KSM-66 Ashwagandha: A Superhero Herb for Body & Brain

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Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera Dunal) is an important herb used in the ancient Indian system of medicine known as Ayurveda to promote general health and well-being [1,2]. In Ayurvedic practice, ashwagandha is classified as a Rasayana, which means an herb or preparation that rejuvenates, extends life, and promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health. Read on to discover more about ashwagandha’s incredible health benefits in general and a special potent “superhero” form known as KSM-66 ashwagandha.

What Does Ashwaganda Do?

Ashwagandha’s superpower is that it is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are non-toxic therapies that normalize our bodily functions – both physical and mental – that are thrown out of balance when we are exposed to chronic, uncontrolled stress. They do so by correcting imbalances in the neuroendocrine and immune systems [2]. In short, adaptogens enhance our ability to cope with stress.

There are more than 35 natural compounds in ashwagandha including:

  • alkaloids
  • steroidal lactones
  • saponins
  • withanolides

These compounds have been shown to have anti-stress activity in multiple laboratory models of chronic stress and in some human studies as well [1-5].

Additionally, ashwagandha extracts as well as specific bioactive compounds present in this plant – primarily in the roots – have been shown to help:

• counter pain and joint swelling associated with arthritis
strengthen various components of the immune system
• protect the brain and nervous system
• slow down or even kill abnormal cells
• enhance both male and female sexual desire and function

What Is KSM-66 Ashwagandha?

adaptogen-ashwagandha-root-and-powder

KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a high-concentration ashwagandha root extract manufactured and sold by Ixoreal Biomed, located in Hyderabad, India [6]. Ashwagandha KSM-66 is made solely from ashwagandha roots, which contain its main bioactive ingredients, without using any other parts of the plant that are considered to be less effective.

Standardized Withanolide Content

A unique feature of KSM-66 ashwagandha is that it’s standardized to a withanolide content of at least 5 percent. Withanolides are a group of around 300 naturally occurring steroid compounds, some of which are naturally present in ashwagandha.

One example is Withaferin A, an anti-inflammatory compound that has also been shown to stop tumors from growing their own blood vessels, slowing down their growth, and perhaps even shrinking them.

Last but not least, KSM-66 ashwagandha is produced by a unique extraction process, based on the principles of “green chemistry,” without using alcohol or any synthetic solvents.

Let’s take a closer look now at some of KSM-66 ashwagandha’s benefits for health.

What Too Much Cortisol Does to the Body

Any stressful event in our lives causes our adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a steroid hormone that acts to control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, lower inflammation levels, influence memory formation, and manage salt and water balance [7].

The more stressed we are and the longer we’re stressed, the more our adrenals respond by releasing cortisol into our bloodstream. Too much cortisol in the blood over a prolonged period of time can lead to:

doctor checking woman's blood pressure
  • rapid weight gain
  • high blood pressure
  • osteoporosis
  • muscle weakness
  • mood swings
  • anxiety, depression, or irritability
  • increased thirst and frequency of urination [7]

Ongoing high cortisol levels can also eventually cause a lack of sex drive in men. In women, periods typically become irregular, less frequent, or may even stop altogether (amenorrhea).

How Can Ashwagandha Help Us Cope With Stress?

To answer this question, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of KSM-66 ashwagandha (which, as mentioned above, is a high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract) in 64 adults [5]. After 60 days of treatment, the study authors observed a “substantial reduction” in four separate measures of stress in the study participants.

KSM-66 ashwagandha also reduced levels of the hormone cortisol in the blood. By lowering cortisol, ashwagandha tones down the body’s response to stressful situations, in effect “calming us down.”

No serious adverse events were reported [5] and the study researchers concluded that:

“High-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”

relaxed-happy-asian-woman-enjoying-break-at-workplace-breathing

Similarly, in another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 60 stressed but otherwise healthy adults were randomly assigned to take either a placebo or an ashwagandha root extract once daily for 2 months [8].

At the end of the study, participants given ashwagandha showed a significant reduction in their stress, anxiety, and depression scores. Once again, ashwagandha consumption was associated with a greater reduction in the levels of cortisol in the blood, when compared with placebo [8].

The Connection Between Stress and Obesity

Chronic stress has been associated with many illnesses, including obesity. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, ashwagandha consumption was seen to lead to significant reductions in emotional and uncontrolled food cravings while also lowering cortisol, body weight, and body mass index (BMI) in 52 subjects subjected to chronic stress [9].

Indeed, laboratory experiments in mice have shown that one of the main active ingredients in ashwagandha known as Withaferin A can protect against obesity caused by a high-fat diet by reducing inflammation in the liver, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance [10].

These and other findings make it clear that ashwagandha is a powerful tool in our battle against ongoing stress, likely by regulating various specific aspects of our hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This is an interactive neuroendocrine system that plays a key role in maintaining our body’s internal equilibrium, along with orchestrating our body’s response to stress.

Ashwagandha Benefits for Joint Pain

Ashwagandha is a key ingredient in many Ayurvedic formulations prescribed for joint-related conditions such as osteoarthritis. Indeed, many research studies show that ashwagandha and its bioactive ingredients help to manage and reduce inflammation levels.

woman-with-arthritis-rubbing-her-wrist-and-arm

For instance, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over clinical trial published in 1991, 42 patients with osteoarthritis were randomized to receive a formula containing ashwagandha, frankincense, turmeric, and zinc – or placebo – for three months [11].

Clinical efficacy was evaluated every 15 days in terms of severity of pain, morning stiffness, Ritchie articular index (a weighted score of tenderness and swelling in 53 joint groups, each scored on a 0-3 scale), joint score, disability score, and grip strength. Throughout the study, the herbal formula was seen to significantly reduce the severity of joint pain and disability. No significant adverse effects were reported.

In another 2015 study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, 86 patients with joint pain were given 5 grams of ashwagandha powder twice a day for three weeks with lukewarm water or milk [12]. Then these patients took another Ayurvedic preparation known as Sidh Makardhwaj – a formulation used in rheumatoid arthritis and neurological disorders – daily for the next four weeks.

Treatment with ashwagandha and Sidh Makardhwaj for seven weeks led to significantly improved scores of joint swelling, tenderness, and pain, indicating that this combination treatment is likely to be beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis. Indeed, in earlier laboratory experiments, an ashwagandha root extract was seen to reduce inflammation in knee cartilage taken from chronic osteoarthritis patients [13].

Ashwagandha for Boosting Endurance, Muscle Strength, and Recovery

Older Couple Riding Bikes

Ashwagandha has long had the reputation of being able to enhance cardiovascular endurance and physical performance. As stated earlier, consuming this herb is said to impart the strength and stamina of a horse [1].

In a 2015 prospective, double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study, KSM-66 ashwagandha was shown to significantly boost cardiorespiratory endurance and improve self-reported quality of life (QOL) in 50 healthy male and female athletic adults [14].

In another 2015 randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 57 young men with little previous experience in resistance training were randomized into treatment and placebo groups [15]. Participants in the treatment group consumed 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily, while those in the control group took starch placebos instead.

Multiple measurements – including muscle strength, muscle size, body composition, testosterone levels, and muscle recovery – were made before the start of the study. Both groups then went through resistance training for 8 weeks and the measurements were repeated when they were done.

Promisingly, the group of men taking ashwagandha root extract had significantly greater increases in muscle strength and arm muscle size relative to the placebo group. They also showed significantly less exercise-induced muscle damage, higher testosterone levels, and a greater reduction in body fat percentage.

In other words, ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in:

  • muscle mass
  • strength
  • recovery after exercise
man's arm lifting weight at gym

In another randomized, double-blind strength and conditioning study known as the STAR trial, 500 mg of an extract of ashwagandha roots and leaves was consumed by recreationally active young men for 12 weeks [16].

Body composition, muscular strength, power, and endurance, cycling time trial, and blood chemistry were measured before and after the study. Consuming the ashwagandha extract was seen to improve upper and lower body strength and improve distribution of body mass in these men, once again without causing any serious adverse effects.

Ashwagandha as an Immune System Enhancer

Ashwagandha enhances immune function. In a small study, ashwagandha root extract was seen to activate multiple types of immune cells in the participants [17].

Similarly, a tea fortified with five herbs including ashwagandha was seen to activate so-called “natural killer” (NK) cells in not just one, but two independent double-blind intervention studies conducted in India on healthy volunteers [18]. NK cell activity is an important aspect of our body’s early immune response to infections.

Interestingly, in other situations, ashwagandha extracts have also been shown to suppress specific components of the immune system. For example, one of the characteristic features of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the continuous production of pro-inflammatory compounds known as cytokines in joint cavities, triggering inflammation and cartilage destruction. In laboratory experiments in rats, a root extract of ashwagandha was seen to suppress production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduce oxidative stress [19].

The Brain-Boosting Benefits of Ashwagandha

Numerous laboratory studies show that ashwagandha – traditionally used in Ayurveda to boost intellect and memory – can slow, stop, and reverse damage to brain cells and may even help to reconstruct brain cell networks.

team of medical researchers looking through microscopes

For instance, ashwagandha extracts have been shown to promote nerve cell growth in culture [20]. Withanolide A, withanoside IV, and withanoside VI were identified as the bioactive compounds responsible. Ashwagandha extracts as well as specific bioactive compounds (e.g., withanolide A) have also been shown to protect nerve cells in culture against damage caused by various toxic agents [21]. Amazingly, the administration of withanoside IV for 21 days led to recovery in a rat model of spinal cord damage [20].

It is well known that toxic free radicals damage brain cells and contribute to both normal aging and aging-related health conditions. In a 2015 study, both ashwagandha extracts and a bioactive compound known as withanone were seen to protect nerve cells from oxidative damage [22].

Not surprisingly, ashwagandha has long been used in Ayurveda to enhance memory and improve mental faculties. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study, 50 adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – who are considered to be at a greater risk of developing dementia later in life – were treated with either 300 mg of KSM-66 ashwagandha twice daily or placebo for 8 weeks [23].

After 8 weeks, the ashwagandha KSM-66 group showed significant improvements in both their immediate or short-term as well as general memory, relative to the placebo group. The ashwagandha group also showed significant improvements in executive function, sustained attention, and information-processing abilities.

Can Ashwagandha Even Help Protect Against Abnormal Cell Growth?

Ashwagandha and other species of Withania are well known in folk medicine traditions for their anti-cancer properties and their extracts have been shown to be toxic for multiple types of cancer cells in laboratory experiments [24]. They appear to act by slowing down or even stopping cancer cell growth by inducing programmed cell death or “apoptosis.”

doctor-talking-with-patient-pointing-to-xray-at-desk-in-medical-office

As stated earlier, Withaferin A, an anti-inflammatory withanolide, has been shown to act as an anti-angiogenic. In other words, it can help stop tumors from growing their own blood vessels, slowing down their growth, or perhaps even shrinking them.

As reported in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology in August 2019, growing evidence suggests that Withaferin A is very effective against cancer [25]. For instance, low response rate and recurrence are common issues in lung cancer.

Withaferin A has been shown to exhibit potent toxicity against several lung cancer cell lines in laboratory experiments. Not only that, the combination of Withaferin A and chemotherapeutic drugs were shown to have additive effects on lung cancer cell survival [26].

Withaferin A has also been shown to be toxic for breast cancer and cervical cancer (HeLa) cells in laboratory experiments [27,28]. Similarly, other bioactive compounds in ashwagandha have also been shown to be toxic for cancer cells in laboratory experiments [29].

KSM-66 Ashwagandha’s Impact on Libido and Infertility

Ashwagandha root extract has been shown to enhance sexual desire and function in both men and women. For instance, ashwagandha has been described in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac that can be used to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility.

In a pilot study conducted to evaluate the effects of ashwagandha in patients with a low sperm count (known as oligospermia), a total of 46 male patients were randomized either to treatment with KSM-66 Ashwagandha or placebo for 90 days [30].

Loving couple healthy libido

At the end of the study, participants given KSM-66 ashwagandha showed a 167% increase in sperm count, a 53% increase in semen volume, and a 57% increase in sperm motility relative to baseline. In comparison, only minimal changes were seen in the placebo group.

Further, a greater improvement in hormone levels was seen with KSM-66 ashwagandha. In other words, ashwagandha is likely to be very effective in treating oligospermia, which is a leading cause of male infertility.

Similarly, a meta-analysis showed that ashwagandha significantly improved sperm concentration and sperm motility even in men with normal sperm parameters, without any adverse effects [31].

Ashwagandha has also been shown to enhance sexual function in women. At the Trupti Hospital and Santati Fertility Center located near Mumbai in India, 50 women were randomized to either ashwagandha treatment or placebo (300 mg twice daily) for 8 weeks [32]. In this study, ashwagandha supplementation was shown to lead to significantly higher scores in multiple markers of sexual desire and function.

But Is Ashwagandha Safe?

Ashwagandha root powder has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and it is believed to be completely safe and free of any toxicity.

Extracts of ashwagandha made using alcohol and water will likely contain higher doses of its natural ingredients, relative to raw powder. So far animal studies with such extracts have shown no evidence of toxicity, even at relatively high doses [33].

However, it is always advisable to take an herbal supplement only after consulting your healthcare provider, especially if you have any ongoing health conditions or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Organixx Turmeric 3D Contains KSM-66 Ashwagandha

The Organixx Turmeric 3D formula has always contained ashwagandha extract. As part of our commitment to seeking out the cleanest and most effective supplement ingredients, we upgraded to KSM-66 Ashwagandha in 2019 – the most clinically studied ashwagandha on the market.

KSM-66 is a full-spectrum extract produced using a unique proprietary extraction process, based on “Green Chemistry” principles, without using alcohol or any other chemical solvent.


Turmeric 3D from Organixx provides you one of the most “bioavailable” forms of turmeric due to its unique fermentation process. This means your body experiences the maximum benefits of the purest, most potent turmeric available!

Organixx Turmeric 3D

Sources:

Article Summary

  • Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera Dunal) is an important herb used in the ancient Indian system of medicine known as Ayurveda to promote general health and well-being.

  • Ashwagandha’s superpower is that it is an adaptogen. In short, adaptogens enhance our ability to cope with stress.

  • Ashwagandha extracts, as well as specific bioactive compounds in ashwagandha, have been found to help:
    • counter pain and joint swelling associated with arthritis
    • strengthen various components of the immune system
    • protect the brain and nervous system
    • slow down or even kill abnormal cells
    • enhance both male and female sexual desire and function

  • The main bioactive ingredients in ashwagandha are round in the roots. However many supplements use the leaves and stems, which are considered to be less effective.

  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a high-concentration ashwagandha extract made solely from ashwagandha roots.

  • Organixx Turmeric 3D supplement now uses KSM-66 Ashwagandha due to its increased efficacy and research studies.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. I am on medication for high blood pressure and depression,can I take Ashwagandha as well as this medicine?will it react with my medicines?

    • Thank you for your question, Susan.

      Please know, Organixx cannot diagnose, treat or give advice regarding one’s health and use of our products. We always advise everyone to consult with their trusted healthcare practitioner before starting a new health regime or supplements, especially if they have a current health condition or are on medications.

      Thank you so much. We wish you all the best on your wellness journey!

  2. That’s great news about KSM-66 Ashwagandha! Will you be replacing regular ashwagandha with KSM-66 in all your other products that contain it?

    • Hi Ida, thank you for your feedback and question.

      Currently, our Turmeric 3D was upgraded to KSM-66 Ashwagandha. If we have plans to upgrade our other products in the future, it will be announced and added to our website https://organixx.com/. You can also be notified via email by signing up for our newsletter here: https://organixx.com/free-health-newsletter/.

      We appreciate you being here with us and wish you a wonderful day!

  3. Does it affect hormone balance in women since it increases desire? Trying to reduce estrogen levels so want to make sure it doesn’t increase them.

    • Hi Mary, thank you for your question.

      Unfortunately, we’re unable to advise whether KSM-66 Ashwagandha affects hormone balance in women as everybody is different.

      For this type of question, we highly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional in order to help you determine if taking a supplement containing KSM-66 Ashwagandha would be beneficial for your current health needs.

      Thank you so much! We appreciate you being here with us and wish you all the best on your wellness journey!

    • Hi Nona, thank you so much for your interest.

      Organixx does not sell the KSM-66 Ashwagandha. However, we do carry a supplement called Turmeric 3D, which uses KSM-66 Ashwagandha due to its increased efficacy and research studies.

      We also added ParActin® into the formulation. It is a patented ingredient that is proven to reduce pain by helping support a healthy and appropriate inflammatory response.

      We hope you can check out out upgraded Turmeric 3D and learn more about how it provides you one of the most “bioavailable” forms of turmeric due to its unique fermentation process: https://shop.organixx.com/collections/all-products/products/turmeric-3d.

      To add, we are happy to inform you that we are currently having the Leap Year Sale, wherein the prices of our supplements including the Turmeric 3D are highly discounted. You may check out this promotion here: https://shop.organixx.com/pages/leap-year-2020.

      We hope this helps! Please let us know if you have more questions for us.

      Thank you and we wish you a great weekend!

  4. Why does your Tumeric 3D not contain Vitamin K as well? I’ve seen that Vitamin K is required for proper absorption or processing of Vitamin D.

      • Hi Deta and Daniella, thank you for your question.

        We would like to share this page that thoroughly discussed the scientific bases and health reasons behind the formulation of our Turmeric3D: https://organixx.com/turmeric-3d/.

        We hope it can help you understand the meticulous choosing of the ingredients and how they are processed in order for Organixx to create the Turmeric3D.

        Please let us know if you have more questions, we’re here to help.

        Thank you and we wish you a lovely day!

  5. On the front of the bottle of Tumeric 3D there is NO USDA certified organic label but on the back of the bottle in the ingredients section the words organic do appear.
    Why does the front of the bottle lack the USDA certified organic label ?

    • Hi Howard, thank you for your question.

      We appreciate your interest in our Turmeric3D.

      Turmeric3D is not certified organic. However, each product and ingredient that is organic is listed as such on a label, there being organic in front of it that will tell you which ingredients are certified organic, which are not.

      This means that the Turmeric3D has no seal of USDA Certified Organic, but the back label indicates all of the organic ingredients used in the formulation of this product.

      You may take a look at this FAQ page to answer any questions you have in mind about the supplement: https://support.organixx.com/751544-Turmeric-3D.

      We hope this helps.

      Thank you and we wish you a happy and healthy day!

  6. I’m already using Organixx turmeric. Will I get the ash wags day in my future shipments??

    Felecia

  7. I did not see any mention in this article of ashwagandha being a member of the nightshade family.

    Nightshades cause digestive tract inflammation in many and can lead to diarrhea as well as flare-ups of arthritis. You might want to mention its status as member of the nightshade family for those who are sensitive to their negative effects.

    • Hi Michael, thank you for your feedback.

      For some people that may have abnormal responses to nightshades; ashwagandha is a type of potato, yes. It is a nightshade. One thing to note is that only the root is what we are using, not the entire fruit. But in our extracts the root has been fermented. We’re using specific extracts – the withanolides – that we’re pulling out of the ashwagandha plant.

      So, what you’re getting in our extracts isn’t exactly like a normal ashwagandha extract. You’re not getting an ashwagandha concentrate or just encapsulated ashwagandha, or anything like that. We have specific compounds that we’re extracting for our ashwagandha extract, and then we also have fermented ashwagandha root that we’re using in our formulas.

      You may learn more about our Turmeric3D and how we formulated it with Organic KSM-66 Ashwagandha® : https://organixx.com/turmeric-3d/.

      With this, we highly recommend a consultation with a medical expert if the Turmeric3D is beneficial for you and your health needs, especially if you have nightshade allergies.

      Thank you and we wish you a great day!

  8. Hi, exactly how much Ashwagandha is in the formula? I take other products that have it and need to know the exact dose. Thank you

  9. Caution to those on Thyroid medication or with hyperthyroidism. Ashwagandha can alter your levels. I took it loved it only to find my levels had changed significantly and my medication had to be adjusted. I don’t have a Thyroid organ so I am considered hypothyroid. After taking a different product for sleep my TSH T4 blood work came back significantly different. So please be careful.

  10. I take NATURE-THROI tab130mg for my Thyroid, how much Turmeric 3D should I take, and how long should Before I get blood work ?

    • Hi Susan, we appreciate your interest in our Turmeric3D!

      When diagnosed with a medical condition or when taking other medications, it is always best to check with your trusted healthcare professional first.

      With this, we suggest working with your primary care physician to help you determine whether the Turmeric3D supplement would be appropriate for you and your health needs, and if so, what serving recommendation would be best suited for you.

      Here is some detailed product information about our products, including labels, in an effort to help you make an informed health decision:

      https://shop.organixx.com/collections/all-products/products/turmeric-3d

      We hope you find this informative!

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