Over the past few years, everyday use of adaptogens has grown popular, with superstar ashwagandha becoming a staple in wellness seekers’ routines. The ancient medicinal herb offers myriad health benefits, and can now be taken in various forms, including gummies.
“This herbal modulator can help revitalize the body and mind, promoting hormone balance and healthy function of various body systems, especially the adrenal glands,” explains The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Karen Cooney, M.A., C.H.H.C.
Ashwagandha is particularly revered for promoting healthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps the body mobilize its “fight or flight” response. As a result, it’s a go-to for those dealing with high levels of stress and looking for natural ways to feel more at-ease.
How (and when) you take ashwagandha, though, has a major impact on the perks you experience. Here’s what to know about the root—and how to best incorporate it into your routine.
The Many Perks Of Ashwagandha
Supporting resiliency and the ability to cope with stress are ashwagandha’s primary benefits. However, this herb can also support healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and thyroid health, according to Cooney.
Read More: 4 Unexpected Ways To Manage Stress Naturally
Many people also take ashwagandha to support feelings of vigor, stamina, vitality, and strength, making it a great addition for anyone who wants to promote their overall well-being.
The Best Time To Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is available in powder, capsule, liquid, and gummy form, so which you take comes down to personal preference. That said, when you choose to take ashwagandha depends on your specific health goals and needs.
“You may wish to incorporate it into your nightly routine to promote calmness and a good night’s sleep,” Cooney says. If that’s the case, she recommends aiming to get your fix about 30 to 45 minutes before you hit the hay.
“Alternatively, you may find taking it in the morning suits your routine better, if your stress is high and you need something to help you calm down,” she says. Though you can take it on an empty stomach, if you experience any stomach upset, simply pair your ashwagandha with your breakfast.
If you’re concerned both about your stress levels during the day and your ability to rest well at night, it’s safe to take two daily doses of ashwagandha—one in the morning and one before bed. “Taking it twice a day can help your body maintain equilibrium in your adrenal system,” Cooney says.
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Just note that some people do find ashwagandha to have an opposite, stimulating effect. If you’re one of them, there are a number of other supplements to try for both stress management and sleep support.
How Much Ashwagandha To Take
When it comes to how much ashwagandha to take, research suggests that 300 milligrams of the root extract per day is the sweet spot.
One study published in The Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, for example, found that people dealing with chronic stress who supplemented with 300 milligrams of ashwagandha a day for 60 days saw decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also reported improved feelings of overall well-being.
If you’re taking one daily dose of ashwagandha, 300 milligrams should do the trick. If you’re splitting between morning and evening, though, shoot for 150 milligrams at each time. (That said, you can take up to 500 or 600 milligrams per day, according to Cooney, so start small and increase your amounts as needed.)