Ashwagandha and Stress
Ashwagandha is one of the most prized herbs in the Ayurvedic medicine materia medica. ‘Ashwa’ means ‘horse’ and ‘gandha’ means ‘smell’ so its name has been interpreted as referring to the smell of the fresh root powder as well as the root imbuing one with the vigor and stamina of a horse. Ashwagandha falls under the adaptogen class of herbs, meaning it can safely be used long term to fortify and support the body and mind in response to all of life’s daily stressors (which seem plentiful in our current day and age!). I’d be hard-pressed to think of someone who would not benefit from using ashwagandha at some point in their lives.
Not all ashwagandha root and powder extractions are made equal though. At Flora, we opted to use KSM-66 Ashwagandha® in our new Stressveda™ formula. KSM-66 is made by a family-owned business in Rajasthan, India, and has 14+ years of R&D behind it. They are a vertically integrated company, meaning they oversee the creation of the root extract from farm to finished product. KSM-66 is made using only grade A roots and is extracted using ‘green chemistry’ with no use of alcohol or solvents.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is traditionally used for arthritic and rheumatic pains, insomnia, the cognitive decline of aging and promotion of conception.1 The modern research of clinical trials and pharmacological understanding of the main active compounds in ashwagandha have verified and supported many of these traditional uses while uncovering even more benefits.
Human, placebo controlled clinical trials have found significant benefits for KSM-66 Ashwagandha® in the following areas:
- Stress and anxiety: 27.9% reduction in cortisol, 71.6-77% reduction in stress, depression and anxiety test scores2
- Testosterone and male sexual health: 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume, 57% increase in sperm motility, 17% increase in testosterone levels3
- Female sexual health: significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm and sexual satisfaction4
- Cardio Endurance: 5.7% increase in VO2 max and 9.5% increase in QoL (Quality of Life) measurements5
- Muscle strength and recovery: significant increases in muscle strength and size, decreases in exercise induced damage and 3.5% reduction in body fat and an 81% increase in testosterone levels compared to placebo6
- Stress and weight management: a 22% decrease in cortisol levels, 3% reduction in body weight, and significantly greater reductions than placebo on PSS (perceived stress scale) and FCQ (Food-Cravings Questionnaire-Trait) scores7
- Memory and cognition: significant improvements in working and general memory, executive function, sustained attention, and information processing speed based on a standard memory and cognition test8
- Thyroid health: supporting healthy thyroid function by increasing T3 levels by 41.5%, T4 levels by 19.6% and significantly decreasing serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism9
- Sleep quality: significant improvements in sleep quality, time to fall asleep, and in reducing nervousness10
These studies typically lasted 8-12 weeks and for those in the ashwagandha group, they received 600 mg per day. Because stress can negatively impact our sleep quality, libido, and cognitive health, it makes sense that by smoothing out our stress responses, ashwagandha can help support our health in these other areas too.
At Flora we have gone one step further in using KSM-66 Ashwagandha® in Stressveda™. We have added food-based vitamins to provide additional anti-aging, antioxidant support and to support the health of the nervous system. These include B vitamins, and vitamins A, C, D, E and K. These are made from fruits and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, carrot, sweet potato, orange, apple, strawberry, sunflower seed, and shiitake and maitake mushrooms. The fruits and vegetables are organically grown in the USA.
Experience for yourself the shift in vitality, energy and mood that Stressveda™ can bring and enjoy 15% off on our site this week by using code ‘stressless15’ at checkout.
- K. Bone and S. Mills, Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, (Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone), 2000, p. 595.
- Chandrasekhar, K., et al. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255, 2012.
- . Ambiye, V. R., et al. Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
- Dongre, S., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. BioMed research international, 2015.
- Choudhary, B., et al. Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults. Ayu, 36(1), 63, 2015.
- Wankhede, S., et al. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 43, 2015.
- Choudhary, D., et al. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 22(1), 96-106, 2017.
- Choudhary, D., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions Journal of Dietary Supplements, 1-14, 2017.
- Sharma, A. K., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2017.
- Langade, D., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double – blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled study. (2019). Cureus, 11(9), e5797, 2019.
Robert Dadd is a Master Herbalist (Dominion Herbal College) with a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University. His areas of research include adaptogens, probiotics, and essential fatty acids. He is currently the Product Information Supervisor for Flora Manufacturing and Distributing.