Skip To Content
Our customers say   Excellent   Trustpilot



What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used for hundreds of years. Today, ashwagandha remains popular, driven by rising interest in herbal supplements worldwide. It’s taken in many forms, from powder to capsules to liquid extracts.

Ashwagandha’s supposed benefits make it attractive as a supplement, in sports nutrition, and in the health-focused beverage industry. The market is expected to grow to USD 1.15 billion in 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.1%. So, what is Ashwagandha, and what are its potential benefits? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at this fascinating herb to help you decide whether to incorporate it into your wellness routine.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera, is a botanical herb that’s also known as the winter cherry. The plant is commonly used in Indian Ayurveda as an adaptogen, which is a compound that helps the body defend against everyday stressors*.

Physical Characteristics

These are the physical characteristics of ashwagandha.

  • Appearance: The plant is a small shrub with a central stem that has branches that extend radially in a star pattern. Ashwagandha can grow up to about 35 to 75 cm or around 14 to 30 inches.
  • Leaves: Ashwagandha has pale green, roughly textured leaves that are elliptical and can reach up to 10 cm or 4 inches in length.
  • Flowers and Fruits: The plant also has flowers with greenish-yellow colors. It also has small, berry-shaped fruits that are orange-red when they’re ripe. Typically, the fruit is covered in a lantern-like calyx. Aside from that, it has tuberous roots that are shaped like a ginger or carrot.

Historical Background

The use of ashwagandha is rooted in the Ayurvedic tradition that’s practiced in India. Its history can be traced back to around 6000 BC, classified as a Rasayana or tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic, and stimulant. Usually, it’s used to support wellness in older people and sometimes with milk*.

Aside from being ingested, the paste is often crushed with water and then applied as a topical for recovery after physical activity*. Each of ashwagandha’s parts has its purpose, from the leaves, the flowers and the seeds. They all work together to support wellness.

How Ashwagandha Works in the Body

Ashwagandha’s main phytochemical constituents are withanolides, active ingredients extracted from its roots, stem, and leaves. Withaferin-A or Wi-A is one of the most studied.

Potential Benefits

There are many potential wellness benefits of ashwagandha!*

  • Studies have found that ashwagandha may support healthy sleep*.
  • Ashwagandha may also improve cognitive functions.* In a clinical trial of acute supplementation of ashwagandha, test subjects showed the potential for improvement in attention retention and increased short-term and working memory*.
  • Another possible benefit is improved testosterone levels*.  A study showed that there is potential for ashwagandha to help support males of various ages.
  • Ashwagandha may improve overall sperm quality.* The herb extract was found to improve sperm count, semen volume, and sperm motility in a study of male patients with low sperm count. Significant improvements in volume, number, concentration, and morphology were also observed in a study of healthy adult men aged 30 to 50 years old.

It’s important to note that there are still limited findings and further evidence-based studies in the areas are still needed to conclude for the general population.

Safety and Side Effects

Although the herb is deemed generally safe to consume, it may have a few side effects.

  • Some have reported experiencing upset stomach, drowsiness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • In very rare cases, some cases of ashwagandha supplement consumption are linked to liver injury.

Refrain from consuming ashwagandha if you’re:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding, because there’s not enough evidence that it’s safe to consume for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Have specific health conditions such as people who are also consuming medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, immunosuppressants, sedatives, anti-seizure, and thyroid hormones. This is because Ashwagandha could interact with how these medications work.
  • About to have surgery, because it has sedative effects that can influence how anesthesia might work on you.
  • Someone with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, because consuming ashwagandha could affect testosterone levels.

To avoid these side effects and safety issues, we recommend consulting with healthcare providers before use.

Dosage and Usage

The herb comes in many different forms, such as capsules, powders, or even drinkable beverages. Each form has its ashwagandha concentrations on its packaging. What’s important to look at is the amount of ashwagandha per serving of the packaging suggested as each product comes with its serving suggestions.

Most studies used between 240 to 1,250 mg/day of ashwagandha extract, but some used as high as 12,000 mg/day. For safety reasons, stick to lower concentrations and use it only for a shorter period. In general, go for around 600 mg per day or under for less than 3 months of daily use.


Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that can act as an adaptogen or a compound that helps the body deal with everyday stressors*. Some of its potential benefits are supporting everyday stress supporting sleep, and cognitive functions, and possibly improving male sperm quality and testosterone levels*.

On the other hand, it might cause side effects such as stomach discomfort, drowsiness, and liver injury in severe cases. Ashwagandha may also interact with certain medications and cause adverse reactions to certain conditions. Make sure to consult a healthcare professional before using ashwagandha and deciding whether or not the medicinal herb is right for you.

Ashwagandha FAQs

Is Ashwagandha safe for long-term use?

Most studies generally recommend the use of ashwagandha for up to 3 months, so it’s safe to assume you can take it for that amount of time. As of now, there is no findings on the effects of ashwagandha when it’s taken long-term. Your best course of action would be to contact a healthcare professional and seek their advice.

Does Ashwagandha interact with medications?

There’s a possibility that ashwagandha may interact with other medications. Some of the most well-known are medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, immunosuppressants, sedatives, anti-seizure, and thyroid hormone medications, so always get medical advice before including Ashwagandha in your life.

Can Ashwagandha support sleep?

Ashwagandha may be able to support healthy sleep*. But it’s important to note that the data is still limited, and the long-term use of the herb still needs to be examined.

Is Ashwagandha potentially beneficial for testosterone levels and male fertility?

The herb may be able to support testosterone levels, semen volume, sperm concentration, and mobility in a study on men with low sperm count. It’s also found to have increased sexual wellness in healthy men. One way it’s thought to have improved testosterone levels and male fertility is by potentially reducing everyday stress, a well-known factor that can adversely affect men’s sexual health*.

It is important to note that the benefits of these products have not been conclusively proven. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and the NHS has not made any guarantees about the efficacy of such products.