You might have heard about some of the hype around ashwagandha. With over 470 million views on TikTok, this supplement has seen a steep rise in popularity. But how long does ashwagandha take to work? When can you expect to feel any benefits? Read on to find out.
How long does ashwagandha take to work?
How long a supplement takes to ‘work’ will differ for everyone. Generally, when studies observe an effect over a longer period of time, they are looking for what’s known as a ‘chronic’ effect rather than an ‘acute’ effect.
In this case, good things come to those who wait. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that it’s unlikely your ashwagandha supplement will have an effect straight away. Studies looking at the effects of ashwagandha typically measure over longer periods of time, ranging from six to ten weeks.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha comes from a traditional herb known as Indian ginseng (or winter cherry). Less easy to pronounce is the Latin name, Withania somnifera. The supplement is often taken as Ashwagandha capsules, and people support their diet with this for a number of different reasons. Check out our full blog post on what ashwagandha is here.
Benefits of ashwagandha
While the research still has a long way to go, there are benefits we can talk about. Ashwagandha is commonly referred to as an adaptogen. In herbal medicine, this refers to a natural substance that improves the body’s response to stress and helps it adapt by normalising physiological processes.
Ashwagandha is currently being studied for its effects on stress and anxiety. So far, some research suggests that ashwagandha could help support relaxation, mental and physical wellbeing, and cognition. It may also contribute to emotional balance and improved mood
How long does ashwagandha take to work for testosterone?
Ashwagandha is often taken in the hope of increasing serum testosterone in males. Studies looking at ashwagandha and testosterone range from eight to sixteen weeks in duration. However,, not all of them showed significant improvements in serum testosterone concentration compared to people who took a placebo (1). As a result, we are unable to advise how long you should supplement for if this is your goal.
How long does ashwagandha take to work for anxiety and sleep?
As mentioned earlier, ashwagandha has been being studied widely for its effects on stress and anxiety. Let’s take a look at some results.
In one study looking at ashwagandha and anxiety relief, participants took the supplement for eight and a half weeks and reported a significant reduction in anxiety compared to participants who took a placebo pill (2).
A review of the evidence included studies where participants supplemented for between six and 12 weeks.The majority of these participants showed improvements related to stress, anxiety or depression (3). So, it looks like long-term supplementation is the way to go.
When it comes to sleep, a meta-analysis review found that significant effects of ashwagandha on sleep were more prominent when the supplement was taken for more than eight weeks. It’s also important to note that this was in a group of adults with insomnia, and they were on quite high doses of more than 600mg per day (4).
Summary: How long does ashwagandha take to work?
So to summarise, don’t expect to see instant results with ashwagandha supplements. You should try to stick to them for at least 30 days (ideally longer if possible). Only then should you decide if they’re working for you.
Like most supplements, individual responses vary, and it might take you longer than someone else to feel its full effects. You’re likely to see the most benefit with long-term supplementation.