"It's very hard to find a good ashwagandha supplement," notes Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of ConsumerLab.com, the health product testing company which recently completed evaluations of ashwagandha herbal supplements. Ashwagandha is generally used to reduce stress and anxiety, and has other potential applications. Clinical studies have typically been performed with ashwagandha root preparations providing at least 6 mg per daily serving of compounds known as withanolides. Yet, of eight ashwagandha supplements selected for testing by ConsumerLab, three contained less than this amount—one of which provided less than one milligram. Another product contained only 64.7 percent of the withanolides expected from its label, and two other products contained much higher amounts of withanolides than listed.
ConsumerLab.com did identify three ashwagandha supplements with accurate labeling and daily doses in line with those used in successful clinical trials. These three products were Approved for Quality by ConsumerLab.com. One of these products was tested through ConsumerLab.com's voluntary Quality Certification Program. None of the products exceeded contamination limits for lead, cadmium or arsenic—toxic heavy metals which can occur in herbal supplements.
Products covered in the new report are Eclectic Institute Ashwagandha, Nature's Plus Herbal Actives Ashwagandha, plnt by V (Vitamin Shoppe), Gaia Herbs Single Herbs Ashwagandha Root, Nature's Way Ashwagandha, Pure Encapsulations Ashwagandha, Herb Pharm Ashwagandha, Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Ashwagandha, and Solaray Ashwagandha. The report also includes information about what ashwagandha has been shown to do in clinical trials, how to buy and use ashwagandha supplements, and potential side effects.