Native to North Africa and India, ashwagandha (withania somnifera) is a small, woody plant with bright yellow flowers.
Ashwagandha is classed as an adaptogen which means that it helps the body to manage stress in a better way.
Ashwagandha root is a popular supplement which reduces anxiety, enhances muscle strength and boost your memory.
But how much ashwagandha can you take safely to get all the benefits from it? We take a look at dosage suggestions for ashwagandha and the possible side effects.
How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take?
You can take up to 1000 mg of ashwagandha daily as an adult. The ashwagandha dosage for children can vary.
It’s important to check with a herbalist how much ashwagandha you can take, as the dose typically depends on your specific condition.
Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha is primarily used in herbal medicine as an ingredient to support the body with any conditions related to stress.
It’s worthwhile mentioning here that there are only a few studies with scientific evidence to support the below uses.
Ashwagandha Can Reduce Anxiety And Stress
Ashwagandha has a strong reputation as a stress relief supplement. The stress-lowering effects in this medicinal herb also contribute to lower anxiety levels.
You can take doses between 125 mg and 5 g for up to 3 months to lower your cortisol levels significantly.
Doses between 500 mg and 600 mg per day for up to 12 weeks helps to reduce anxiety and it also improves sleep(see also: Which Magnesium Is Best For Sleep And Anxiety?).
Make sure that you take ashwagandha regularly for at least a month to see these benefits. Also, check in with a herbalist to discuss any possible side effects and interactions.
Ashwagandha Can Boost Fertility
This traditional medicinal herb is believed to promote reproductive health and boost fertility, particularly in men.
Some studies found that men who suffer from infertility experienced an increased sperm count and better sperm quality when they took 5 g of ashwagandha daily.
Other research discovered that just five grams of ashwagandha can lead to higher pregnancy levels due to improved fertility in men.
Ashwagandha Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Ashwagandha may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes as well as healthy individuals.
Studies have shown that ashwagandha taken over four weeks reduces blood sugar levels faster than a placebo.
Dosages of ashwagandha in these studies were between 250 mg and 3 g. The ashwagandha was taken between 2 and 3 times a day.
Ashwagandha Can Enhance Strength And Muscle Growth
When you are supplementing your diet with some ashwagandha, you may also see an increase in overall strength and muscle mass.
One ashwagandha study found that men who took 500 mg of ashwagandha a day experienced an increase in their muscular power.
Another research project on ashwagandha discovered that just 600 mg of the herb per day for 8 weeks can lead to a significant increase in muscle size and muscle strength.
There are also some studies that have seen similar effects with higher dosages of ashwagandha.
It’s worth noting here that the majority of studies on ashwagandha related to muscle power are related to men, there is also some research that indicates that women can expect similar health benefits.
Ashwagandha Can Help Fight Infections And Lower Inflammation
Ashwagandha is also a medicinal herb that boosts the immune system. This means that it supports your body’s defenses against infections, such as flu and cold.
Studies found that just 12 ml of ashwagandha root extract a day can increase the number of immune cells in our body. These cells help to fight infections.
In addition, taking up to 500 mg of ashwagandha over 2 months can also reduce inflammation levels.
Ashwagandha Improves Your Memory
As ashwagandha can help to significantly limit inflammation levels in your body, it means your brain can focus on other essential tasks, such as improving cognitive functions and memory.
Some scientific research discovered that this Ayurvedic herb can boost memory.
Just 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract for twice a day over 2 months can improve attention, general memory and task performance.
One specific study with healthy men who took 500 mg of ashwagandha a day for 2 weeks showed that they performed much better in tests for reaction time and task performance.
However, there is limited research in this area and generally on ashwagandha.
It takes much more human research to draw firm conclusions about the benefits of ashwagandha as a medicinal herb.
Side Effects Of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is considered a safe herbal medicine for most people.
Saying this, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you may need to avoid taking ashwagandha.
You should also consider herbal alternatives to ashwagandha when you are suffering from any autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
As ashwagandha also has an effect on blood sugar levels, it can also interact with blood sugar and thyroid medications.
Top Tips When You Are Taking Ashwagandha
It’s important to consult a healthcare professional or herbalist before you take any medicinal supplements.
Ashwagandha and other medicinal herbs can interact with any medication you are currently taking.
You may also require a lower or higher dose of ashwagandha depending on your current conditions.
A herbalist or alternative healthcare practitioner will be able to advise you on the exact dose you need to take.
Many of the studies done with ashwagandha used a small amount of people. This doesn’t allow scientists to draw conclusions on the full positive and negative effects of ashwagandha.
There is a lot more research needed on ashwagandha to clearly say what benefits this herb has on the body.
Ashwagandha can help to reduce stress levels and improve your sleep. It is also said to boost fertility.
You can take between 125 mg and 5 grams of ashwagandha per day for up to 3 months.
However, make sure that you check with your healthcare practitioner or herbalist for any possible side effects or interactions with other medicines.