Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic medicine staple that balances the mind, body, and spirit. The potent flowering shrub is antioxidant-rich and supports sleep, immune function, brain health, and mood.
While you may know it as a powerful adaptogenic supplement, you may still be wondering how long does Ashwagandha take to work?
If you’re considering taking Ashwagandha for the first time or have just started supplementing with it, you have come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss the timing it takes for this mighty herbal remedy to kick in.
How Quickly Does Ashwagandha Work?
How quickly Ashwagandha works depends on why you’re using it.
Ultimately, though, like any supplement, Ashwagandha takes time to regulate the body. You can usually expect to see general results within a few weeks.
Here’s what the research says about the typical onset of results from Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogenic herb that works on the adrenal and thyroid systems, helping to control the effects of chronic stress. Over time, chronic stress can cause elevated cortisol levels, impacting sleep quality.
Ashwagandha helps regulate cortisol excretion and balance energy levels, making it easier to get proper shut-eye.
According to one 2020 placebo-controlled study, Ashwagandha supplementation helped participant sleep efficiency, sleep time, and wake-after-sleep onset scores (meaning how often people woke up after getting to sleep initially). They also saw improvements in their quality of life scores. The study participants included 150 healthy adults with reported sleep issues.
Over the course of 6 weeks, participants took 120 milligrams (mg) of Ashwagandha extract daily. At the end of the 6-week period, 72% reported an increase in perceived sleep quality compared to 29% in the placebo group.
Another study from 2021 involving 40 healthy participants and 40 participants with insomnia studied the effects of Ashwagandha root extract over 8 weeks. Both the healthy participants and participants with insomnia saw improvements in their sleep quality. However, the insomnia group saw more significant results.
While research suggests it can take up to 2 months to see a change in sleep when taking Ashwagandha, some participants saw results sooner.
For Fertility + Sexual Function
A 2013 pilot study involving 46 male participants with low sperm counts received treatment with a full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract at 675 mg daily for 90 days. At the end of the study, researchers noted a 167% increase in sperm count, a 53% increase in semen volume, and a 57% increase in sperm mobility compared to baseline. Those in the placebo group saw minimal improvements.
Some research also points to Ashwagandha's benefits for female sexual function. According to one 2022 study, female participants taking 300 mg of Ashwagandha supplements twice a day for 8 weeks saw significant improvements in desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction in female participants with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
This suggests that it can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks to see changes in sexual function when taking Ashwagandha.
For Hair Health
Research suggests that Ashwagandha may help encourage hair growth in men and women diagnosed with alopecia.
The effects of Ashwagandha on hair growth may take a little longer than for other uses. Most research on Ashwagandha for hair growth involves study periods of at least 12 weeks.
According to one 6-month long study involving a diverse set of participants with self-perceived hair thinning, taking a supplement containing Ashwagandha led to noticeable results at 12 and 24 weeks, including improvements in hair volume, appearance, thickness, and shedding.
For Thyroid Health
Your thyroid is essential for keeping bodily functions in balance. Unbalanced thyroid hormone levels can lead to problems like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
One 2018 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 50 adults between 18 and 50 with elevated TSH levels looked at the effects of Ashwagandha on thyroid hormone levels.
Researchers found that an 8-week treatment period of 600 mg daily improved thyroid hormone levels significantly compared to a placebo control group.
Because taking Ashwagandha can affect thyroid hormone levels, it’s important to speak with a doctor before supplementing, especially if you already take thyroid medication.
For Muscle Strength
One of the lesser known benefits of Ashwagandha is its impact on muscle mass and strength. As any gym-goer knows, increasing muscle strength takes time. However, studies are showing that taking Ashwagandha might help speed up the process.
Additional research involving 57 men between 18 and 50 with limited resistance training experience found that those who took 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract twice a day for 8 weeks and did resistance training saw significant gains in muscle strength compared to those only doing strength training work.
Ever wondered about the relationship between Ashwagandha and stress? Research on Ashwagandha suggests that this Ayurvedic medicine typically takes about 2 to 3 months to help alleviate symptoms of stress.
In one 2012 study, 64 participants with chronic stress took 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract for 60 days. At day 60, researchers noted significant reductions in cortisol serum levels compared to those in the placebo group.
Effects in another study were measured slightly later — at 90 days. The healthy adult participants between the ages of 20 and 55 saw improvements in memory, focus, mental well-being, stress levels, and sleep quality at the end of the study period.
A reminder that with this study and most others, it’s possible that Ashwagandha produced effects earlier. And effect onset may vary from person to person. If you are looking to help balance your stress levels, consider adding a stress management supplement into your daily routine.
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How Do I Know if Ashwagandha is Working?
Because Ashwagandha works slowly, it can be tough to pinpoint whether it has started to kick in.
Taking notes in a journal about how you feel may help keep track of your changes over time. Start each morning by noting both your physical and mental state, which will help you notice any changes or progress throughout the duration of your supplementation.
Consistency is key. Take an organic Ashwagandha supplement daily to see results. Our organic, powder-form of Ashwagandha root powder extract is a 15:1 full-spectrum extract. It pairs well with baked goods, chocolate, coffee, and maple. Use ¼ to ½ teaspoon every day. The best time to take Ashwagandha will depend on what you’re taking it for.
If you are looking to support your physical and mental health with a natural herbal remedy, Ashwagandha is a powerful ingredient to help you get started. By adding a daily Ashwagandha supplement into your daily regimen, you'll be able to support your health from the inside out and help your body find a state of homeostasis for optimal health and wellness.
- Ajgaonkar A, et al. (2022). Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract for improvement of sexual health in healthy women: A prospective, randomized placebo-controlled study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9701317/
- Ambiye VR, et al. (2013). Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of the root extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in oligospermic males: A pilot study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3863556/
- Chandrasekhar K, et al. (2012). 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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/
- Gopukumar K, et al. (2021). Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha root extract on cognitive functions in healthy, stressed adults: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34858513/
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- Ring C, et al. (2022). Nutraceuticals for androgenetic alopecia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8944288/
- Sengupta P, et al. (2017). Role of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in the management of male infertility. https://www.rbmojournal.com/article/S1472-6483(17)30625-9/fulltext
- Sharma AK, et al. (2018). Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha root extract in subclinical hypothyroid patients: A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2017.0183
- Stephens TJ, et al. (2022). A prospective six-month single-blind study evaluating changes in hair growth and quality using a nutraceutical supplement in men and women of diverse ethnicities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8903234/
- Wankhede S, et al. (2015). Examining the effects of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: A randomized controlled trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26609282