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Monograph Library

Ashwagandha Capsules

Ashwagandha is A classic adaptogenic herb, full-spectrum 12:1 extract with a minimum of 5% withanolides. Good for Testosterone Production and Stress/Anxiety.

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. With critical tonic and adaptogenic qualities, it also acts as an immune modulatory and anti-inflammatory 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 improves sexual performance in both men and women.[2],[3]

Pharmacology

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

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.

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]

Bowl of Ashwagandha Capsules on a table

Ashwagandha as Aphrodisiac and for Sexual Function/Fertility

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 Fertility and Sterilityin 2009 concludes that KSM-66 (i.e. a high-concentration proprietary ashwagandha extract made without solvents and used by St. Francis) provides a better way of restoring sex hormones and fertility in men.[7] A more recent study, appearing in 2013, confirms this, finding 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 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, ashwagandha 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 human 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, since stress systemically elevates hormones like cortisol. This, in turn, leads to problems like 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 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, as demonstrated in cancer cell models. No human clinical trials have been conducted to confirm these findings.[15]

Ashwagandha and Aging

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.[16] Also, a 6-month pilot study completed in 2014 that used KSM-66 with 50 adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) showed significant improvements in memory and mental function.[17] 

Active Ingredients

A 12:1 concentration, each 300 mg vegicapsule contains the equivalent of 3600 mg (300x12) of dried Certified Organic ashwagandha (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

Note: 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. The approximate percentage of milk constituents is 0.5%.  We have had our ashwagandha extract sent out to a lab for testing and it was found to have allergens in the amount of 28 ppm, which is a level that typically provokes no severe reactions in the majority of allergic individuals.*

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

Dose

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

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.

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References

[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 Sterility2009 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 Medicine2013; 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 International2015 (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 Behavior2003 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 Medicines2011; 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 Medicine2012; 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 Nutrition2015 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] - M Rai et al, “Anticancer activities of Withania somnifera:Current research, formulations, and future perspectives,” Pharmaceutical Biology 2016; 564(2): 189-197.

[16] - V Raguraman and J R Subramaniam, “Withania somniferaRoot Extract Enhances Telomerase Activity in the Human HeLa Cell Line,” Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology2016; 7: 199-204.

[17] - D Choudhary et al, “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera(L) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions,” Journal of Dietary Supplements2017 Feb 21; 14(6): 599-612.

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