The roots and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant (Withania somnifera) have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help support stress relief†
Nature Made® offers two clinically studied forms: KSM-66® Ashwagandha and Sensoril® Ashwagandha
The best time to take Ashwagandha depends on when you experience stress, the type of Ashwagandha you take, the dosing instructions of the product, and your health goals
Ashwagandha (sometimes called Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry) is a small shrub whose roots and leaves are used in extracts to help provide health benefits. Herbal preparations from Ashwagandha have a long history of traditional Ayurvedic medicine use as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to stressors. When taken orally, a standardized Ashwagandha extract helps restore balance to the adrenals by reducing perceived stress and cortisol levels. For this reason, you’ll want to consider taking Ashwagandha when you are experiencing stress or occasional anxiety. As always, you’ll want to first talk with your healthcare practitioner to determine if taking an Ashwagandha supplement will fit your needs.†
Seems straightforward to say that the best time to take Ashwagandha is when you experience stress. However, that’s not the only “when” you might be wondering about. Does the time of day matter? Morning or night? This answer is a little more complex, so let’s first learn about the different types of Ashwagandha and their benefits, as they vary slightly, and the Ashwagandha dosage might determine when you should take the supplement.
We already learned that Ashwagandha helps reduce cortisol and perceived stress but what else does it do?
Ashwagandha benefits are believed to come from its role as an adaptogen. Adaptogenic herbs help impact the body’s response to stressors over time. They do this by helping restore balance to many of the body’s processes, such as our stress response, and the release of hormones by the communication system between the brain and adrenal glands called the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. When we are stressed, our body activates a “fight or flight” response by releasing the “stress hormone” cortisol from our adrenal glands. Clinical studies show that Ashwagandha, when taken as a standardized extract, can help restore balance to the adrenals by reducing perceived stress and cortisol. Some Ashwagandha extracts reduce feelings of occasional anxiousness and some, when taken over time, work with your body to help support sleep quality.[2, 3]†
Not all Ashwagandha supplements are the same, however, as the benefits are determined by the type of extract used and the dosage.
The roots and leaves of Ashwagandha are typically used in extracts. The main bioactive compound of Ashwagandha is a group called withanolides, and these are what help deliver perceived health benefits. This herb is commercially available as Ashwagandha tablets, capsules, and powders. You can even find an Ashwagandha oil for topical use on skin and hair.
A generic Ashwagandha powder is usually made from ground roots, however, the level of withanolides per serving is low and inconsistent. To allow for potency and consistency, many supplements use either a standardized Ashwagandha root extract or standardized Ashwagandha root and leaf extract—both have concentrated levels of withanolides that are standardized to deliver a consistent level across servings and provide benefits.
Nature Made® uses two forms of standardized Ashwagandha extract:
KSM-66® Ashwagandha: a clinically studied Ashwagandha root extract that is standardized to 5% withanolides per serving. When used in dietary supplements, a dose of 300 mg per day helps reduce stress. Additionally, at this dosage, KSM-66® Ashwagandha works with your body over time to help support sleep quality. Nature Made® Ashwagandha gummies provide 300mg of KSM-66® Ashwagandha to help calm and reduce stress in two daily gummies.†
Sensoril® Ashwagandha: a clinically studied Ashwagandha root and leaf extract that is standardized to 10% withanolides per serving, making it more concentrated than other extracts. A dose of 125 mg per day reduces stress and occasional anxiety. Nature Made® offers a few supplements with Sensoril® Ashwagandha, including Nature Made® Ashwagandha capsules, Nature Made® Wellblends™ Calm & Relax™ capsules, Nature Made® Wellblends™ Calm Mind & Body capsules, and Nature Made® Multi + Ashwagandha capsules providing daily nutritional support plus stress relief.†
When to take Ashwagandha?
So, when should you take Ashwagandha? We already discussed when as far as times when you are experiencing stress. However, is there a time of day that is best? The answer is that it depends. Ashwagandha can be taken at any time of day that best fits your needs. But there are slight differences depending on the product.
As we mentioned earlier, KSM-66® Ashwagandha is clinically studied to help relieve stress, so it can be taken at any time of day that it's needed to help reduce your perceived stress level. However, KSM-66® Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen that works with your body over time to help support sleep quality. Therefore, you may want to take a supplement with KSM-66® Ashwagandha in the evening before you go to sleep.†
Sensoril® Ashwagandha can be taken at any time of day. Both Nature Made® Wellblends™ supplements that provide 125 mg of Sensoril® Ashwagandha per serving are non-drowsy, so you can take them in the morning or during the day to reduce stress. Additionally, since Nature Made® Multi + Ashwagandha is a multivitamin, you may want to take it in the morning as part of your daily routine.†
How to take Ashwagandha?
When it comes to taking Ashwagandha, it is best to follow the dosage instructions on the label. Dietary supplements might use different types of Ashwagandha extracts in their formulation, which results in different dosage amounts and different usage instructions.
A quick note about chronic stress. If you are experiencing chronic stress, meaning you experience stress that persists over a long period of time, then you should consult with your healthcare practitioner about your stress before you consider Ashwagandha supplementation or taking any other dietary supplements for stress.
The Bottom Line
Ashwagandha is a plant long revered in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen to help the body adapt to stressors. Whether taken in the morning or at night, Ashwagandha helps reduce stress.†
Thinking of taking Ashwagandha? Whether you prefer an Ashwagandha powder, Ashwagandha tablets or Ashwagandha capsules, you first need to discuss your needs with your healthcare practitioner to help determine the best Ashwagandha supplement for you.†
KSM-66® is a registered trademark of Ixoreal Biomed Inc.
Sensoril® 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.
.Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):188-224. Published 2010 Jan 19. doi:10.3390/ph3010188.
Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. 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. 2012;34(3):255-262. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
Auddy, Biswajit & Hazra, Jayram & Mitra, Achintya & Abedon, Bruce & Ghosal, Shibnath. (2008). A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of American Nutraceutical Association. 11. 50-56.
Amy has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a credentialed English teacher, though she left the classroom to write full time. She especially enjoys creating educational content about health, wellness, and nutrition. Her happy place is in the kitchen, and when not writing, you can find her trying out “kid-friendly recipes” and “healthy desserts for chocolate lovers” from her Pinterest board.
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.