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Sabinsa’s new study on ashwagandha ingredient adds to botanical’s stress relief story

Ingredient supplier Sabinsa has published data on an ashwagandha offering that supports relief of mild to moderate stress in a healthy population.

Hank Schultz

December 5, 2023

3 Min Read
Ashwagandha shown to relieve stress

At a Glance

  • New study supports how ashwagandha can relieve everyday stress.
  • Ashwagandha market growth is significantly outpacing that of overall botanical ingredient market.

Indian supplier Sabinsa is highlighting a study on its standardized ashwagandha ingredient that expands the stress relief potential of this Ayurvedic mainstay. 

Sabinsa brands its ingredient as Shagandha and offers it as a root-only extract standardized to 2.5% withanolides, which the company says makes it “USP grade.” (The company also offers a root-and-leaves ashwagandha extract, which it says has a place in the market and offers distinct benefits of its own.) 

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb that has been an Ayurvedic mainstay with a recorded history of use on the subcontinent stretching back as far as 3,000 years ago.  

The botanical is classified within Ayurveda as a rasayana, which can be translated as “rejuvenative tonic.” 

Ashwagandha part of overall pattern of use 

As with many traditional medicine systems, Ayurveda extends beyond the herbs themselves into how they are used in combination with diet and lifestyle modifications such as meditation and yoga. In 2018, Mandip Goyal, executive editor of the journal Ayu, which is devoted to modern scientific research on Ayurvedic principles, published a treatise in that journal that said “Rasayana is one of the comprehensive disciplines of Ayurveda, which comprises a specialized use of herbs, herbomineral formulations, food articles and lifestyle.” 

Related:India: Challenges and Opportunities

He noted “Rasayana is a way to achieve homeostasis and thus retarding the process of aging” and that “Rasayana can be understood as nutritional dynamics for rejuvenation of body and psyche.” 

However, many of these practices are difficult to translate in their entire forms to the lifestyles of most people in industrialized countries. In order to deliver some of the benefits to modern consumers, ingredient suppliers like Sabinsa rely on clinical trials that are relevant to the present-day supplement marketplace. 

Making effects relevant to market 

The company, which is based in Bengaluru, India and has offices in New Jersey and Utah, released the results of a recent study on the Shagandha ingredient, combined with the company’s BioPerine piperine extract bioavailability enhancer. The study is focused on stress symptoms in a healthy population. 

The study, “A standardized Ashwagandha root extract alleviates stress, anxiety, and improves quality of life in healthy adults by modulating stress hormones,” was published in the journal Medicine.  

Sabinsa recruited 54 individuals, of whom 50 completed the 60-day, placebo-controlled and randomized study. The study was conducted at two sites in southern India. 

Study participants were generally healthy men and women aged 21 to 54 who were experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate stress. More men than women participated in the study. 

Participants took capsules with 500 milligrams (mg) of Shagandha and 5 mg of BioPerine or an identical placebo for 60 days. The subjects completed several surveys at the beginning and end of the study to measure their stress levels and quality of life and also performed cognitive tests. 

Blood was drawn at baseline and conclusion of the study, and the researchers sampled the subjects’ saliva as well. 

Stress reduction shown both in survey measures as well as saliva 

The researchers concluded 500 mg of Shagandha plus 5 mg of BioPerine daily could yield “positive effects on stress and anxiety and improve the quality of life in healthy individuals with mild to moderate stress. A significant improvement could be observed in cognitive tasks, multitasking and concentration in comparison to placebo.” 

The researchers said the intervention also reduced cortisol levels in the subjects’ saliva and boosted their serotonin levels compared to placebo. 

Fast-growing market 

Sabinsa claims it is the first ashwagandha study to include the use of a bioenhancer. The result could help capture more of the fast-growing ashwagandha market. 

According to the latest data from Informa Markets’ Nutrition Business Journal, ashwagandha sales have grown 13.5% so far in 2023, significantly outpacing the overall herbs and botanicals market, which has experienced 3.2% growth. 



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Supplement Science

About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz has been the Senior Editor of Natural Products Insider since early 2023. 

Prior to joining the Informa team he was an editor at NutraIngredients-USA, a William Reed Business Media publication.

His approach to industry journalism was formed via a long career in the daily newspaper field.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and German, Hank was an editor at the Tempe Daily News in Arizona. He followed that with a long stint working at the Rocky Mountain News, a now defunct daily newspaper in Denver, where he rose to be one of the city editors.  The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his time there.

The changing landscape of the newspaper industry led him to explore other career paths. He began his career in the natural products industry more than a decade ago at New Hope Natural Media, which was then part of Penton and now is an Informa brand. Hank formed friendships and partnerships within the industry that still inform his work to this day, which helps him to bring an insider’s perspective, tempered with an objective journalist’s sensibility, to his in-depth reporting.

Harkening back to his newspaper days, Hank considers the readers to be the primary stakeholders whose needs must be met. Report the news quickly, comprehensively and above all, fairly, and readership and sponsorships will follow.

In 2015, Hank was recognized by the American Herbal Products Association with a Special Award for Journalistic Excellence.

When he’s not reporting on the supplement industry, Hank enjoys many outside pursuits. Those include long distance bicycle touring, mountain climbing, sailing, kayaking, and fishing. Less strenuous pastimes include travel, reading (novels and nonfiction), studying German, noodling on a harmonica, sketching and a daily dose of word puzzles in The New York Times.

Last but far from least, Hank is a lifelong fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

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