What Ashwagandha Is Used For?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera dunal) is considered an “adaptogen herb” in the Solanaceae/nightshade plant family. Adaptogens are defined as natural substances in herbal medicine that are considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes. Additionally, ashwagandha is commonly used as an anxiolytic, or a substance that helps manage symptoms of anxiety.
In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used for more than 2,500 years for its thyroid-modulating, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the many uses for ashwagandha include:
Helping decrease inflammation and protect against oxidative damage
Acting as a natural stress reliever, such as by helping maintain homeostasis even in moments of emotional or physical stress
Lowering cortisol levels (considered one of the body’s main stress hormones)
Balancing thyroid hormones
Strengthening the immune system after illness
Enhancing stamina and physical performance and building muscle strength
Treating adrenal fatigue
Improving sleep quality
Reducing anxiety and depression
Reducing brain cell degeneration
Normalizing blood sugar and helping to protect against diabetes
Lowering cholesterol and triglycerides
Potentially helping prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer
Boosting fertility, including by improving sperm count in males
Managing symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
How does ashwagandha work to promote health and fight the effects of chronic stress? Many of the herb’s medicinal properties — including its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects — are due to the presence of protective compounds called withanolides, a group of steroidal lactones, such as withaferin A, withanolide D and withanone. Additionally, ashwagandha has been found to contain many other health-promoting substances, including flavonoids, catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, alkaloids, amino acids, sterols, tannins and lignans.
Which Ashwagandha Dosage Is Right for You?
There is no standard dose of ashwagandha. Some people use between 1 to 6 grams of the whole herb daily. Others mix 3 grams of ashwagandha powder in warm milk. There are also standardized extracts available. Ask your doctor for advice about forms of ashwagandha and doses.
Average Ashwagandha Dosage Recommendations
Ashwagandha supplements come in extract, capsule and powder forms. Many different parts of the plant are used to make herbal remedies, including the roots, leaves, seeds, flowers, stem, fruit and bark.
Now that you know the main reasons that ashwagandha is taken, you’re probably wondering: What dosage of ashwagandha should I take? Ashwagandha dosage recommendations vary depending on the condition being treated.
In order to determine how concentrated a product is, you want to look at the withanolide content. It should range from 1 percent to 10 percent (some feel that products with at least 2.5 percent withanolides are most effective). A good-quality supplement should include this information, and many will also be produced with “gold-star standards,” which guarantee you get a product high in withanolides. The higher the withanolide content, the stronger the effects of the supplement.
Like with other herbs and supplements, it’s best to start with a low dose of ashwagandha and then gradually increase your dosage as needed. What is considered a low dosage of ashwagandha?
Most experts recommend starting with a dose of about 300 to 500 milligrams per day of ashwagandha extract, with withanolides in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent. A full dose of ashwagandha would be between 1,000–1,500 milligrams per day of extract.
If you choose to take ashwagandha dried root instead of extract, a typical dosage is about three to six grams per day.
Some people may choose to supplement with even higher doses, particularly if working under the guidance of a naturopathic practitioner or health care provider. A high but typically safe dose of ashwagandha can be up to 6,000 milligrams per day. However, around 1,250 milligrams is a safer dosage to experiment with, since this amount has been shown to be safe in studies. In some instances, lower ashwagandha doses ranging about 100 to 250 milligrams per day have also been shown to be helpful for strengthening the immune system.
In terms of ashwagandha dosage timing, most people choose to take divided doses, such as by taking smaller doses two to three times per day. If you choose to take a full dose all at once (usually in the range of 300–500 mg of a root extract) it’s recommended you take the herb with meals, ideally in the morning with breakfast.
When to take ashwagandha before or after meal?
Being a natural aphrodisiac helps in reducing mental stress and anxiety and stimulates the hormones for increasing libido. It also increases virility and stamina in men.
The dosage should be as per health condition, age and as suggested by the ayurvedic doctor or practitioner. It is usually taken as 3 grams, 2 to 3 times a day for adults. It can be consumed with warm milk and should be taken on an empty stomach in the morning or at night before going to sleep.
It does not show any side effects when taken after proper consultation.
Certain foods and supplements give you better-intended results if you pay attention to the time you’re taking them. This is why it’s important to plan out when you should take your ashwagandha supplement — after all, you want to maximize the healing benefits. Timing of ashwagandha is important so you can support your body’s natural rhythms and the rise and fall of cortisol and other hormones. That is why we recommend taking ashwagandha twice a day: once in the morning and once in the mid afternoon.
Think of ashwagandha as if it were your morning or afternoon pick-me-up. Mornings are a great time to help support your body’s natural rhythm as you wake up and get ready to take on the day. This is why we recommend taking ashwagandha 30 to 60 minutes after waking up. Then you should take your second dose in the early afternoon (around 1 or 2pm), which is when many of us get that afternoon slump. Taking ashwagandha in the mid-afternoon can help you fight that afternoon fatigue and help you finish the day strong.
Ashwagandha can be taken with or without food, though a small, healthy snack paired with your capsule could possibly help with absorption. Otherwise, washing the capsule down with a glass of water should do just fine!