Ashwagandha ayurvedic herb shows stress-busting potential: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Ashwagandha ayurvedic herb shows stress-busting potential: Study

Related tags: Cortisol

Supplements containing extract of the Indian herb Ashwagandha may help manage stress, according to new findings of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Indian researchers report that supplements providing a daily dose of 600 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract for 60 days were associated with a 27.9% reduction in cortisol levels.

The study, published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine​, also found that supplements of Ixoreal Biomed’s KSM-66 Ashwagandha ingredient improved sleep quality, productivity and the extent of mental calmness and relaxation.

2013: A breakthrough year for Indian botanicals?

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA recently​, Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, said: “I think there are some botanicals from India that are going to reach a higher level of market acceptance in 2013,”​ Blumenthal said. “The two that come to mind are ashwagandha and bacopa.”

A spokesperson for Ixoreal Biomed told NutraIngredients-USA that, including this study, the company has completed five clinical studies with KSM-66 and two animal studies.

“Our immediate goal is to secure publication of these studies in peer-reviewed journals,” ​they said. “An additional goal is to continue that advancement of science for KSM-66 Ashwagandha. 

“If the market indicates an additional study for U.S. participants is necessary, it will be considered.  Fortunately, the role of ashwagandha as an adaptogen in stress management is well established and this study confirms that KSM-66 is effective for healthy stress management.”

Market penetration

Ixoreal Biomed self-affirmed the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of its KSM-66 Ashwagandha extract for use in food and beverages in the fall of 2012.

The ingredient is extracted from the root of Withania somnifera​ using a proprietary process to produce high purity active constituents (withanolides), said the company. The GRAS status allows for the use of the ingredient in a range of products, including cereals, cereal bars, candies, chewing gum, cookies/biscuits and type I beverages.

KSM-66, which has a neutral, bitterless taste, can be used in the specified foods at levels of 25 to 80 mg/serving, according to the determination.

Finished products formulated with the ingredient are already available The spokesperson said that products formulated with KSM-66 include effectve neural gum​, and Spice Pharm Line of Elixirs Beverage Mixes​.

Study details

Researchers from Asha Hospital in Hyderabad recruited 64 individuals with a history of chronic stress to participate in their prospective, double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial.

Results showed that, in addition to the reduction in cortisol levels, the Ashwagandha group experienced significant reductions in the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) of 44%, the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) of 72%, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) of 72%.

"These results validate the benefits of KSM-66 Ashwagandha for healthy stress management,"​ said Kartikeya Baldwa, Director for Ixoreal Biomed. "This study examined how KSM-66 functions as an adaptogen assisting the body in producing a normalizing effect for reducing stress and anxiety.

“The study used established stress assessment scales and serum cortisol levels as the focal measures. The group taking KSM-66 Ashwagandha supplements experienced a significant reduction in stress over 60 days when compared against a placebo group."

Source: Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
Volume 34, Issue 3, Pages 255-262, doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.10602
“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”
Authors: K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, Sridhar Anishetty

Related topics: Nutrition, South Asia, Supplements

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