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KSM-66 - Why Vertical Integration Matters
Ashwagandha root extract Withania somnifera, has become very popular over the last decade or so, and the newly released 2021 Herb Market Report reveals that in mainstream supplement channels Ashwagandha now ranks #7 in sales, and in the Natural supplement sector the herb is #4. According to the report consumers spent over $92 million on ashwagandha supplements in 2021. With popularity come challenges, especially in the form of undeclared plant parts like leaves added to root extracts and deliberate adulteration with other agents.
The one sure way to guarantee that ashwagandha root extract is exactly what it is supposed to be is by a vertically integrated system from field to finish, guided by strict quality control standards. At present only KSM-66 ashwagandha root extract derives from a vertically integrated system. This is not true for any other ashwagandha on the market today.
On our own 1600 acres of organic ashwagandha fields the soil is tilled in August, and seeds are hand broadcast over the entire area. While the ashwagandha grows, approximately fifty people work the fields, helping to maintain the health of the ashwagandha crop. In February or March when the plants are ready for harvest, several hundred women work in our fields to pull roots and to chop off the tops of the plants. Only roots are used in KSM-66 ashwagandha extract, exactly as described in all known texts and monographs on this herb. We are well aware that there is at present a great deal of adulteration of ashwagandha extracts with cheap leaf, according to various testing laboratories. We avoid this issue entirely by using only roots, and by adhering to strict QC protocols.
After harvest the roots are washed and dried and sorted for quality, all by hand. Once this is achieved, the roots are transported to our five manufacturing facilities where KSM-66 extract is made by a novel clean and green extraction process, according to strict GMP rules, organic compliance guidelines, and over forty certifications that demand tight quality controls throughout the entire extract manufacturing and packaging process.
In our laboratories we test every phase of making KSM-66 from raw roots to finished extract to ensure purity, safety and proper concentration of the final extract. We test for microbial activity, heavy metals, pesticides, concentrations of various active principles and more, all to guarantee that our extract is exactly what we say, World’s Best Ashwagandha.
It is all too easy to find botanicals that do not actually conform to what may be stated on certificates of analysis. But at the end of the day what matters is that the right botanical, properly prepared, gets into the hands of consumers and makes a positive contribution to their quality of life.
Creating a fully vertically integrated field to finish botanical program requires enormous time and energy and dedication. But if the whole operation adheres to strict standards, then a vertically integrated botanical program ensures tight controls over all phases of production, resulting in a fine quality product. At KSM-66 we’ve chosen this path, as we are determined to continue to produce the World’s Best Ashwagandha.