Ashwagandha: Health Benefits, Dosage and Side Effects

Updated on & Medically Reviewed by Dr Lalitha

Several clinical studies have shown improvement in stress and anxiety scores after supplementation with Ashwagandha(1).

Some studies have shown that Ashwagandha supplementation improves muscle strength, improves semen quality, and raises testosterone levels in men(2-4).

The long-term safety of Ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of Ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.

It is always better to consult your healthcare provider before starting any regimen.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known by its botanical name Withania somnifera, is a small woody plant with yellow flowers native to India and North Africa.

It is classified as an adaptogen, as it is believed to help your body manage stress better.

The plant – particularly its root – has been used for over 3,000 years as a natural Ayurvedic remedy against various ailments.

Modern science also links it to health benefits, such as reduced stress and anxiety and improved blood sugar levels, mood and memory(5).

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Reduce Stress and Anxiety(7,8)
  • Boost Fertility and Sexual health(3,4,12,13)
  • Lower Blood Sugar Levels(9-11)
  • Support Muscle Growth and Strength(3,9,14)
  • Lower Inflammation and Helps Fight Infections(15)
  • Boost Memory(16,17)
  • General wellbeing and sleep in elderly(6)

Ashwagandha Capsules

Shilajit and Ashwagandha Tablets for Men

In What Forms Ashwagandha is Available?

Ashwagandha is a plant whose roots, leaves, and berries can be ground and made available as a powder, tea, or essential oil. Some applications, particularly to assist in pain control, involve mashing Ashwagandha root with water to turn it into a paste and applying it topically. Formulations of Ashwagandha are available over the counter, however, dosage may vary depending on the method of use/ingestion(18).

How Does ForMen Offer Ashwagandha?

Perform Max contains Ashwagandha Root extract with >2.5% withanolides, clinically known to improve testosterone levels, enhance blood flow to the penial gland, and reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is considered safe for most people.

However, pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as people with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, may need to avoid it.

Ashwagandha may also interact with thyroid medicines, blood sugar medicines and blood pressure medications, in larger doses.

People taking these types of medication should consult with their doctor before supplementing with the medicinal herb(19).

Does Ashwagandha Interact with Other Drugs?

Moderate Interaction

  • Be cautious with this combination
    1. Immunosuppressants, Benzodiazepines, clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), CNS depressants interacts with Ashwagandha.

Minor Interaction

  • Be watchful with this combination
    1. Thyroid hormone interacts with Ashwagandha.(20)

Doses of Ashwagandha that have been studied

  • For Stress: Ashwagandha root extract 300 mg twice daily after food (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) or 240 mg daily (Shoden, Arjuna Natural Ltd.) for 60 days.
  • For Sleep: Ashwagandha root extract 250 mg once after food for 8 weeks.
  • For Insomnia and Anxiety: Ashwagandha root extract 300 mg, were given twice daily with milk or water for 10 weeks.
  • For Vitality Effects: 8-week intake of an Ashwagandha extract (Shoden beads, delivering 21 mg of withanolide glycosides)


  1. 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 Journal of Psychological Medicine. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.
  2. Lopresti AL, Drummond PD, Smith SJ. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males. Am J Mens Health. 2019 Apr;13(2):1557988319835985.
  3. Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Dec;12(1):43.
  4. Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, Rajender S, Shankhwar SN, Singh V, et al. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011;2011:1-9.
  6. Kelgane SB, Salve J, Sampara P, Debnath K. Efficacy and Tolerability of Ashwagandha Root Extract in the Elderly for Improvement of General Well-being and Sleep: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus. 2020 Feb 23;12(2):e7083.
  7. Andrade C, Aswath A, Chaturvedi SK, Srinivasa M, Raguram R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian J Psychiatry. 2000 Jul;42(3):295-301.
  8. Cooley K, Szczurko O, Perri D, Mills EJ, Bernhardt B, Zhou Q, et al. Naturopathic Care for Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial ISRCTN78958974. Gagnier J, editor. PLoS ONE. 2009 Aug 31;4(8):e6628.
  9. Raut A, Rege N, Shirolkar S, Pandey S, Tadvi F, Solanki P, et al. Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012;3(3):111.
  10. Agnihotri AP, Sontakke SD, Thawani VR, Saoji A, Goswami VSS. Effects of Withania somnifera in patients of schizophrenia: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled pilot trial study. Indian J Pharmacol. 2013 Aug;45(4):417-8.
  11. Andallu B, Radhika B. Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of winter cherry (Withania somnifera, Dunal) root. Indian J Exp Biol. 2000 Jun;38(6):607-9.
  12. Ahmad MK, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Islam N, Rajender S, Madhukar D, et al. Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertility and Sterility. 2010 Aug;94(3):989-96.
  13. Gupta A, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, Bansal N, Sankhwar P, et al. Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: A proton NMR study at 800MHz. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2013 Aug;149(1):208-14.
  14. Sandhu J, Shah B, Shenoy S, Padhi M, Chauhan S, Lavekar G. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(3):144.
  15. Ramakanth GSH, Uday Kumar C, Kishan PV, Usharani P. A randomized, double blind placebo controlled study of efficacy and tolerability of Withaina somnifera extracts in knee joint pain. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2016 Sep;7(3):151-7.
  16. Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Bose S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal ) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2017 Nov 2;14(6):599-612.
  17. Pingali U, Pilli R, Fatima N. Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants. Pharmacognosy Res. 2014 Jan;6(1):12-8.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a healthcare provider. 

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