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  1. #1
    Primum non nocere Synapsin's Avatar
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    All about Ashwagandha

    Ashwagandha



    History

    Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is perhaps the most famous herb in Ayurvedic medicine (1). Ashwagandha is a member of the nightshade family of plants known as Solanaceae (2). Ashwagandha is an erect shrub that grows to be 30-75 cm high, with long tuberous routes. This plant bears a globose berry when fully mature; its leaves and roots are also commonly use in ancient Ayurvedic medicine [3]. This plant is used for a variety of ailments, including to promote youthful vigor, endurance, muscle gain, strength, counteract effects of fatigue, dehydration, etc. (3, 4).

    Effects

    Ashwagandha has an interesting and wide range of effects in humans. A randomized, double-blind controlled trial on humans (n=64) found that 600 mg of Ashwagandha a day resulted in a reduction of stress and an improvement in quality of life in individuals after 60 days (5). Interestingly enough, another trial compared the effects of Ashwagandha on anxiety vs. psychotherapy and found that while both treatments were effective for anxiety, Ashwagandha was significantly more effective at reducing anxiety levels compared to psychotherapy (6). They also found it significantly improved quality of life compared to the psychotherapy.

    Other trials on Ashwagandha show a similar trend (that Ashwagandha is effective at reducing anxiety levels in humans), making this adaptogen excellent for those looking for an increase in quality of life (7, 8).

    A study on healthy individuals using Ashwagandha for 30 days showed that Ashwagandha supplementation resulted in significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and that subjects experienced a significant in strength (9). A human trial on Ashwagandha also showed that it can increase the VO2 max (increase in endurance) and lower the resting systolic blood pressure in healthy young adults (10). A study in elite cyclists showed similar results, finding that cyclist who supplemented with Ashwagandha significantly increased their VO2 max and their time to exhaustion (11). The fact that this trend is (increase in VO2 max and endurance) is observed in both healthy young adults and elite athletes strengthens the argument for any individual looking to supplement with Ashwagandha.

    Ashwagandha also has a host of hormonal effects, resulting in an increase in testosterone levels, LH, FSH, and an improvement in sperm quality in infertile men (12). Similar results have been found in other studies, noting that Ashwagandha improved sperm quality and motility (13). They found that Ashwagandha significantly increased serum testosterone levels by 17% and LH by 34% compared to the placebo group (13).

    (13)

    Toxicity

    Ashwagandha has a large abundance of trials in humans, which showed no adverse effects when subjects received doses between 250 mg- 1000 mg a day (5-9).

    References

    1. "Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal". Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.

    2. Gupta, A.; Mittal, A.; Jha, K. K.; Kumar, A. (2011). "Nature’s treasurer: plants acting on colon cancer" (PDF). Journal of Stress Physiology & Biochemistry 7 (4): 217–231.

    3. Mirjalili, M. H., Moyano, E., Bonfill, M., Cusido, R. M., & Palazón, J. (2009). Steroidal lactones from withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules.

    4. Mishra, L., Singh, B., Dagenais, S. (2000). Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. Altern Med Rev. 5(4): 334-46.

    5. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. (2012). 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 J Psychol Med.

    6. Cooley, K., Szczurko, O., Perri, D., Mills, E. J., Bernhardt, B., Zhou, Q., & Seely, D. (2009). Naturopathic care for anxiety: A randomized controlled trial ISRCTN78958974. PLoS ONE, 4(8).

    7. Andrade, C., Aswath, A., Chaturvedi, S. K., Srinivasa, M., & Raguram, R. (2000). A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian journal of psychiatry, 42(3), 295-301.

    8. Biswjit et al. (2008). A standardized Withania somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. JANA. Vol 11:1.

    9. Raut, A., Tadvi, F., Kene, K., Pandey, S., Vaidya, A., Rege, N., Solanki, P., et al. (2012). Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine.

    10. Sandhu, J. S., Shah, B., Shenoy, S., Chauhan, S., Lavekar, G. S., & Padhi, M. M. (2010). Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. International journal of Ayurveda research, 1(3), 144-9.

    11. Shenoy, S., Chaskar, U., Sandhu, J. S., & Paadhi, M. M. (2012). Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 3(4), 209-14.

    12. Ahmad, M. K., Mahdi, A. A., Shukla, K. K., Islam, N., Rajender, S., Madhukar, D., Shankhwar, S. N., et al. (2010). Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertility and sterility, 94(3), 989-96.

    13. Ambiye, V. R., Langade, D., Dongre, S., Aptikar, P., Kulkarni, M., & Dongre, A. (2013). 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 : eCAM, 2013, 571420

    Two things to note:

    1) I am a paid consultant for a company that uses Ashwagandha, so bear that in mind.

    2) There are studies using Ashwagandha powder that use up to 5 grams a day, but I did not include them simply because most people are using capped Ashwagandha and 5 grams a day would be quite excessive when it is already effective at a low dose.

    I believe my next thread will be on berberine. As usual, if you have requests for the next thread topic, please post them, thank you.
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  2. #2
    #SelectTheBest kbayne's Avatar
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    Nice compilation of information and write-up Synapsin!

    I think if you do Berberine, that will be a huge hit for sure, as many have been wanting one on Berberine for a good minute now.
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    Thanks for the info, been reading up on this supp lately. Thinking about adding it to my stash.
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    Thank you Syn. I was one of those asking for this write up.

    Are there any compounds that have a synergistic effect with Ash? Studied and validated?
    Your nutrition and workout program determines your success.
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    Looks good. I see Ashwagandha supplements and Ashwagandha extract supps. Any preference or information on the difference?
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    amount of withanolides or anything else matter? i want to say i read around 20mg.
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    Originally Posted by ironicinori View Post
    Looks good. I see Ashwagandha supplements and Ashwagandha extract supps. Any preference or information on the difference?
    Do a search for KSM-66.

    Full-spectrum Ashwagandha extract containing highest percentage of withanolides of all root-only extracts.
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    Originally Posted by OregonBBinc View Post
    amount of withanolides or anything else matter? i want to say i read around 20mg.
    KSM-66 contains the highest available concentration of withanolides, being >5%.
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    Excellent post. Thank you!
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  10. #10
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    Awesome write up as usual Syn

    How would you compare the anxiety/stress reducing qualities of Ashwagandha to something like SAMe?
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    awesome, been meaning to look further into this stuff. Very interested.

    Any one have experience with Ashwaganda vs Phenibut?
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    Originally Posted by kbayne View Post
    KSM-66 contains the highest available concentration of withanolides, being >5%.
    yes. but what amount of withanolides is key is what i was wondering.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by OregonBBinc View Post
    yes. but what amount of withanolides is key is what i was wondering.
    Those are the active ingredients, most herbal supplements should be standardized to a percentage of the active ingredient(s).
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    What if I eat the winter berries on the plant?
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  15. #15
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    Good info, been reading into Ashwagandha lately. Thanks for posting this syn.
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    Intriguing post Syn!
    Glad I read it
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    Nice write up Synapsin! I enjoy my Sensoril®.
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    Originally Posted by Rob1882 View Post
    What if I eat the winter berries on the plant?
    Testicular atrophy
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    Originally Posted by OT2000 View Post
    Testicular atrophy
    So what happens if he doesn't have testicles?
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    Originally Posted by danielmoo View Post
    So what happens if he doesn't have testicles?
    He will grow a pair, and they will subsequently atrophy.
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    Great write-up, Syn! Thanks for the knowledge bomb.
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    Originally Posted by OT2000 View Post
    Thank you Syn. I was one of those asking for this write up.

    Are there any compounds that have a synergistic effect with Ash? Studied and validated?
    Terminalia Arjuna for endurance in healthy young adults.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996571/
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    Great write up as always good sir,
    been enjoying ashwagandha for some time now, I said on another board that it is the best I have ever felt on a hormone modulating ingredient.

    Can't wait to get my hands on the KSM-66 extract in something coming my way soon and try it out
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    I am ready to try my Alpha JYM next week... let's see about that ashwagandha!!
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    Originally Posted by Synapsin View Post
    I believe my next thread will be on berberine. As usual, if you have requests for the next thread topic, please post them, thank you.
    I would be interested in reading about this as well.
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    Thanks for write up, why this thread is low stars rating?
    Learn....then share the knowledge.

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    Originally Posted by hamdysayed View Post
    Thanks for write up, why this thread is low stars rating?
    forums gonna forum
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    Originally Posted by hamdysayed View Post
    Thanks for write up, why this thread is low stars rating?
    Nothing new in regards to low star rating with these threads.
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    Originally Posted by OT2000 View Post
    Thank you Syn. I was one of those asking for this write up.

    Are there any compounds that have a synergistic effect with Ash? Studied and validated?
    Originally Posted by aaronuconn View Post
    Terminalia Arjuna for endurance in healthy young adults.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996571/
    ^^^ was one of my references actually. Other than that, I didn't come across anything else. I can always speculate but it wouldn't be ingredients in studies combined with it.

    Originally Posted by ironicinori View Post
    Looks good. I see Ashwagandha supplements and Ashwagandha extract supps. Any preference or information on the difference?
    Should be the same thing.

    Originally Posted by OregonBBinc View Post
    amount of withanolides or anything else matter? i want to say i read around 20mg.
    Tricky subject. Usually studies use a patented extract, which usually guarantees a certain minimum of withanolides, but doesn't specify an exact amount. I don't think studies using bulk powder specify an exact amount, but I didn't read those papers too closely because I knew I wouldn't be including them (bulk being doses of 5 grams).

    Originally Posted by carguy123 View Post
    Awesome write up as usual Syn

    How would you compare the anxiety/stress reducing qualities of Ashwagandha to something like SAMe?
    Given that Ashwagandha has studies comparing it to psychotherapy (which IMO is the gold standard for anxiety), and is not expensive, I would go with Ashwagandha any day of the week.

    Originally Posted by BenBlue View Post
    awesome, been meaning to look further into this stuff. Very interested.

    Any one have experience with Ashwaganda vs Phenibut?
    I would never use Phenibut long term. Tachyphylaxis is rapid, it has very addictive properties, and withdrawal is a nightmare. Only ever use phenibut sparingly.

    Originally Posted by Gym God View Post
    Nice write up Synapsin! I enjoy my Sensoril®.
    Good stuff indeed!

    Originally Posted by hamdysayed View Post
    Thanks for write up, why this thread is low stars rating?
    shrug lol

    Also, next topic will be berberine since its the most requested
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  30. #30
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    Originally Posted by hamdysayed View Post
    Thanks for write up, why this thread is low stars rating?
    I think we all know who they are
    - Spot for sale
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