies. A positive effect has been proven for infertile men and young men in combination with weight training.
Ashwagandha for better sport performance
Many athletes buy Ashwagandha to improve their sporting performance. Ashwagandha studies confirm this effect. The plant improves muscle strength, increases muscle mass and increases endurance.
A study with untrained, often sedentary, test persons could determine a positive effect on muscle strength. (12) The study by Raut et al. was published in July 2012 in the "Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine".
The study involved 18 men who were mainly sedentary but healthy. The participants did not complete any training units during the 30-day trial period. Nevertheless, the Indian scientists were able to identify a number of positive effects. In the conclusion of the study they wrote: "In this study a positive effect on muscle strength, blood lipid levels and sleep quality was proven".
The muscle strength of the lower back increased by 15.4 percent and that of the quadriceps by 21.5 percent. Fat mass also decreased, but the effect was not significant. Participants in the study had no Ashwagandha side effects.
A similar effect could be proven with untrained men who combined Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) with strength training. (7) 57 participants took either standardized ashwagandha capsules twice a day (300 mg with 5 percent withanolide) or a placebo. After 8 weeks the two groups were compared.
The participants in the Ashwagandha group had significantly more muscle mass and muscle strength than those in the placebo group. In bench press (chest muscle isolation exercise) the difference was 20 kg and in leg stretch (quadriceps isolation exercise) 4.5 kg. In this study there were also no Ashwagandha side effects.
Can endurance performance be improved with Ashwagandha? In an 8-week study with professional cyclists, 1g of root extract increased performance. (13) The cyclists were divided into two groups: 20 cyclists received 500 mg ashwagandha root extract twice a day and the remaining 20 cyclists received a placebo.
The participants of the Ashwagandha group improved in all measured parameters. The maximum breathing volume increased by 12.5 percent and the time to fatigue increased by 7.2 percent. There was no improvement in performance among the participants in the placebo group. Recent studies confirm the effect on endurance sports. (14)
In short: Some studies indicate that it may make sense to buy ashwagandha to increase your athletic performance. Studies have shown positive effects on muscle strength, muscle growth, exhaustion and endurance.
Ashwagandha and the immune system
The roots and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant contain the steroid lactone withanolid A. Studies with mice and rats have shown that this plant substance supports their immune system. Especially stress causes the immune system to reduce its activity. After all, in a "fight-or-flight" situation, the immune system is not important for survival. Withanolid A is able to compensate for a stress-induced shutdown of the immune system.
To prove this effect, scientists observed the effect of the plant substance on dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is a drug that dampens the immune system and counteracts inflammatory processes. The drug suppresses the activity of Th1 cells. These cells belong to the T-helper cells and regulate inflammatory processes.
In mice, it was shown that withanolide A counterbalances the immunosuppressive effect of dexamethasone. (15) Since dexamethasone is an artificial cortisol preparation, this effect could not be fully transferred to endogenous cortisol.
However, more recent studies with rats show a comparable effect. For example, withanolide A was able to reduce the cortisol circulating in the blood of stressed rats. The stress-related reduction of T cells was also observed in this experiment. (16)(17) The exact mechanism of action is not yet known.
One mechanism is the positive Ashwagandha effect on stress in general. In addition, withanolide A appears to suppress the secretion of myeloid suppressor cells. These cells release the cytokine interleukin 10, which counteracts inflammatory processes in the body. In addition, withanolide suppresses the protein STAT3, which is involved in the regulation of the immune response and the release of cytokines. (18)
In animal studies it has been shown that the suppression of STAT3 activity by withanolide A does not suppress cytokines that play an important role in immune defence. (19)
In an Ashwagandha study with mice, scientists proved that an aqueous extract from the herbaceous plant increased the number of immunoglobulins. (15) This was particularly true for immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M. The mice took an Ashwagandha dosage of 30 mg per body weight per day via food. Here, too, further human studies are necessary to be able to make reliable statements.
Reading tip: How to strengthen the immune system
In short: Ashwagandha capsules supported the immune system in several animal experiments. Scientists attribute the effect to the steroid lactone withanolid A. In the studies, the plant substance prevents the stress-related shutdown of the immune system, counteracts inflammation and increased the number of immunoglobulins. Further research is necessary to be able to make statements about the human organism.
Ashwagandha and the thyroid gland
Ashwgandha (Indian ginseng) is considered in Ayurveda treatment as a natural secret tip for the thyroid gland. However, the positive effect cannot be generalised and must be better investigated by further long-term studies until reliable statements can be made. Ashwagandha is by no means a substitute for medical treatment.
In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The hormones are called T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). The hormones perform numerous functions in the body and regulate, for example, the metabolism. It has not yet been sufficiently researched how Ashwagandha capsules help the thyroid gland in the case of an underfunction. Promising findings have been obtained in new studies.
In an 8-week study with 50 participants suffering from hypothyroidism, daily intake of Ashwagandha could help the thyroid hormone production. (20) Daily intake of 600 mg resulted in improved thyroid function and significantly increased thyroid hormone levels. The Indian scientists found an increase in T3 and T4 hormone levels of 41.5 and 19.6 percent respectively. In return, the TSH level (thyrotropin) decreased. Some of the participants experienced slight Ashwagandha side effects.
How Ashwagandha supports the thyroid gland in maintaining normal function is not clear. One possible explanation is the stress-reducing effect. An elevated cortisol level is considered a potential cause of low T3 and T4 levels. As Ashwagandha extract reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels, it has a positive effect on the thyroid gland.
Another study with adults suffering from bipolar disorder confirms the results of the Indian scientists. (21) A possible cause of the affective disorder is a disturbed thyroid function. In the eight-week study, Gannon and colleagues found a positive effect on T4 levels. Due to the limited study design, the increase could only be observed in three participants. Therefore, large-scale long-term studies are necessary to confirm the results.
If Ashwagandha capsules affect the thyroid gland and its function, this can have negative consequences for people with hyperthyroidism. Through the Ashwagandha effect, the already increased T3 and T4 levels are then further increased. If too many thyroid hormones circulate in the body, this can lead to thyrotoxicosis. Thyrotoxicosis is an intoxication with thyroid hormones that can be life-threatening.
In short: Ashwgandha (Indian ginseng) increased the thyroid hormones in blood serum in several studies. A therapeutic use as an alternative treatment for hypothyroidism is being discussed. However, more studies are needed for this. Ashwgandha extract exacerbates hyperthyroidism.
Ashwagandha for the blood sugar level
Diabetes belongs to the widespread diseases. In Germany, more than 6 million people suffer from the blood sugar disease. The results of studies indicate that ashwagandha extract could be considered as a natural diabetes treatment in the future. In studies, ayurvedic medicinal plants have been shown to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
One of the first studies investigating the Ashwagandha effect on insulin sensitivity dates from 2008. (22) In the study, Indian scientists injected the drug streptozocin into rat puppies to induce a non-insulin-dependent diabetic condition. This caused the animals to have type 2 diabetes.
They were then divided into two groups receiving either 200 or 400 mg ashwagandha extract per kilogram of body weight. After five weeks, the scientists found that blood sugar levels returned to normal as insulin sensitivity improved. The reason for this was due to a structural change in certain pancreatic islet cells that are responsible for the secretion of insulin.
Studies with humans have also shown positive effects on blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. In a double-blind, randomised Indian study from 2013, the effect of an ashwagandha root extract on patients with schizophrenia was investigated. (23)
The patients' blood values suffered from the drug treatment. Blood lipid values and blood sugar levels were greatly increased. The 30 patients received either 400 mg root extract three times a day or a placebo for 30 days. As expected, the placebo had no effect. Among the participants in the Ashwagandha group, fasting blood glucose fell by 13 percent and blood lipid values by 12 percent. No Ashwagandha side effects occurred in the study participants.
In subjects with metabolic syndrome, supplementation of 400 mg ashwagandha root extract three times daily for 30 days reduced fasting blood glucose by approximately 13%; there was no reference drug in this study, but it exceeded the placebo.
In short: Ashwagandha extract has been shown in studies to increase insulin sensitivity and normalize blood sugar and lipid levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. Taking Ashwagandha is of course no substitute for medical treatment. Further studies are also needed to confirm the results of previous studies.
Memory function and cognitive performance
In Ayurvedic medicine, the roots and leaves of ashwagandha plants are used to treat cognitive disorders. Scientific studies confirm the traditional use.
In animal studies with rats it has been shown that withanolide stimulates the release of antioxidant enzymes in the brain. (24) The researchers found that stress reduces the number of antioxidant enzymes in the frontal lobe and striatum. Withanolides were able to reverse this effect. How ashwagandha extract protected nerve cells from oxidative stress in the study is not fully understood.
The neuroprotective effect is supported by the stimulation of ashwagandha extract on neurogenesis. Neurogenesis describes the new formation of nerve cells and nerve connections. According to current studies, some plant substances of the herbaceous plant stimulate neurogenesis. This mechanism is particularly interesting for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
The plant substances are withanolide A, Withaonside IV, Withaonside VI and a special form of Withaonside IV (Sominone). The plant substance of the Ashwagandha plant seems to protect the brain from deposits of amyloid plaques between the nerve cells. According to Japanese scientists, this might improve neuronal dysfunctions. (25)
In Ayurvedic medicine the plant was used to protect the memory function. In epileptic rats, stress caused the substance at the hippocampus of the animals to decrease. (26) The hippocampus is one of the oldest brain regions and controls learning processes and memory. The rats suffered from visuo-spatial memory problems. The animals received either withanolid A or ashwagandha extract. Both lead to a restoration of spatial-visual memory.
In humans, studies have shown positive effects on brain damage associated with disease or injury. In one study, brain damage caused by HIV was reversed. (27) No participant reported a Ashwagandha adverse reaction.
In healthy people, the cognition of the test participants could also benefit from the Ashwagandha effect. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 20 healthy men, the Ayurvedic medicinal plant was able to improve cognitive and psychomotor skills. In the 14-day study, the reaction time, alertness and improved results in complex cognitive tests. The results were substantiated by further studies. (28)
In short: Ashwagandha extract has traditionally been used to treat cognitive disorders. Several studies have confirmed its positive effects on neurodegenerative diseases and healthy people. The effect could be based on protecting nerve cells from stress and stimulating neurogenesis, according to scientists.
Sexual function in women
An Indian study published in the renowned journal "BioMed Research International" in 2015 found an amazing effect of ashwagandha root extract on the sexuality of women. In the study, 50 women were divided into two groups. Each of 25 women received either 300 mg of root extract or a placebo twice a day. The trial period was 8 weeks. To assess the effect, the women had to fill out two questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study. The sexual function (FSFI questionnaire) and sexual frustration (FSDS questionnaire) were assessed.
When comparing the results of the questionnaires, the researchers found a significant improvement in both categories in the Ashwagandha group. In comparison with the placebo group, the women had more sexual pleasure and were less sexually frustrated. This applies to the categories: arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction. In addition, the women who took ashwagandha extract had more sex. No participant reported an ashwagandha side effect.
In short: Ashwagandha root extract improved the sexuality and sexual pleasure of women in one study.
What active substances and ingredients does Ashwagandha have?
According to a biochemical study, the plant contains 62 plant substances in the leaves and 48 in the roots. (30) Among the most important substances:
- Withanon (Roots: 5,5 mg/g - leaves: 18,4 mg/g)
- Withaferin A (Roots: 0.9 mg/g - leaves: 22.3 mg/g)
- Withanolides A (Roots: 3.9 mg/g - leaves: 2.1 mg/g)
- Withanolides B (Roots: 0.55 mg/g - leaves: 2.8 mg/g)
- Withanosides IV (Roots: 0.44 mg/g - leaves: 1,6 mg/g)
- Physagulin (Roots: not quantifiable - leaves: 3.5 mg/g)
- Kaempferol (0.06 mg/g)
- Naringenin (0,5 mg/g)
- Phenolic acids
- Palmitic acid
- Oleic acid
- Linoleic acid
Vitamins or minerals have not yet been detected in significant amounts in the herbaceous plant. The health-promoting properties are due to the interaction of the individual plant substances.
What does Ashwagandha cost?
Compared with other supplements, Ashwagandha products cost a little bit more on average. If a Ashwagandha test were carried out regarding prices, most products would be in the price range between 9 and 30 Euros. There are not many products that cost more. Some outliers, which can cost up to 100 Euro, are also on the market.
Should one take Ashwagandha powder or capsules?
Apart from the prices, the products differ in shape. Basically there are Ashwagandha powder, capsules and combination products. The Ashwagandha capsules offer some advantages over the powder. The biggest advantage is that the dosage cannot be exceeded or undershot. This makes an equal Ashwagandha dosage possible in the long run. Many users have the Ashwagandha experience that the dosage of the powder is difficult. In addition, the capsules are tasteless. On the Internet many users report a negative Ashwagandha experience because they found the taste unpleasant. The only advantage Ashwagandha powder has is that it is slightly cheaper.
Besides, Ashwagandha powder often contains pure powder from dried roots. The concentration of the active ingredients is therefore lower than in capsules, which usually contain a root extract.
What other plants or supplements work similar to Ashwagandha?
Basically there is no supplement that covers the entire spectrum of action of the ayurvedic medicinal plant. Depending on the desired effect, there are other alternatives.
- For stress the following ashwagandha alternatives help:
- Red Panax Ginseng
- Rhodiola rosea (rose root)
- Valerian root
- Bacopa monnieri
- For problems with potency and virility:
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamine D
- Ginkgo biloba
- Tongkat Ali
- For cognitive performance
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Ginkgo biloba
What differences are there with Ashwagandha?
There is only one form of the plant: Withania somnifera. Therefore there are no botanical differences between different ashwagandha products. The only difference is the form of intake. Those who have experience with Ashwagandha know that capsules are more practical than powder.
Whoever wants to buy ashwagandha should make the form dependent on personal needs. The bioavailability of the active ingredients is not dependent on the form.
What to look for when buying capsules
There are animal and plant forms of the capsule on the market. The personal Ashwagandha experience does not depend on it, but some people refrain from using animal products for ethical or religious reasons. This means that animal capsules made of gelatine (animal protein) are no longer necessary. Vegetable capsules made of cellulose or starch do not have any disadvantages compared to gelatine capsules. The only important thing is that the capsules are protected from the gastric juice. This means that the active ingredients are not damaged and are absorbed in the small intestine. A frequently used compound that is resistant to gastric juice is hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC for short).
It is often stated that the gelatine in gelatine capsules helps to protect the joints. It is true that joint cartilage is made of gelatine, but gelatine capsules are not made of edible gelatine, but of collagen hydrolysate. It is doubtful that this form is even accepted by the joints. Therefore the following applies: vegetable and animal capsules are equivalent.
Advantages and disadvantages of Ashwagandha capsules with active ingredient complex
Capsules with an active ingredient complex contain several active ingredients that complement or synergistically reinforce each other. Such supplements are also called combination preparations.
The advantage is the synergistic supplementation in the body, so that, for example, the effect or bioavailability is increased. In addition, users can save time, since they only need to take one supplement. As a rule, however, the active ingredients in combination products are dosed too low. A low dosage of Ashwagandha suffers the user's Ashwagandha experience and the product is probably dismissed as useless. Besides, it makes more sense to put together a combination according to individual needs yourself and not to rely on ready-made products.
How do you compare Ashwagandha capsules?
If you want to buy Ashwagandha, you should consider the following purchase criteria to avoid a bad purchase.
Biochemical laboratories that performed a Ashwagandha test to determine the nutrient content would find numerous components. The special thing: The results of this Ashwagandha Test would be different with another Ashwagandha plant. Since it is a natural product, there are deviations.
One capsule should contain between 300 and 500 mg root extract. The withanolide content is also important. The more withanolides the product contains, the better the ashwagandha experience of the user. The withanolide content should be between 5 and 10 percent. If a manufacturer does not indicate the withanolide content, this indicates a low value.
Price and quality
High quality justifies a high price. The only clear sign of high quality is the withanolide content. If the manufacturer does not indicate this value, the product is probably inferior.
In addition, the age of the plants used provides information about the quality of the product. The older the plant, the higher the active ingredient content. For medicinal purposes plants should be at least seven years old. However, such facts are not indicated by the sellers normally.
High-quality products should also contain few preservatives or additives.
India, America, Australia and Canada are the largest exporters of Ashwagandha products.
A gentle extraction process guarantees the preservation of the plant substances. At best, the extract is produced without alcohol or other additives.
Organic certificates and seals provide information about the sustainability of a product. Users for whom sustainability or organic quality is important should look out for indicative seals on the products. The most common seal for sustainable consumption is the state label for organically produced products, which are marked with the organic certificate.
Facts worth knowing about Ashwagandha capsules
The perfect dosage of Ashwagandha
The Ashwagandha dosage depends on the personal goals. Prophylactically a dosage between 300 and 500 mg per day is sufficient. For acute complaints such as chronic stress, the Ashwagandha dosage can be increased to 1000 to 1500 mg per day. According to current knowledge, there is no habituation effect. Since the body does not develop tolerance and side effects rarely occur, it can be taken daily.
When should you take it
The Ashwagandha intake is simple. The extract can be taken with main meals. If it is a daily dose, then breakfast is best suited for Ashwagandha intake.
Ashwagandha side effects
Ashwagandha side effects occur very rarely. Users who have experience with Ashwagandha especially appreciate the tolerability.
Taking ashwagandha is dangerous only at a very high dosage. The plant substance Withaferin A can have a toxic effect in high doses. The necessary dosage is so high that it is difficult to cause this ashwagandha side effect. However, a very high ashwagandha intake can cause gastrointestinal problems.
Ashwagandha interactions are mostly positive in nature. For example, positive ashwagandha interactions with Arjuna are known to enhance athletic performance. Other positive Ashwagandha interactions have been discovered with SSRI drugs, Notch2 inhibitors (cancer), certain anxiolytics (such as alcohol) and ERK/p38 inhibitors. Ashwagandha interactions are also known with curcumin and silymarin.
How long may one take Ashwagandha
Whoever buys Ashwagandha for the first time or has already gained a positive Ashwagandha experience, asks himself: How long is it possible to take it? In Ashwagandha studies the trial period varies from a few weeks to 3 months. There are no long-term studies. Nevertheless, there is nothing to be said against taking Ashwagandha for a longer period of time. Those who have experience with Ashwagandha know that the body does not build up tolerance and the positive effects remain.
Many manufacturers fall short of the Ashwagandha study period and recommend a daily intake of 4 to 6 weeks, followed by a one-week break.
For whom is the intake recommended
A positive Ashwagandha experience is reported by people who are exposed to a lot of stress. In addition, all people who want to be physically or cognitively more efficient can benefit from the powers of the plant. Numerous athletes report their personal Ashwagandha experience to take them to the next level of athletic performance. Anyone who wants to lose weight with Ashwagandha is also well advised to buy one.
Who should not take it
Pregnant women should refrain from taking ashwagandha. The same applies to children under 12 years of age. People who suffer from hyperthyroidism should not take Ashwagandha.
The doctor should be consulted in the case of cardiovascular complaints or the use of blood-thinning medication.
Concluding words: Hardly any ashwagandha side effect, much benefit
Users report hardly any ashwagandha side effects, but a broad spectrum of health-promoting effects. The research situation gives many reasons to buy ashwagandha.p>
Below you will find the most frequently asked questions about Ashwagandha and a short answer. Your question is not included? Send us an e-mail and we will answer it as soon as possible and record it for other interested parties.
List of sources
- (1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
- (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11406854 (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...
- (4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21614890
- (5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958156/
- (6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19346589
- (7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26609282
- (8) https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effect-of-withania-somnifera-on-levels-of-sex-in-Kiasalari-Khalili/dea69d7a384d9668d6cd54f93759957165aa78c6
- (9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501822
- (10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895672
- (11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12508132
- (12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23125505
- (13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23326093
- (14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26730141
- (15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17336338
- (16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16846833
- (17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19524704
- (18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4597807/
- (19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19269163
- (20) https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/acm.2017.0183
- (21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25624699
- (22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18346053
- (23) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24014929
- (24) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11137343
- (25) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16553605
- (26) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22700086
- (27) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24147038
- (28) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28471731
- (29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26504795
- (30) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20483437
- (31) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313221/