How to Cycle Ashwagandha

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By Jack Cincotta, MS

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

How to Cycle Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a very popular health supplement, used by many to potentially reduce stress, improve athletic performance, aid sleep, and promote hormonal health.

However, you may be wondering if you have to cycle ashwagandha in order to reap the highest possible benefits.

Well, in this article we’ll go over how to cycle ashwagandha, who could benefit from this cycle, and other relevant information.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a shrub native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East. This plant and its constituents have been used for many years, dating back thousands of years in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine systems.

Out of all parts of this plant, the roots in particular are highest in the bioactive compounds, especially the group of compounds called withanolides.

These compounds have adaptogenic effects in the body, which may lead to a variety of mental, physical, and overall health benefits.


Potential Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogenic herb. And this literally means it helps the body to adapt in the face of stressors and improve one’s health and function.

The most well-researched benefits of ashwagandha are reduced stress and anxiety. But this herb has also been shown to increase testosterone, boost memory and cognition, enhance endurance, and improve sleep. 

Plus, it has general antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which carry over into a wide range of benefits.

Should You Cycle Ashwagandha?

For most people, it seems that you should cycle Ashwagandha for the greatest benefits. 

This is based on the idea that the body adapts and becomes desensitized to what it’s given, especially if it’s in large amounts for a long period of time.

So, even though ashwagandha is natural and isn’t a steroid or any other synthetic substance, the body still may develop a tolerance to its effects, as it does with many other compounds.

How to Cycle Ashwagandha

The exact cycle for ashwagandha depends on individual factors, such as how quickly it works for you and what benefits you’re looking for.

Ashwagandha Pills

Longer Approach

In general, clinical studies have shown benefits when using ashwagandha for around four to eight weeks. 

So, in the beginning, it seems best to take ashwagandha for the prescribed four to eight weeks. And then you can take a one to two week break before using it again. This can be continued indefinitely, although later on you could also adopt a shorter cycle.

Shorter Cycle

You can also consider a shorter cycle based on a week, in which you take ashwagandha for five days and then stop using it for the last two days.

This shorter approach is likely best after you’ve already taken the initial, longer approach. This is because it takes time initially for most people to experience benefits. But then after that it may not take as long.

With that said, this shorter cycle could also be a viable option for some people right away if you find that you’re someone who experiences the benefits of ashwagandha rather quickly.

Common Cycles

Overall, regardless of how you cycle ashwagandha, it should be roughly a 4:1 to 5:2 ratio of days on to days off. 

Popular examples of this are:

  • Four weeks on; one week off
  • Eight weeks on: two weeks off
  • Five days on: two days off
  • 10 days on: four days off

Ashwagandha Dosage

To make the most out of your ashwagandha cycle, you also need to use the right dosage.

Research shows that an effective dose of ashwagandha is generally between 100 to 1,200mg, with the most common range between 300 to 600mg per day. 

When choosing a supplement, it should also be standardized to contain 5 to 10% withanolides, as these are the most important bioactive compounds in ashwagandha.

Is Cycling with Ashwagandha Safe?

Ashwagandha is generally recognized as safe when consumed in the recommended amount. There still are possible side effects, though, such as:

  • Headache
  • Depression/Anhedonia
  • Blurred Vision
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset Stomach
  • Drowsiness

As with any supplement, some people may simply not respond well to it. So always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement.

Conclusion: How to Cycle Ashwagandha

Cycling ashwagandha is a smart thing to do if you want to maximize its benefits. The best way to cycle ashwagandha is to use anywhere from a 4:1 to 5:2 days on/days off approach. Lengthier cycles using these ratios may be best in the beginning, whereas one can adopt shorter cycles after this initial period if desired.

Overall, when taken at the correct dosage and cycled in an intelligent manner, ashwagandha has a higher likelihood of giving you the benefits you want while also keeping your body responsive and healthy.

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Jack Cincotta, MS

Jack Cincotta is a certified holistic health coach through AFPA and a board-certified holistic health practitioner through AADP. He has written hundreds of articles on nutrition and supplementation. Jack has a M.S. degree in Psychology and is passionate about researching the science behind nutrition. He often uses research-backed supplementation protocols for many of his clients to optimize results.