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Monograph Library


What is ashwagandha?

A plant that is native to the dry areas of India, the Middle East, and northern Africa, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. With critical tonic and adaptogenic qualities, it also acts as an immune modulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumour agent, not to mention that it is considered a mild sedative and anti-anaemic.1

Clinical trials show that it reduces the physiological effects of stress and improves stamina. In addition, it raises low testosterone, enhances fertility in men, and is a godsend for improving sexual performance in both men and women.2.3


The root is most commonly used and contains alkaloids, withanolides (steroidal lactones), choline, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Active Ingredients

A 12:1 concentration, each 300 mg vegicapsule contains the equivalent of 3600 mg (300x12) of dried Certified Organic ashwagandha vegicaps (Withania somnifera, root) standardized to contain at minimum 5% withanolides. Each bottle contains 60 vegicaps (non-GMO).

Our ashwagandha is sourced as KSM-66, a full spectrum extract that preserves the balance of the various constituents in the original herb. KSM-66 is made exclusively from the roots of the plant without leaf components and with only negligible levels of Withaferin A (<0.1%), a cytotoxic withanolide.

Non-Medicinal Ingredients: Hypromellose (vegicap), Milk products (Milk is used in pretreating the roots, as in ancient Ayurvedic practice, which helps to capture the lipophilic components of the root, giving our capsules a true full spectrum nature.)

Contains no: egg, wheat, soy, artificial preservatives, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners

Dose - Adults: Take 1 capsule 2 times daily on an empty stomach.

Health Canada Approved Use Claims

  • Helps promote healthy testosterone production in males. (2) Helps increase resistance to stress/anxiety in individuals with a history of chronic stress, thereby improving their overall quality of life. (3) Athletic support or workout/exercise supplement.

Cautions and Warnings

Consult a health care practitioner before use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consumption with alcohol, other drugs or health products with sedative properties is not recommended. Consult a health care practitioner if you have benign prostate hypertrophy and/or prostate cancer.

Quality Summary

Our products are all third party tested to ensure the absence of pesticides, microbes, and heavy metals and to confirm purity and stability.

Ashwagandha—an Ayurvedic Classic

Ashwagandha has a long and distinguished history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Dr. Michael Tierra calls ashwagandha “India’s wonder herb” and believes that as a tonic it compares favourably to ginseng and astragalus.4

Ashwagandha as Aphrodisiac and for Sexual Function/Fertility

Michael Tierra considers ashwagandha one of the most potent tonic aphrodisiacs in the entire botanical kingdom and a near specific for cases of male impotence.5 In a double blind clinical trial conducted on 101 healthy male adults (50-59 years old) given 3 grams of withania per day for one year, 71.4% of those treated with the herb reported improvement in sexual performance.6

A study published in 2009 in the journal, Fertility and Sterility, finds that ashwagandha increased testosterone production by 15% in infertile men with normal sperm. Meanwhile, men with a low sperm count experienced a testosterone increase of 40%, while those with slow moving sperm benefitted from a 21% increase in swim speed. The study concludes that ashwagandha provides a better and safer way of restoring sex hormones and fertility when it comes to male infertility treatment.7

A more recent study, appearing in 2013, found that infertile men taking KSM-66 capsules every day for a couple of months had their testosterone level rise by 17 percent and their sperm cell concentration increase by 167 percent.8

Yet another compelling clinical study shows that KSM-66 effectively mitigates a broad range of problems related to Female Sexual Dysfunction. The researchers assessed sexual function by way of two psychometric scales, namely, the Female Sexual Function Index Questionnaire and the Female Sexual Distress Scale. In the terms of the Female Sexual Function Index, for example, the total score (p < 0.001) and the scores for the areas of “arousal” (p < 0.001) , “lubrication” (p < 0.001) , “orgasm” (p < 0.004) , and “satisfaction” (p < 0.001) were all found to be significantly improved.9

Ashwagandha as an Adaptogen

Animal models show that chronic stress induces a host of health issues. In terms of promoting physical and mental health and protecting the body against disease, KSM-66 has significant anti-stress properties similar to those of adaptogens like Panax ginseng.10 Animal studies indicate that this herb increases the stamina of rats during endurance tests and prevents adrenal gland changes produced by swimming stress.11 A recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that examined 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress, using KSM-66, found that the treatment group exhibited a significant reduction (p < 0.0001) in scores on all the assessment scales relative to the placebo group.12 Yet another trial establishes that KSM-66 increases muscle mass and strength in healthy young men engaged in resistance training. It is speculated that this is attributable to ashwagandha’s tandem effects of increasing testosterone and decreasing levels of cortisol. As well, in this instance, ashwagandha’s role as an anti-anxiety agent may result in better muscle coordination.13 Stress has been linked to weight gain and obesity, inasmuch as it systemically elevates hormones like cortisol. This leads in turn to problems such as increased food intake, resulting in visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome, for example. A further trial suggests that KSM-66 can be used for body weight management in adults under chronic stress.14

Ashwagandha has demonstrable neuroprotective, sedative, antiepileptic, and antiaddictive properties.15,16 Studies in animal models suggest, for example, that this herb has ameliorative effects against Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.17,18 It is also a compelling alternative treatment for anxiety, which often accompanies stress. Alternatives to benzodiazepines and other prescription medications are drawing attention as a more benign option. A systematic review of five human clinical trials that tested ashwagandha as a treatment for anxiety and stress found an improvement in the symptoms of participants as compared to a variety of controls, including placebo and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Symptoms were measured by standard instruments like the Hamilton Anxiety Scale and the Global Rating Scale.19

Ashwagandha and Cancer

A recent comprehensive review of the literature establishes that ashwagandha has anticancer activity and suggests that its antitumor properties may be related its antioxidative and inflammation reducing effects.20 For example, an animal study conducted on rats injected with a mammary carcinogen showed a reduction of up to 23% in the number of tumors in the rats treated with ashwagandha root.21

Ashwagandha and Aging

As we age, our telomeres shorten and telomerase activity is low, leading to a wide range of age-associated diseases like cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease including Alzheimer’s.  An animal study conducted on mice, for example, found that enhanced telomerase activity can delay aging and confer cancer resistance.22 Ashwagandha in the form of KSM-66 has been demonstrated to increase telomerase activity and may mitigate some of the degenerative pathologies of aging with its revitalizing, anti-inflammatory, and stress-resistant effects.23

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Who is it for

Weakened individuals requiring a tonic for anxiety, nervousness, or insomnia. Men who need an increase in testosterone production.

How it helps

  • An adaptogen
  • A true aphrodisiac and testosterone booster
  • Increase strength & improves memory
  • May have potential for Alzheimer’s treatment, based on animal studies


  1. Kerry Bone and Simon Mills, “Withania somnifera,” Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine, Second Edition, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013, pp. 949-961.
  2. Kerry Bone and Simon Mills, Ibid.
  3. NJ Dar et al, “Pharmacologic overview of Withania somnifera, the Indian Ginseng,” Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS) 2015 December; 72(23): 4445-60.
  4. Michael Tierra, “Ashwagandha: Wonder Herb of India”, accessed online from: http://www.planetherbs.com/articles/ashwagandha.htm
  5. Tierra, op. cit.
  6. Kerry Bone, “Withania somnifera,” in Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner, pp. 137-141 (citing a study published in 1980).
  7. Fertility and Sterility 2009 June 5 (epub)
  8. VR Ambiye et al. “Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males,” Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013; 2013; 571420
  9. S Dongre et al, “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study,” Biomed Research International 2015 (Epub 2015 Oct 4).
  10. SK Bhattacharya and AV Muruganandam, “Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress,” Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 2003 June; 75(3): 547-55.
  11. N Singh et al, “An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda,” African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 208-13.
  12. K Chandrasekhar et al, “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; 34(3): 255-262.
  13. S Wankhede et al, “Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2015 November; 12:43.
  14. D Choudhary et al, “Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment with Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 April [Epub ahead of print]
  15. Bone and Mills, op.cit.
  16. S Durg et al, “Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in neurobehavioural disorders induced by brain oxidative stress in rodents: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2015 July; 67(7): 879-99.
  17. Tomoharu Kuboyama et al, “Effects of Ashwagandha (Roots of Withania somnifera) on Neurodegenerative Diseases,” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2014; 37(6): 892-7.
  18. N Pathak-Gandhi and AD Vaidya, “Management of Parkinson’s disease in Ayurveda: Medicinal plants and adjuvant measures,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2016 August [Epub ahead of print]
  19. MA Pratte et al, “An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2014 December; 20(12): 901-8.
  20. M Rai et al, “Anticancer activities of Withania somnifera: Current research, formulations, and future perspectives,” Pharmaceutical Biology 2016; 564(2): 189-197.
  21. Kamel F Khazal et al, “Effect of Extract of Withania somnifera Root on Estrogen Receptor-positive Mammary Carcinomas,” Anticancer Research 2013; 33: 1519-24.
  22. A Tomas-Loba et al, “Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Delays Aging in Cancer-Resistant Mice,” Cell 135: 609-622.
  23. V Raguraman and J R Subramaniam, “Withania somnifera Root Extract Enhances Telomerase Activity in the Human HeLa Cell Line,” Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology 2016; 7: 199-204.

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