Not all ashwagandha extracts and supplements are the same.
With so many on the market to choose from, it may seem impossible to know which one will offer you the most benefits and relief for your symptoms, and ultimately work best for you. Our comprehensive guide will explain what to look for.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) means “smell of horse” because of its earthy and musty smell, and is otherwise referred to as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or poison gooseberry is a shrub grown throughout India, Africa, and the Middle East.
Its leaves and roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine, as a relaxer and mood stabilizer. Noted for its adaptogenic properties, it can lower cortisol levels in your body, and help you fight stress.
What are the benefits of ashwagandha?
If you’re looking for a better night’s sleep, a boost in energy levels, a balanced mood, and better concentration and focus, ashwagandha may be the supplement you’ve been searching for. Its other benefits include: increasing fertility and testosterone in men, relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression, reducing inflammation and swelling, lowering blood pressure, enhancing creativity, and improving overall well-being.
How should I take ashwagandha?
You can take Ashwagandha orally or apply it topically to the skin. It comes in capsule, tablet, extract, powder, and tincture form. Whilst the medical community has not established a recommended dosage, on average, consumers take anywhere from 250-3000mg of ashwagandha daily, with the typical capsule, for example, containing 500 mg.
What should I look for in an ashwagandha supplement?
High concentration of (most) withanolides
The most active ingredient in ashwagandha is withanolides (steroidal lactones), which is a group of naturally occurring steroids. They indicate the potency of ashwagandha in a particular supplement.
There are over 40 withanolides in ashwagandha, and the combination you’ll get in a particular supplement depends on if the ashwagandha comes from the plant’s leaves, roots, or a combination of the two.
The two main types of withanolides to consider when purchasing an ashwagandha supplement include Withaferin A (where high concentrations are found mainly in the leaf extract) and Withanolide A (where high concentrations are found in the roots of the plant).
Both of these withanolides can interact with your body in many different ways. The bottom line is, when you’re researching the best ashwagandha supplement for your needs, it’s important to look for the purest, root-only extract. An ideal ashwagandha supplement with a high concentration of 5% potency/concentration of withanolides is ideal.
Made from the root, not the leaves
Not only are the roots the most traditionally revered part of the ashwagandha plant, but, more importantly, they contain the purest and most potent withanolides, compared to its leaves.
In other words, whilst the leaves are beneficial and are often used in teas, in addition to capsule supplements, supplements made from the plant’s roots alone contain the highest, purest concentration of ashwagandha and are, therefore, non-toxic.
Research-backed and tested
In addition to determining the potency of your ideal ashwagandha supplement, and if that supplement comes from the root-only, it’s also important to ensure it’s properly tested and backed by research. For example, the KSM-66 variety is the most thoroughly researched, and backed by 22 gold-standard clinical studies.
Properly grown and sourced
The purest, non-toxic form of ashwagandha comes from the roots of the Withania somnifera plant. This plant grows in the drier regions of India and throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Its seeds are planted in ~70-degree soil. It requires full sun, and its roots are ready to harvest anywhere from five to six months later once its flowers bloom and its leaves start to become dry.
Top ashwagandha supplements in 2021
KSM-66 contains the highest concentration of ashwagandha root extract on the market, at 5% withanolides, and is virtually non-toxic.
It’s a full-spectrum extract, sourced from the roots of the ashwagandha shrub (unlike other supplements that may also use the leaves). Its unique extraction process maintains the integrity and delicate balance of components inside the root.
Form: capsules, gummies, powder, tinctures, energy drinks, energy shots, and chocolate.
Dosage: The typical range is 200-600 mg daily, but the optimal dose contains 600 mg for maximum efficacy—as contained in a supplement like Earths Secret’s Calm complex.
Benefits: Improves memory, concentration, and focus. Lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression. Lowers blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels. Aids in endurance and faster recovery for athletes. Balances mood and improves overall well-being.
- Availability, price, & shipping: KSM-66 is widely available online and in health and wellness shops in the US, UK, Europe, and India. Depending on the mg dosage and location, etc. the average price varies widely for a 30-day supply.
Sensoril is sourced from both the leaves and roots of the Withania somnifera plant. It’s also backed by 12 clinical studies. Because the extract in Sensoril comes from both the leaves and roots of the plant, it is said to have up to 10% withanolides (which makes it a standardized extract).
It’s important to note, there will be a higher level of Withaferin A in this extract as compared to purer extracts that come from the roots alone.
Form: Capsules, food, beverages, and personal hygiene products.
Dosage: Often starts at a lower dosage (e.g., 125 mg). Some people take up to 500mg per day (sometimes 250 mg twice per day). You can take it in the morning or at night, with or without food.
Benefits: It may support joint health, boost energy levels, reduce stress, balance mood, increase focus, and support cardiovascular health.
- Availability, price, & shipping: You can purchase it online and in retail shops in the US, UK, Europe, and Asia. Price varies according to location and vendor, but Sensoril, on average, is a cheaper option because it isn’t as pure as other ashwagandha extracts. Many retailers ship Sensoril across the US, UK, and Europe, and some vendors offer worldwide delivery options as well.
Shoden is clinically tested and sourced from both the leaves and roots of the Withania somnifera plant, and it contains 35% withanolides glycosides. It also has high bioavailability, especially at lower doses, and is backed by eight clinical studies.
Form: Capsules (usually 120 mg to 240 mg) and powder form.
Dosage: It is one of the lowest doses of ashwagandha at 60 mg. Many people take anywhere from 60 mg to 240 mg capsules twice daily.
Benefits: May improve restorative sleep, may alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve focus, boost energy, and may even boost testosterone levels in men.
- Availability, price, & shipping: Shoden is available online and in retail shops in the US, UK, and Europe. Prices vary depending on the vendor and location of the product. For 30 capsules, the average price hovers around $25 USD.
Earths Secret’s Calm Complex
This all-natural, vegan-friendly, non-GMO, preservative-free supplement not only uses the purest ashwagandha extract––KSM-66––but it’s especially unique because it combines four other ingredients that may give you the ultimate calming effect.
Earths Secret’s Calm Complex includes KSM-66 along with Holy Basil Leaf, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Theanine, and Organic black pepper. Each of these ingredients may boast unique benefits. For example, Rhodiola Rosea is a powerful nootropic that may help boost your mood and increase your concentration.
Likewise, L-theanine can positively impact your creativity and help you feel calmer and clear-headed.
Dosage: Take one to two capsules daily for optimum relief. Please note: Take this supplement either 30 minutes before or after you consume caffeine as this can inhibit absorption.
Benefits: This complex may leave you feeling well-rested and more focused and able to concentrate. It also will help you feel more relaxed, and it may help balance your mood and your overall well-being.
- Availability, price, & shipping: Calm is currently available online, directly from Earths Secret. For 60 capsules (i.e., or a one to two months supply), the cost is £50 for a one-time purchase (less than half the price of a cup of daily coffee for a month), or, if you subscribe, you can save 10%. This supplement comes with free shipping in the UK, Ireland, and throughout Europe. If you don’t feel “a real difference,” you can return the bottle, even if it’s empty, and Earths Secret will give you a full refund.
Harness the power of ashwagandha with Calm
Choosing the right ashwagandha supplement out of hundreds that seem similar in their ingredients and promises, may feel exhausting and overwhelming. And the last thing you need is more stress in your life.
Earths Secret’s Calm Complex combines KSM-66 Ashwagandha, along with four other beneficial ingredients: Holy Basil Leaf, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Theanine, and Black Pepper to help you feel rested and less anxious.
Its all-natural, non-GMO, and vegan-friendly formula may boost your energy levels, fight fatigue, and leave you calmer, focused, and more balanced than before.
When a healthy diet, exercise, and regular sleep aren’t enough, a supplement like ashwagandha can give you the extra boost you need because you deserve to feel rested and calm in the face of life’s battles.