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August 01, 2023
Ashwagandha is an herb that translates to “smell of the horse" in Sanskrit, which they named based on the roots having a unique horse-like smell. It is used for everything from improving athletic performance to better sleep to alleviating anxiety and increasing testosterone.
With benefits like that, you're likely ready to order a bottle so you can begin taking it immediately. But once you do start taking it, how long does it take for ashwagandha to work?
Although it's likely you want to start taking ashwagandha and see results as fast as yesterday, the reality is that most supplements don't start to work immediately. Let's dig into exactly how long ashwagandha takes to work, so once you do start taking it, you have a good idea of just how much patience you need.
Table of Contents:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as "Indian Winter cherry" and "Indian ginseng," is an evergreen shrub found in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.
The Sanskrit people called it churna, a super fine powder that can be mixed with water, ghee, or honey. While it's named for its horsey smell, they also believed it would give them horse-like strength.
This powerful herbal supplement has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for stress reduction, improving cognitive function, and other health benefits. Its earliest use dates back to 6000 BC in India, where it was primarily used to relieve stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, and promote overall health.
Nowadays, as a supplement, it's most often extracted from the root and leaves into a powder, but it also comes in water- and oil-based extracts that are used as an adaptogen.
Like all supplements and medicine, the exact amount of time it takes to work will vary because everyone's body reacts differently.
We'll break down how fast it works for different results below, but the general rule of thumb is that it takes roughly four to eight weeks.
In a 2012 study on ashwagandha for stress and anxiety, one group of participants took 300 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum extract twice daily for sixty days, while the other group took a placebo. After sixty days, the ashwagandha group significantly reduced stress-assessment scores and serum cortisol levels1.
While this experiment did not measure other time intervals, it shows that ashwagandha can significantly help stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels in just two months. Others report feeling results much sooner, with one Reddit user in r/StackAdvice report feeling the effects "pretty quickly, maybe within an hour or two of taking it, if not sooner." (source)
So it seems effects will vary depending on the person and the severity of their anxiety, but it should help within sixty days.
Low testosterone is a significant health issue both men and women face with old age, and ashwagandha has emerged as a promising solution.
One 2019 American Journal of Men's Health study sought how ashwagandha affects testosterone in overweight men aged 40-70. They found that participants taking 21 mg daily of ashwagandha had a 14.7% increase in testosterone after just eight weeks2. Considering men over 30 lose about 1% of testosterone every year, that is a remarkable increase for just eight weeks.
However, when it comes to ashwagandha and testosterone, as one Reddit user states: "It’s completely dependent on the individual. For some people, it helps them sleep better which will indirectly aid in boosting testosterone. Some people notice no effects, and I’ve heard some people have noticed negative side effects. IMO developing a winding down ritual to tell your body it’s time for bed will be a much better option than relying on a supplement" (source).
For those interested in taking ashwagandha to increase their testosterone, a great option is to take a testosterone booster, which contains vitamins, minerals, and herbs proven to boost T. Check out our article on the 7 Best Testosterone Boosters to learn about some great options.
My personal favorite T booster, TestoPrime, includes ashwagandha in its ingredients list, in addition to multiple other natural, testosterone-boosting ingredients.
Ready to learn about more herbs that can help increase your T levels? Check out our article on the 6 Best Herbs To Boost Testosterone!
Weight loss is highly dependent on a balanced diet and exercise, but ashwagandha is a popular choice for burning fat. It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, which can help you lose weight.
One study tested the weight loss effects of ashwagandha, taking an array of measurements after four and eight weeks. The group that took 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily had significant reductions in all body weight measurements compared to the placebo group.
After just four weeks, body weight dropped by an average of 2.14% compared to 3.03% after eight weeks. Body mass index (BMI) dropped by 2.08% after four weeks and 2.93% after eight weeks3. This shows that weight loss can be achieved after just four weeks and will continue to increase with time.
One of the benefits of ashwagandha for men is its ability to improve fertility and sperm activity.
One study measured the effect of ashwagandha on male fertility and sexual dysfunction in men with low sperm counts. They gave half the participants 675 mg of full-spectrum ashwagandha daily, divided into three doses, for 90 days and the rest a placebo.
After 90 days, there was an astounding 167% increase in sperm count, a 53% increase in semen volume, and a 57% increase in sperm motility4. These numbers are extremely impressive, showing a clear effect in just twelve weeks.
Of all the potential ashwagandha benefits, improvements in sleep quality typically take the longest to notice.
One study examined the effect of ashwagandha on anxiety and sleep quality, assessing several factors, including sleep onset latency, sleep quality, sleep efficiency, and total time in bed. They found that participants taking 300 mg of full-spectrum ashwagandha extract daily had significant improvements in all sleep parameters after ten weeks.
The effects were gradual, beginning after two weeks and slowly improving until the conclusion at ten weeks5.
One of the earliest uses of ashwagandha was as an aphrodisiac and to improve sexual health.
A study used men with low sexual desire to see how 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract could affect libido. They used an interview and questionnaire to measure sexual desire, while testosterone was directly measured. Both serum testosterone levels and libido significantly increased after eight weeks of ashwagandha6.
According to this study, libido increases significantly after eight weeks, but you should see a noticeable difference after four weeks.
No, ashwagandha does not work immediately. Anyone who would counter this and say they feel it immediately is likely experiencing the placebo effect.
It can be difficult to determine if it's "working," depending on what you're looking for. For example, when you drink coffee for the first time, you can feel the caffeine kick in.
Unfortunately, there is no instant gratification feeling with ashwagandha, but there will be gradual improvements in your daily life, from sleep quality to energy levels.
Some of the factors that influence how long it will take to feel ashwagandha include:
In addition to the human factors, results also depend on the type and quality of the ashwagandha supplement. So let's talk about some of your best options to get quick results. You can find all of our favorites in our article: 7 Best Ashwagandha Supplements.
For those who don't want to leave this article to see that list (I get it! You've still got more great info to learn about with this one), here are my favorite ashwagandha supplements:
Looking for more details about these products? Here's some information on a few of my favorite picks.
KSM-66 is the best quality, highest concentration, and most bioavailable full-spectrum ashwagandha. It also has a guaranteed minimum of 5% Withanolides.
To top it off, KSM-66 has the most research studies, clinical trials, and certifications. The best KSM-66 product on the market is DailyNutra Ashwagandha. Each serving contains 600 mg of ashwagandha powder.
Since KSM-66 is the most bioavailable full-spectrum ashwagandha, we can infer it works faster than other products. Depending on your goals, KSM-66 may be the best option if you are looking for a product that produces fast results.
While KSM-66 is a specific type of full-spectrum root extract, regular full-spectrum root extract is just below it. Full-spectrum root extract is highly concentrated and provides several benefits at lower doses.
The best full-spectrum root extract that doesn't contain KSM-66 is Nootropics Depot Shoden Ashwagandha. This product contains an industry-leading 35% Withanolides and is highly bioavailable, so you will likely feel it faster than most products. The extreme potency is why they are only 120 mg per serving, which can appear deceivingly low compared to other products.
Ashwagandha root powder is the most basic and simple form, made from the root and ground into powder. A general rule is that the body absorbs powders much slower than extracts. You also need to take a much higher dose of powder because it is much less potent than extract.
The best ashwagandha root powder on the market today is BulkSupplements Ashwagandha. You will immediately notice a much larger root powder dosage, which makes sense since it's less potent. Each serving contains two grams of high-quality, organic ashwagandha root powder.
The time of day you take ashwagandha depends on your reasoning. For example, people seeking to relieve stress and relax may prefer to take it at night to help them sleep, others may add it to their pre-workout stack.
Most supplements recommend taking two doses a day to promote equilibrium. Some people have reported upset stomachs or discomfort if they take it without eating, but this is a personal preference. The most important thing is to stay consistent and take the doses at the same time daily.
If you want to read more in-depth on this, check out our article: When To Take Ashwagandha: Morning Or Night?
How much ashwagandha you should take will vary depending on your goals and the type you take. Different types of ashwagandha have different potencies, so people who use full-spectrum or ashwagandha root extract typically take between 500 and 1,500 mg daily.
Ashwagandha root powder is less potent, so doses can range from 1,000 to 6,000 mg. You also should note the percentage of withanolides, as this determines the quality. Ideally, you should take at least six mg of withanolides, with most studies using between 10 and 30 mg.
Like many supplements, ashwagandha supplementation should not be year-round, as the body can't process it for extended periods.
Most people will take ashwagandha for six to ten weeks, with twelve weeks being the maximum length you can safely take it without side effects. The consensus is that you should take at least two to four weeks off every eight weeks.
Several ashwagandha benefits for men make it appealing, especially related to the reproductive system.
People may think these products are only for men, but there are also a whole host of ashwagandha benefits for women.
If you take ashwagandha properly, you most likely won't experience any side effects. Your chances of experiencing side effects increase drastically with extended use beyond 12 weeks or excessively high doses.
Possible side effects include upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In very rare cases, it can lower blood pressure or cause liver damage.
The following people should also avoid taking ashwagandha entirely:
As always, speak with a healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha supplements.
Let's answer some of the more popular questions surrounding ashwagandha supplements below.
Nothing, you most likely won't feel anything for at least a few weeks. It takes time to enter the body and take effect.
It is highly unlikely to feel ashwagandha the first day, but some people report they do, especially with stress levels. The placebo effect most likely causes this.
Studies have shown it can significantly reduce stress and lower anxiety levels after eight weeks or less. Many people believe it works much quicker, with some Reddit users reporting relief in a few days. It will likely take at least two to four weeks to notice results.
Increasing testosterone will take at least four weeks, with the best results around eight weeks.
This will heavily depend on diet and exercise routine, but it takes about four weeks to have noticeable weight loss. For best results, pair your supplementation with this meal plan for weight loss.
It can significantly improve fertility after eight weeks but will start improving after roughly four weeks.
It takes about two weeks to see an improvement in sleep quality, but it will slowly improve the longer you take it, peaking around ten weeks.
Yes, ashwagandha increases testosterone and improves libido, so it can definitely make you more horny. These effects will likely take around four weeks to notice.
Ashwagandha is made up of fat-soluble compounds and water-soluble compounds. The water-soluble compounds leave the body in two to three days, while the fat-soluble compounds take roughly one month.
We live in a world of instant gratification, but those dedicated to fitness know it's a marathon, not a sprint.
Ashwagandha has a wide range of health benefits that can improve your overall quality of life, from reducing stress to improving sleep quality. The benefits can usually be felt after four weeks and will continue to slowly improve until you stop taking it, which should be twelve weeks maximum.
With all the research backing it, we'd be surprised if you didn't want to try this wonder herb!
Interested in taking ashwagandha? Check out our article on the 7 Best Ashwagandha Supplements. And if you're taking it for its testosterone-boosting effects, take a look at these 7 Best Testosterone Boosters, several of which include ashwagandha as one of their key ingredients.
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