The Best Ashwagandha Supplements, According to Health Experts

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Ashwagandha is touted to reduce stress and anxiety, boost focus, and improve sleep. Here are our favorite options.

<p>Courtesy of Brand</p>

Courtesy of Brand

Stress is at an all-time high among all adult age groups, according to the 2023 report Stress in America from the American Psychological Association. In fact, 36% of those surveyed say they don’t know where to start when it comes to managing their stress—meaning feeling stressed is also adding to our stress load—and this is taking a toll on health. Stress can negatively impact your digestion, increase inflammation in your body and potentially lead to weight gain.

“Nine out of 10 people who go to a health practitioner have symptoms of which stress is an underlying cause,” says Keri Marshall, MS, ND. At the same time, she points out that doctors don’t have much in their toolbox for helping patients manage stress in terms of pharmaceuticals or conventional therapies. This is why she and many other health professionals have started incorporating supplements such as ashwagandha into treatment plans.

Marshall says that subjects taking ashwagandha in clinical trials have improved depression, anxiety and stress scores and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Because withanolides (the active ingredient in ashwagandha) also support the body’s circadian rhythms, many also find it helpful for sleep. A 2021 review that compiled results from several studies found that taking ashwagandha for six to eight weeks was associated with significantly lower stress, anxiety, fatigue and levels of cortisol. Later studies also reported improvements in sleep quality, mental clarity and focus and a greater sense of calm that left them feeling as if their stress was more manageable.

If stress is a concern for you (welcome to the club), you may want to consider giving this adaptogen a try. Here are our top ashwagandha supplement recommendations.

Our Ashwagandha Supplement Recommendations

What is ashwagandha and how does it work?

Ashwagandha is a type of botanical known as an adaptogen. These are plants containing compounds that help the body adapt to better cope with the effects of stress. While all adaptogens help the body handle stress, Marshall says ashwagandha is unique in that it supports the nervous, endocrine and immune systems—the areas that take the biggest initial hit during periods of prolonged or recurring stress. The active compounds in ashwagandha (known as withanolides) help to counter these effects by regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, supporting the endocrine system and strengthening the immune system which, in turn, increases the body’s ability to manage stress.

Related: EatingWell’s Supplement Philosophy & Methodology

Best Overall: Bold Botanica Ashwagandha Plus



What we like: This is a full-spectrum supplement (meaning it contains root and leaf extracts), and the daily dosage is just one capsule.

What to know: It contains small amounts of the adaptogens holy basil and amla to enhance ashwanganda’s benefits, which may be a drawback for folks who prefer to take ashwagandha on its own.

Marshall’s top overall pick for ashwagandha supplements are these Bold Botanica capsules because they’re “full-spectrum,” meaning they contain all of the medicinal components of the plant. “It’s one of the few that contains both root and leaf extracts,” she says, explaining that most supplements only contain extracts from the root. Marshall also likes the simplicity and convenience of just taking one capsule per day; most others call for two or more doses.

This supplement contains small amounts of two other adaptogens, holy basil (to support the nervous system, memory and mood) and amla (also purported to enhance memory and promote longevity). This combination, per the company’s website, gives its ashwagandha “triple adaptogenic action.” While many may find this a plus, others wanting an option that contains only ashwagandha may prefer one of our other recommendations.

Price: $27 for 30 capsules (30 daily doses) | Form: Capsule |  Dosage frequency: 1 capsule per day | Third-party tested: Yes

Best Softgel: Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root Liquid Phyto Capsules



What we like: This formula provides an easy-to-swallow way to get your daily dosage.

What to know: Daily dosage is two softgels.

Compounds are always absorbed more quickly by the body in liquid form than dried, according to Marshall, but liquid tinctures or extracts aren’t always convenient. This is where softgels like these can be a great alternative. Compared to liquid forms that rely on droppers, these liquid-containing softgels provide precise dosage amounts. Since they can be swallowed, they may have a greater appeal than formulas that require you to dispense liquid on your tongue or mix it with water.

As a past medical director for Gaia Herbs, Marshall is also partial to the quality of the ashwagandha that the brand grows and uses in its products, as well as Gaia Herbs’ commitment to quality testing.

Price: $26 for 60 softgels (30 daily doses) | Form: Softgels |  Dosage frequency: 2 softgels per day | Third-party tested: Yes

Best Liquid: Herb Pharm Certified Organic Ashwagandha Extract



What we like: This higher-potency liquid form might be more palatable than a capsule or softgel form for folks who have difficulty swallowing pills.

What to know: Daily dosage is two to three droppers that need to be shaken well before ingesting; not everyone will be a fan of this liquid’s flavor.

If you’re not big on swallowing softgels or capsules, this Herb Pharma product is a great choice recommended by both Marshall and Abrar Al-Shaer, Ph.D., RD, a registered dietitian who specializes in integrative nutrition for women. According to Al-Shaer, liquid tinctures are how herbalists used botanicals for years prior to the invention of softgel and dried capsule forms and are made by combining plant extracts in a solution of alcohol and water. Liquid forms tend to have a higher potency and may be less processed compared to other forms.

To take the product, a dropperful can be placed on the tongue and swallowed or mixed with a small amount of water to drink. The taste is described as being slightly earthy and bitter.

Price: $50 for 4 fl. oz. (84 daily doses) | Form: Liquid drops | Dosage frequency: 1 dropperful per day | Third-party tested: Yes

Best Gummies: Gaia Herbs Organic Ashwagandha Gummies



What we like: This supplement’s gummy form is a chewable way to get your daily dosage of ashwagandha.

What to know: Daily dosage is three gummies, which contain 25 calories and 4 grams of added sugars.

If you prefer gummies, this is a palatable option for folks who dislike the idea of a liquid concentrate or who may have trouble swallowing pills. The gummies contain a small amount of cinnamon and ginger, giving them a slight “spicy” flavor may be slightly off-putting for those expecting a super-sweet citrus or berry chew.

Gummies are the newest form of supplements, so less is known about the absorption and usage of their ingredients in the body. This makes it even more important to choose one made by a reputable manufacturer like Gaia Herbs.

Price: $30 for 120 gummies (40 daily doses) | Form: Gummies | Dosage frequency: 3 gummies per day | Third-party tested: Yes

Best Budget: Nature Made Ashwagandha Capsules



What we like: Nature Made’s capsules are affordable, readily available and third-party tested for quality.

What to know: These capsules may be a bit large for some folks to swallow.

Nature Made is one of the most commonly available supplement lines you’ll find both locally at groceries and pharmacies and online—something that’s achieved in part by being a reputable brand.

These Nature Made capsules come with an additional level of reliability by using a patented form of ashwagandha that goes by the brand name Sensoril—one of two standardized types of ashwagandha used in many clinical trials. The standardization means potency is the same across all products that use Sensoril ashwagandha as an ingredient. While Marshall says this doesn’t make Sensoril superior or more efficacious than other ashwagandha, it does mean quality testing is being done by two manufacturers, which is a perk.

Price: $15 for 60 capsules (60 daily doses) | Form: Capsules | Dosage frequency: 1 capsule per day | Third-party tested: Yes

Best Stress Support Product with Ashwagandha: Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Daily Support



What we like: This supplement contains five adaptogens for added efficacy.

What to know: This softgel contains rhodiola, which should not be taken by those with bipolar disorder.

Want to know how Marshall gets her daily ashwagandha? It’s this daily support blend featuring ashwagandha and four other adaptogens: rhodiola, holy basil, schisandra and oats. Packaged in softgel form, this product is designed to support the adrenal glands which secrete hormones (like cortisol) when the body encounters stress. The five adaptogens are touted by the manufacturer as working synergistically to increase the body’s overall energy and resilience to stress.

However, this adaptogenic blend isn’t for everyone. In fact, the company advises that it should not be taken by those with bipolar disorder due to potential side effects related to the rhodiola. This is a good reminder that, while ashwagandha has little to no side effects and contraindications, it’s a good idea to check other ingredients if shopping for a blend.

Price: $33 for 60 softgels (30 daily doses) | Form: Softgels | Dosage frequency: 2 capsules per day | Third-party tested: Yes

The Bottom Line: The Best Ashwagandha Supplements

Bold Botanica Ashwagandha Plus’ (view at Amazon) capsules earned its spot by providing a full-spectrum supplement that requires just one capsule per day to get your full dose. However, if you’re looking for a more wallet-friendly option that is also third-party tested and comes in a convenient capsule form, the Nature Made Ashwagandha Capsules (view at Amazon) may be an alternative worth considering.

Choosing an Ashwagandha Supplement

What Form Works Best for You?

Ashwagandha supplements contain extracts of the withanolides from the plant’s roots or roots and leaves. These extracts are then suspended in a solution that’s sold in drops or softgel forms or incorporated into gummies. The solution can also be dried and sold as capsules.

Marshall says that liquids are always absorbed more quickly by the body compared to dried forms. But, she’s also quick to say that she has not seen that liquid forms of ashwagandha are necessarily more effective than others. She says the “best” form is the one that fits your lifestyle and allows you to take it consistently. If you want a liquid form, Marshall recommends softgels because they provide a quick, precise dosage compared to liquids with droppers, which aren’t quite as good for providing exact or precise measurements.

Determine Your Ideal Dosage

There is no standard or recommended dosage that can be applied across the board to all ashwagandha supplements. This is because dosage amounts are determined by the potency of the ashwagandha extraction, and each supplement uses a different extraction. This means potency, and subsequently dosage, varies greatly by product. So, how do you know what dosage amount is both efficacious and safe?

To determine dosage, Marshall says that choosing a reputable brand that employs third-party testing is particularly important to verify the supplement’s purity. In the case of ashwagandha, a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand will also disclose the percentage or amount of withanolides in the product. She advises skipping ashwagandha products that don’t state this on the label. Once you’ve chosen a brand and product you feel good about, she advises following the dosage recommendations provided on the label. The manufacturer will have analyzed potency to determine the most efficacious dosages of that particular product.

Is Your Supplement Third-Party Tested?

Look for supplements that have an outside lab conduct third-party testing on their products to verify the supplements contain what the label claims and are free from harmful contaminants. This should be clearly stated on the packaging or the company’s website, and it should identify which company or organization provides this testing.

Read the Ingredients List

Most liquid and dried forms of ashwagandha will contain the botanical and only ingredients that are necessary to package the extract in its desired form. Be aware of artificial or natural colorings, added sugars, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols that may be added to gummies for sweetness. Also, check the ingredient list on ashwagandha products that use terms like “plus,” “multi” or “daily support” in their name. These often contain additional adaptogens or other botanicals or compounds. While ashwagandha poses little risk for most, it’s important to check for any other active ingredients that could potentially interact with health conditions, medications or other supplements.

Our Search for the Best Ashwagandha Supplements

We researched many different brands of ashwagandha supplements, consulting with a registered dietitian and a naturopath to gather recommendations and criteria for selecting a quality supplement. The products on our list all come recommended by dietitians and are tested for purity and potency either in-house by the brand or externally by independent third parties.

We Also Considered

Nature Made Ashwagandha Gummies ($20 for 30 daily doses at Amazon): If you’re not sure about Gaia Herbs’ “spicy” gummy, then consider this berry option that’s lower in added sugars in comparison to many others (with 3 g for a daily dose of two gummies). The product also doesn’t use artificial sweeteners, flavors or dyes and is gluten free. However, some customers have reported that these gummies tend to dry out quickly.

Nature’s Way Ashwagandha Capsules ($21 for 30 daily doses at Amazon): Dr. Al-Shaer recommends these if you’re looking for a capsule. The product is third-party tested, as well as gluten-free and free from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It also lists the withanolide amount on the label—something Marshall says a reputable brand should provide. However, its slightly lower withanolide content (3.5%) kept it from making our best overall list.

Hum Ashwagandha Calm Gummies ($24 for 30 daily doses at Amazon): Third-party-tested and free from the nine major food allergens, these berry-flavored ashwagandha gummies contain the amino acid L-theanine. Because ashwagandha’s effects aren’t usually seen until around day 30, Marshall advises those looking for more immediate stress support to also take 100 mg L-theanine while ashwagandha builds in the body, and these gummies provide just that. When it comes to gummy flavors, we simply preferred the more ginger-forward version offered by Gaia.

Common Questions

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a category of botanicals or plants containing compounds that enhance the body’s ability to handle and cope with stress, and are purported to help fight fatigue and boost your immune system. Adaptogens have been used in Ayurvedic and Eastern medicines for hundreds of years. Yet, only in the past few years have adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and holy basil started to surface in mainstream media and on store shelves. Among the adaptogens you see being sold, ashwagandha (withania somnifera) has quickly become one of the most popular thanks to its benefits and long-term safety.

What are the benefits of ashwagandha supplements?

When taken consistently for 30 to 60 days, clinical trials associate ashwagandha with improvements in depression, anxiety and stress scores; decreases in cortisol; and, for some, improvements in sleep. According to Marshall, ashwagandha supports the immune system by down-regulating pro-inflammatory pathways, so those diagnosed with autoimmune diseases or other inflammatory conditions may find this to be an added benefit.

It’s important to note that the key to seeing benefits from ashwagandha is taking the supplement consistently. “Be patient because ashwagandha has to build up in your system,” says Marshall. “Clinical trials indicate that true effects occur starting at 30 days. These effects will increase as you go 30, 60, 90 days taking it because the benefits come from ashwagandha’s gradual influence on the body’s circadian rhythms and endocrine system, which takes time.”

Can I take ashwagandha with other supplements?

Probably. There is little to no evidence that ashwagandha should not be taken with other supplements. However, talking to your healthcare provider before adding a new one is never a bad idea.

What are the side effects of ashwagandha?

Research suggests there are no major side effects associated with taking ashwagandha, and it is well tolerated by most people. Some mild side effects such as an upset stomach or loose stools have been reported, but these don’t appear to be common.

“Ashwagandha is one of the safest long-term supplements to take,” says Marshall. However, she cautions that anyone taking multiple medications should always check with their healthcare provider first. She also advises that someone with a known sensitivity to nightshades in their diet (which are foods like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants or peppers) should proceed cautiously. This is because withanolides, the active compounds in ashwagandha, are a class of phytonutrients in the nightshade family.

When should I take ashwagandha supplements?

Marshall is a big fan of taking ashwagandha in the morning to support the adrenal gland and cortisol levels throughout the day. However, she says there really is no "ideal" or "best" time to take ashwagandha since it builds up in your system to support the body on an ongoing basis. This holds true for those taking ashwagandha primarily for sleep support. The active compounds don’t cause drowsiness; instead, they support circadian rhythms which leads to sleep improvements for some. Remember that the benefits of ashwagandha take time to develop, so you’ll want to ensure you’re taking your supplement consistently for at least 30 to 60 days to see its full effect.

Our Trusted Expertise

Carolyn Williams, PhD, RDN is a registered dietitian, tenured college professor and freelance journalist who’s written on a host of nutrition and health topics. The relationship between diet and chronic inflammation is an area in which she specializes, and she co-hosts the podcast Happy Eating, which explores the connection that mental wellness has to diet and lifestyle.

Keri Marshall, MS, ND, is a highly experienced naturopathic doctor and epidemiologist, who has helped patients attain optimal health with natural solutions for over two decades. Marshall is an expert in women's medicine, pediatrics, and chronic disease management. She operates an integrative medical practice in Wilmington, NC, is CEO and co-founder of Virtu Health Solutions and Chomp Gums, and provides nutrition and research consulting services.

Dr. Abrar Al-Shaer, PhD, RD, LDN, WFIM-CP, is a registered dietitian and founder of the practice Nourish Women Nutrition, which specializes in integrative nutrition for women. Dr. Al-Shaer has extensive experience blending botanical medicine with nutrition science to guide women in understanding and treating their bodies holistically.

This article was edited by Katie Tuttle, a commerce editor and contributor to publications such as Food & Wine and The Spruce Eats. A review of this article was conducted by Brierley Horton, M.S., RD, senior commerce editor, who has 15 years of experience reporting, writing and editing nutrition and health content.

Read the original article on Eating Well.