Using the correct ashwagandha dosage is critical if you want to enjoy all of this herb’s benefits, without any of the potential side effects.
Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is a member of the nightshade family. This short shrub with orange-red berries is a key ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used in India for centuries as a restorative tonic for nerves and stress. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a compound containing antioxidants and vitamins that help the body combat both internal stresses, like anxiety, and external stresses, like an infection.
Today, people continue to take ashwagandha as a supplement, usually before bed. It can be found in most health food stores in capsule form, and occasionally in loose powder form. Traditionally, ashwagandha is taken with hot milk, ghee (clarified butter), or honey. As with all powerful herbal supplements, it’s important to carefully research what the correct dosage is for a supplement. Different amounts of ashwagandha will have different results, for a myriad of issues, as outlined below.
Stress and Anxiety
First and foremost, ashwagandha is known for its ability to relieve stress. Studies have shown that a low daily dose of ashwagandha, around 125mg, helps decrease your body’s levels of cortisol by as much as 30 percent. Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands when you become stressed, and too much cortisol can have damaging effects. Larger doses of ashwagandha, up to 600mg, reduced anxiety and lowered the risk of insomnia in people with anxiety disorders.
One of ashwagandha uses in Ayurvedic medicine is to improve memory and prevent cognitive decline in older people. There is limited scientific research to support these claims, but in small studies, daily doses of ashwagandha around 500mg helped to improve both short and long-term memory, and improved task function, attention, and information processing.
Ashwagandha may help to fight inflammation by reducing a type of protein, C-reactive, which is involved in the process of inflammation. Ashwagandha has also been shown to boost immunity in the body by increasing white blood cells. For inflammation, doses of up to 600mg are recommended for at least two months.
For immunity, 12ml of ashwagandha extract showed a tangible difference in cell count. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology by Ramesh Agarwal et al., there is a significant and positive impact on immune system inflammation when ashwagandha is used in an appropriate dosage.
Ashwagandha has shown itself to be effective against several different strains of bacteria. It is used to treat tuberculosis, staph, MRSA (a type of resistant staph), gonorrhea, and salmonella. It is also a powerful source of antioxidants and helps the body fight off bacterial infection by supporting the immune system.
250-500mg is recommended for home dosage. Ashwagandha has also shown some anti-viral qualities.
Because stress-induced cortisol can negatively affect sperm quality and mobility, ashwagandha is recommended for men experiencing infertility. 5g a day for several months has been found to increase sperm count, and boost chances of impregnating their partner by 14%.
Much larger doses of Ashwagandha can help pack on muscle, Studies have shown that daily doses anywhere from 500 to 1250mg led to significantly more muscle growth and greater strength in a matter of weeks. Unfortunately, most of the studies have been done on men only, so it is not certain how large doses affect women. Ashwagandha is also recommended to increase fertility in men.
A wide range of doses can be useful to people with diabetes 2, or those looking to lower their blood sugar levels. Several small studies over the years have shown that ashwagandha is effective in triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and may be as effective as oral diabetes medication. Anywhere between 250mg and 3g can be taken, usually spaced out in several doses throughout the day.
Word of Caution: Patients taking medicines for thyroid, blood pressure, or blood sugar should not take ashwagandha without first consulting their doctor. Pregnant or breastfeeding women or a patient suffering from an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus should not take ashwagandha. Stop taking ashwagandha at least two weeks before any surgery.