In recent years, ashwagandha has taken center stage in the natural products industry, earning its place as a top botanical for its adaptogenic properties, which help to manage stress and enhance overall wellbeing.
Adaptogens like ashwagandha support the body’s ability to cope with physical, chemical, and biological stressors, making this ancient herb a modern-day ally.
As ashwagandha rides to the crest of popularity, the challenge for consumers and manufacturers is to identify authentic, high-quality ashwagandha amidst the multitude of available products. This is not a trivial task, as the market is flooded with various formulations and qualities of this herb and there is the risk of encountering adulterated or low-quality products. Hence, it is imperative to be informed about how to choose a product that remains true to its roots – literally and figuratively.
Here are the key points to consider when selecting Ashwagandha:
Root-only ashwagandha extract
A critical factor in selecting ashwagandha is to ensure that the extract is root-only. Some suppliers adulterate the extract with aerial parts rather than using just the root. The root has been the focus of thousands of years of traditional use and modern scientific studies. Various pharmacopoeias including the Indian Pharmacopeia, British Pharmacopeia, and United States Pharmacopeia, alongside globally recognized monographs by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Canada, prescribe the use of the root part of the Ashwagandha plant, discounting the leaves and aerial parts for therapeutic purposes. Recently the Government of India also issued an advisory that suggests the usage of roots only.1
Adhering to the traditional practice of Ayurveda, KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a full-spectrum, root-only extract that maintains the critical balance of various constituents as in the original herb and without over-representing any one constituent.
The growing popularity of ashwagandha has intensified consumer demand for scientific proof of its therapeutic effects. Consumers are increasingly discerning about the research backing an extract, particularly whether it adheres to the gold standards of clinical research, involves healthy subjects, and is published in reputable, PubMed-indexed journals.
KSM-66 has conducted extensive research, with 37 completed studies and 18 ongoing, to substantiate traditional claims. These studies are designed to meet the gold standards of substantiation – randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials – conducted on healthy populations by independent researchers and published in high-quality, PubMed-indexed journals.
Sustainable, holistic cultivation
Sustainability is more than an environmental directive; it is an ethical imperative. In a truly sustainable system, all parts flourish and no part gets left behind.
The makers of KSM-66 Ashwagandha has established a sustainable supply chain for ashwagandha well before this concept even gained its recognition. Sustainability is the cornerstone in the cultivation of KSM-66 Ashwagandha by controlling its entire supply chain, practicing organic farming without waste or toxic chemicals, and using green chemistry for extraction. Additionally, it invests in community welfare, including women's empowerment, education, and healthcare initiatives, embodying a holistic approach to sustainability.
The rising popularity of ashwagandha has led to significant supply chain stress, potentially resulting in a growing demand-supply gap. This gap could result in price hikes and the possibility of manufacturers diluting the root extract with lower-quality plant parts. Partnering with a supplier that maintains control over the entire supply chain, from seed to shelf, is critical for ensuring consistent quality.
KSM-66 showcases its commitment to quality through its vertically integrated model. This unique process involves cultivation on KSM-66’s own organic fields and extends to the final extract. It includes meticulous hand-selection and adherence to strict quality control protocols, guaranteeing that the ashwagandha extract remains pure and of the highest standard.
With the growing demand for ashwagandha, there is an imminent risk of a supply chain crunch that could lead to inflated raw material costs which could potentially tempt manufacturers to adulterate their products. Amidst this backdrop, KSM-66 Ashwagandha Root Extract emerges as a beacon of trust and quality.
It leads the industry with an unparalleled 42 certifications, affirming its commitment to quality, safety, and efficacy. These certifications attest to KSM-66's manufacturing excellence and transparent supply chain management, ensuring it meets the highest standards for a product that is both organically grown and ethically processed.
A closer examination of ashwagandha extract claims
Be cautious about the following points while selecting your ashwagandha!
Herbs, not drugs
A fundamental principle in selecting the right ashwagandha is understanding that herbs are meant to be consumed in their natural form. Overemphasizing the concentration of specific molecules and chemicals can distort the natural essence of the herb.
Additionally, some manufacturers inappropriately apply drug evaluation criteria to botanicals like ashwagandha, which overlooks centuries of traditional knowledge and holistic health practices.
Identifying top-quality products
Make no mistakes – the hype surrounding certain ashwagandha extracts can lead consumers astray. One of the most common mistakes that both manufacturers and consumers make is not thoroughly checking the source and composition of ashwagandha extracts and products. Bold marketing claims often do not tell the whole story.
Below are a few claims which need careful examination on whether they are indeed valid:
- Improved bioavailability Some ingredient makers claim improved bioavailability, and it is important to understand that the concept of bioavailability though relevant in specific context, is a misfit when applied to herbs.
- Addition of leaves As leaves are cheaper and more easily available then roots, many ingredient makers add leaves to their extracts. The withanolides from leaves are different from the withanolides from the root. This can lead to an end-product inconsistent with the traditionally consumed ashwagandha root. The Government of India also released an advisory advocating for the utilization of the ashwagandha roots only, advising manufacturers to refrain from using ashwagandha leaves. Intriguingly, some manufacturers claim that glycowithanolides in leaves are very beneficial and potent, if that’s the case then why has no manufacturer dared to launch a pure leaf-only extract of Ashwagandha?
- Low dosage with inflated withanolide content Some ashwagandha makers are introducing low dosage extracts with an elevated withanolide content under the guise of innovation. Inflated withanolide content often disrupts the natural ratio of the bioactive constituents present in the herb.
- Sustained release formulations Use of advanced technology like liposomal technology may be incongruent in the domain of herbs as it may not result in the improvements to what really matter, which is the long run safety and efficacy of the herb extract.
Embracing authenticity and quality
As the ashwagandha wave continues to swell, it’s imperative for those seeking its adaptogenic benefits to choose extracts like KSM-66 that are grounded in authenticity, supported by robust scientific research, and dedicated to sustainable and ethical practices.
In this burgeoning market, prioritizing extracts that are pure, potent, and produced with integrity is key. By opting for KSM-66 Ashwagandha, consumers can embark on a journey towards wellness that is as genuine and beneficial as the root of this revered herb itself.
1. Ministry of Ayush Government of India. Ayush Advisory on ashwagandha.