Ashwagandha Benefits: How The Herb Helps Reduce Stress

May 05, 2021 Stress

Ashwagandha Benefits

Quick Health Scoop

  • The ashwagandha plant is native to India, northern Africa, and the Middle East, its roots and leaves are used in extracts and powder. 
  • Used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha root has long been studied for stress relief
  • While generally safe for most people, Ashwagandha should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing
  • When choosing an Ashwagandha supplement, look for standardized herb preparations to ensure consistency and potency of the active ingredient.

If you’re dealing with stress (and who isn’t these days), you may have heard that Ashwagandha is good for stress relief and mental health support. Long revered in Ayurvedic medicine, this small plant grows in India, the Middle East, and northern Africa. Ashwagandha – also known as Withania somnifera - has been used for centuries for its adaptogenic properties to help your body adapt to stress. An adaptogen is a natural substance that helps the body with its stress response. While the whole plant is cultivated, the root and leaf are used in extracts and powders.

Ashwagandha Health Benefits

Traditionally, Ashwagandha has a long history as an Ayurvedic alternative medicine with health benefits  as an adaptogen to help your body adapt to stressors that you may encounter day to day. Clinical studies have shown that Ashwagandha reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels in the blood, a hormone produced during times of stress.1,2 These studies used concentrated standardized Ashwagandha extract. Using a standardized herb ensures consistency and potency of the active compound (in the case of Ashwagandha, the withanolide glycosides).   

How Much Ashwagandha Should I Take Per Day?

Generally, it’s safe to use the Ashwagandha powder or root in food and tea. However, the root has an unpleasant smell and a bitter, astringent taste, so you might want to pair it with  something naturally sweet.

If you prefer to take an Ashwagandha supplement, make sure you choose a standardized extract (should be provided on the Supplement Facts label) to ensure consistency and potency of the active compounds of the herb. Our Nature Made® Ashwagandha supplements all use concentrated, standardized extracts. Nature Made® Ashwagandha gummies use clinically studied KSM-66 Ashwagandha to reduce stress, and Nature Made® Ashwagandha capsules use clinically studied Sensoril® Ashwagandha to reduce stress and occasional anxiety. † If you are wondering how much Ashwagandha you should take per day, we recommend following the Suggested Use on the label. Our Nature Made Ashwagandha supplements, such as our Nature Made Ashwagandha capsules*, Nature Made Calm & Relax*, and Nature Made Calm Mind & Body**, are all formulated with clinically proven Ashwagandha* at the clinically studied amount.

The Bottom Line

Ashwagandha root is a traditional herb long revered in Ayurvedic medicine as an herb supporting stress resilience. It is recognized today through clinical studies for its ability to help reduce stress.

The roots and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant can be used in extracts and powders, and it is also available as a supplement. Talk with your doctor before taking a supplement to see if it’s right for your needs. And if you’re pregnant, you should not take Ashwagandha.

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.

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This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.

* SENSORIL® Ashwagandha is clinically proven to help reduce stress ‡†

**KSM-66® Ashwagandha is clinically proven to reduce stress, and is standardized to ensure consistency and potency

‡ Sensoril® is clinically proven to reduce cortisol and perceived stress.† Sensoril® is protected under U.S. Patent No. 7,318,938 and CA Patent No. 2,508,478, and is a registered trademark of Natreon, Inc.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. Pingali U, Pilli R, Fatima N. Effect of Withania somnifera on mental stress induced changes in hemodynamic properties and arterial wave reflections in healthy subjects. Current topics in nutraceutical research. 2013; 11:4, 151-158
  2. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. “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 ... in adults.” July 2012. Accessed on: March 30, 2021.
  3. The Department Of Defense Dietary Supplement Resource. “What is ashwagandha in dietary supplements used for?” January 16, 2020. Accessed on: March 30, 2021.


Lisa Beach

NatureMade Contributor

Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at

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Sandra Zagorin, MS, RD

Science and Health Educator

As a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Sandra educates healthcare professionals and consumers on nutrition, supplements, and related health concerns. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Sandra worked as a clinical dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sandra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, with minors in Spanish and Chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from RUSH University in Chicago, IL. As part of her Master’s program, Sandra performed research on physical activity participation and correlates in urban Hispanic women.

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