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Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

Ashwagandha Vs Ginseng: Differences, Pros & Cons Of These 2 Adaptogenic Herbs



Ashwagandha and Ginseng are both renowned adaptogenic herbs that assist the body in adapting to stress. Ashwagandha has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine and is traditionally known for promoting calm, enhancing sleep, and sharpening focus. In contrast, Ginseng, native to regions of Korea, China, and America, has been utilized for millennia to boost energy, improve cognitive function, and enhance vitality. Both these herbs share multiple benefits, such as stress reduction, enhanced cognition, and antioxidant properties. However, their mechanisms of action and specific benefits vary, alongside safety considerations and potential interactions. 



What is Ashwagandha?



Ashwagandha, scientifically known as Withania Somnifera or the Winter Cherry (also sometimes known as Indian ginseng), is a perennial shrub belonging to the nightshade family, predominantly found in India, Africa, and the Middle East.

For centuries, Ashwagandha has been an essential herbal medicine in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine system dating back over 3000 years. It offers a holistic solution for chronic stress, low mood, fatigue, fertility challenges, and overall vitality, and may provide aphrodisiac qualities! Its core bioactive and pharmacological constituents are withanolides, with withaferin A and withanolide D being the most prominent.


Benefits of Ashwagandha:


  • Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Ashwagandha has been shown to effectively lower cortisol levels (by up to 30%), the body's primary stress hormone, leading to a reduction in stress and anxiety. [1]

  • Enhancement of Cognitive Function: Regular intake of Ashwagandha may lead to improved brain function, memory, and concentration. [2]

  • Physical Performance Benefits: Ashwagandha can potentially increase muscle mass, strength, and stamina. It’s also hypothesized that the antiinflammatory effects of withanolides may also support post-exercise recovery. [3] [4]

  • Sleep Quality Enhancement: It is known to promote sound sleep and regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle. [5]

  • Supports low thyroid function: Ashwagandha may help to increase the production of thyroid hormones in those with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). [6]

  • Vitality and Libido Boost: Ashwagandha can enhance energy and libido, especially in men.

  • Fertility Support: It has been shown to improve sperm quality and fertility in men. [7]


What is Ginseng?



Ginseng, often referred to as Panax Ginseng or Korean Red Ginseng, is a slow-growing perennial plant with fleshy roots, predominantly found in Korea, China, and parts of North America. It holds a significant place in traditional Chinese medicine for its rejuvenating properties.

The primary active components of Ginseng are ginsenosides, which are responsible for its diverse medicinal properties. [8]


Benefits of Ginseng:


  • Energy Enhancement: Ginseng is renowned for its ability to boost energy levels and combat fatigue. [9]

  • Cognitive Function Improvement: It can potentially improve cognitive abilities, especially in tasks requiring concentration. [10]

  • Immunity Boost: Regular consumption can strengthen the immune system and increase resistance against infections. [11]

  • Mood Enhancement: Ginseng may have the ability to improve mood and help combat symptoms of depression, although more research is needed. [12]

  • Antioxidant Properties: Certain phytochemical constituents found in ginseng may protect the body against oxidative stress by neutralizing harmful free radicals. [13]


What Are The Differences Between Ashwagandha Vs Ginseng?


The main difference between Ashwagandha and Ginseng is their origins, active compounds, and specific health benefits. While Ashwagandha is often associated with improvements in anxiety, stress, and sleep, Ginseng is more commonly linked to combating fatigue, enhancing cognition, and boosting mood.

That said, Ginseng and Ashwagandha are both adaptogens, meaning they can help the body adapt to stress. This shared property makes them commonly used in formulations intended to support stress management and overall well-being, however Ashwagandha tends to be more calming, while Ginseng is considered to be more “energizing”.



Health Differences Between Ashwagandha and Ginseng:

Ashwagandha and Ginseng are both powerful herbs, each boasting a unique set of health benefits. 

Ashwagandha is primarily renowned for its adaptogenic qualities, helping the body combat chronic stress by reducing cortisol levels. This herb also promotes better sleep, enhances cognitive function, supports immune health, and aids in hormonal balance. [14]

On the other hand, Ginseng is celebrated for its revitalizing properties, offering a notable boost in energy and combating fatigue. Furthermore, Ginseng enhances both cognitive and physical performance, strengthens the immune response, assists in regulating blood sugar levels, and has mood-elevating effects. [15]

While both herbs provide myriad benefits, Ashwagandha tends to be more associated with relaxation and stress relief, whereas Ginseng is often sought after for its energizing and cognitive-enhancing attributes, which may be beneficial for people feeling burnout from prolonged stress.

Safety Differences Between Ashwagandha and Ginseng


Both Ashwagandha and Ginseng are generally considered safe for most individuals when taken as recommended. However, they might interact with certain medications and may not be suitable for all, especially for those with specific health conditions.

Ashwagandha can interact with medications for diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and thyroid disorders. It's not recommended for pregnant or nursing women and those with hyperthyroidism or autoimmune conditions. 

Some individuals taking Ashwagandha might experience side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, or nausea.

Ginseng can interact with medications like blood thinners, antidiabetic drugs, and those affecting the immune system. It's also advised to be cautious when taken alongside stimulants because of its energizing effects. Pregnant or nursing women, as well as individuals with high blood pressure, should also exercise caution.

Potential side effects of Ginseng include headaches, insomnia, and digestive issues.

As always, before incorporating any new supplement into your regimen, consulting with a healthcare provider to ensure it's the right choice for your individual needs is paramount.



Consumption Method Differences Between Ashwagandha and Ginseng


Ashwagandha, given its extensive use in traditional medicine, is found in a diverse array of forms. Commonly, the root extract is encapsulated, providing a convenient means of intake. The powdered form of Ashwagandha, derived from drying the root, is versatile and can be incorporated into smoothies, teas, or other drinks. 

Recently, the market has seen the introduction of Ashwagandha gummies, a flavorful alternative for those averse to the taste of the powder or who find swallowing capsules challenging. Additionally, Ashwagandha teas and tinctures cater to those who favor these consumption methods.

Ginseng, particularly the Panax variety, is predominantly available in capsule or tablet formats. 

However, there are also Ginseng teas and soups, especially popular in Asian cultures. Ginseng tinctures and extracts are gaining traction, providing a concentrated form that's easy to consume. Ginseng powder, though less common than its encapsulated counterpart, can be blended into beverages, much like Ashwagandha powder.



Can You Take Ashwagandha and Ginseng Together?


Yes! Taking Ashwagandha and Ginseng together is generally considered safe. Their combined effects can be synergistic, offering enhanced energy, reduced stress, and overall well-being. 

However, users should always be cautious and consult a healthcare professional when combining multiple supplements.



Pros and Cons of Ashwagandha Vs Ginseng:


When deciding between Ashwagandha and Ginseng, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of each herb.

Ashwagandha stands out for its adaptogenic properties, renowned for alleviating stress by modulating cortisol levels. Its benefits include promoting better sleep, cognitive enhancement, and supporting hormonal balance, especially beneficial for thyroid health. 

Moreover, the diverse forms in which Ashwagandha is available, such as capsules, powders, teas, and even gummies, offer users an array of choices for consumption. Yet, it's worth noting that high doses of Ashwagandha might lead to side effects like digestive disturbances and nausea. 

Additionally, it's advised against its use during pregnancy and for individuals with hyperthyroidism or autoimmune disorders.

Ginseng, conversely, is celebrated for its energizing effects, supporting vitality and cognition. It's a go-to for those seeking enhanced physical and mental stamina. 

However, Ginseng might lead to side effects such as headaches or insomnia, particularly when consumed in large quantities. Some users also report feeling jittery or anxious after taking Ginseng. 

While Ginseng is predominantly available in capsules, pills, or teas, its limited consumption methods might be seen as a drawback for those desiring more varied options. Also, although Ginseng has a longstanding reputation for boosting energy and supporting cognitive function, its influence on other aspects of health, like hormonal balance, isn't as extensively studied as that of Ashwagandha.



What Are The Advantages of Ashwagandha Compared To Ginseng?


When it comes to comparing Ashwagandha Vs Ginseng, there are some areas where Ashwagandha has more advantages, such as:

  • Ashwagandha has been more extensively studied than Ginseng

  • Ashwagandha does not have the "stimulant" properties that Ginseng does, making it a better choice for those with anxiety or insomnia.

  • Unlike Ginseng, research shows that Ashwagandha boosts thyroid hormones, which can be beneficial for those with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function).

  • Ashwagandha is available in more forms than ginseng, making it more versatile to consume.



How To Use Ashwagandha and Ginseng



  • Ashwagandha: The recommended dosage of Ashwagandha ranges from 500mg-1900mg per day for men and women, split into 2-3 separate doses. Certain clinical trials have used 600 mg of Ashwagandha per day, while other studies suggest higher doses may be more effective, such as 1300-1900 mg per day of full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract.


Take Ashwagandha with or without food at any time of the day or night.

  • Ginseng: The standard recommended dosage for Ashwagandha ranges from 1-2 grams of whole root or 200-400mg of ginseng extract per day for men and women. It’s best to start with the lowest dose and work up from there to avoid feeling overstimulated.


Take Ginseng with food, preferably in the morning, due to its energizing properties.


Make sure to speak to your doctor before adding Ginseng or Ashwagandha to your routine, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking medications, or have any pre-existing health conditions.




NutriRise Ashwagandha: The Superior Choice



NutriRise is a health and wellness brand providing dietary supplements to support the health of your mind, body, and spirit, including our top-selling Organic Ashwagandha, used by over 1 million happy customers.

Co-founders Basim & Ramsha Mirza started NutriRise in 2016, fuelled by the desire to transform their own health through the power of nutrition and ancient wisdom. NutriRise is now backed by a world-class team of researchers, chemists, biologists, doctors, and nutritionists. Every supplement we provide is produced in the USA in a CGMP-certified facility for unparalleled safety, purity, and quality.

At NutriRise, we ensure the quality and effectiveness of our Organic Ashwagandha Capsules and Ashwagandha Gummies by rigorous third-party testing. This stringent protocol helps us guarantee that the Ashwagandha we offer is of the highest standard. 

We also ensure you're getting the most potent and effective form of Ashwagandha by only using the root extract of the ashwagandha plant. This delivers the perfect, safe amount of bioactive withanolides for optimal thyroid support, stress relief, sleep and mood, hormonal balance, and overall vitality, making it the superior choice. 

Finally, we go beyond just creating and selling products; at NutriRise, we care deeply about the customer experience too. Through our efficient delivery system, we ensure your Ashwagandha reaches you in perfect condition with all of its incredible adaptogenic properties intact. By choosing NutriRise, you can trust in the quality and potency of each product, from our meticulous production processes to its arrival at your doorstep. 




Key Points


  • Ashwagandha and Ginseng are adaptogenic herbs, aiding in stress adaptation and balance.

  • Ashwagandha, from Ayurvedic tradition, excels in stress relief, sleep enhancement, and cognitive improvement.

  • Ginseng, native to regions in Asia and North America, is known for boosting energy, cognitive function, and mood.

  • Ashwagandha's active compounds are withanolides, while Ginseng's are ginsenosides.

  • Both herbs offer a range of health benefits, but their mechanisms and specific advantages differ.

  • Ashwagandha is versatile in consumption methods, including capsules and powders, while Ginseng is typically in capsule form.

  • While generally safe, both can interact with medications, so consultation with a healthcare provider is essential.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha or ginseng. 



Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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