Astragalus vs. Ashwagandha – Full Head-to-Head Comparison 

Since you’re here, you’ve probably come across Astragalus and Ashwagandha.

Since both of these are very popular nowadays, and both stem from Asian traditional medicine, it’s no wonder many want to know a lot more about them.

So, today, we’ll delve into the details of these supplements and help you understand how they differ, how they’re similar, and what they’re supposedly good at.

We might even figure out which one’s better.

What Are Astragalus Supplements?

Astragalus is a plant native to China, often used in traditional Chinese medicine. 

The supplement is usually made from the roots of the plant and is popularly known for its immune-boosting properties, but other things have also been associated with it.

Current scientific research, although quite controversial, indicates potential benefits, like reduced inflammation, improved skin health, managing symptoms of diabetes, and improved heart health. [1]

However, as we’ve said, the current research is not the most trustworthy, so we definitely need a lot more rigorous research to back up any of these claims definitively.

What Are Ashwagandha Supplements?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. 

Originating from India, this adaptogenic herb is thought to help your body manage stress more effectively, amongst many other things. 

Unlike Astragalus, there’s quite a bit of clinical research on Ashwagandha. 

What we can see from those studies is that Ashwagandha not only manages to help us cope with stress and anxiety, but it might even enhance brain function, lower blood sugar, improve fertility, elevate testosterone, and even boost physical performance.

What’s the Difference Between Astragalus vs. Ashwagandha?

While they both originate from Asia and are both herbal supplements, these two aren’t so similar. 

The key difference between Astragalus and Ashwagandha lies in their primary health benefit and the bodily systems they target, but since we’ll cover that in a later portion, let’s discuss the reason behind those differences – their active compounds.

The bioactive compounds found in Astragalus include flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides. 

Flavonoids are potent antioxidants that contribute to the overall health benefits of Astragalus, including its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Saponins have been linked to potential benefits in heart health, while polysaccharides are suggested to play a role in the plant’s immune-boosting effects. 

A particularly unique compound is Astragaloside IV, which is believed to be the main reason for the vast majority of its effects.

With Ashwagandha, on the other hand, we have alkaloids and steroidal lactones, collectively known as withanolides. 

Withaferin A and Withanolide D are two of the primary withanolides believed to be responsible for the various medicinal properties of Ashwagandha. 

Particularly, they’re suggested to have a role in the herb’s adaptogenic (stress-reducing) properties, and some research even points towards the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of these compounds. [2]

But as you can probably imagine, the full extent of how these compounds contribute to the health effects of these two is still under research.

How Do the Benefits of Astragalus vs. Ashwagandha Compare?

Both Astragalus and Ashwagandha supposedly boast impressive benefits, but they differ somewhat in their primary areas of effectiveness. 

Astragalus seems to be beneficial mainly for immune health, potentially aiding in preventing or fighting colds and flu and even improving heart health. [3]

But that’s not all.

There’s also a lot of talk about its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, as well as its effect on kidney health, diabetes, various neurological disorders, cancer, etc.

On the other hand, Ashwagandha appears to shine in mental health support.

As we’ve said, It’s classified as an adaptogen, helping the body manage stress.

Ashwagandha has been extensively studied in this area, and its effects on anxiety and overall mental well-being have been nothing but impressive. [4]

In addition, a large number of studies suggest it may also help with physical performance, recovery, sleep, and even immune health, potentially even to a greater degree than Astragalus.

Specific Use Cases of Astragalus

Astragalus is most commonly used as an immune booster, especially during flu season. 

As you’ll see if you look it up, most people just take it for a few weeks in order to weather the storm when those nasty sniffles come around.

But at the same time, some also use it as a supplement that helps them power through chemo. And even though there’s no real scientific evidence suggesting it could help, people are generally pleased with the effects.

Finally, many use it to keep their youthful appearances, but we can’t say we’ve found any sound evidence to back this up other than anecdotal reports.

Specific Use Cases of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is commonly taken to help cope with stress and anxiety.

Whether that’s just daily life struggles or a generalized anxiety disorder – ashwagandha seems to help.

Many also use it to enhance physical performance.

And yes, there are some studies that showcase a positive effect of Ashwagandha on testosterone levels, power output, recovery, etc., but still, it is worth noting that none of those studies are absolutely conclusive, and there’s a lot more we need to know before we make any definitive statements.

But yes, it seems like you can take Ashwagandha if you want to perform better in the gym.

Does Astragalus or Ashwagandha Have Any Side Effects?

Both Astragalus and Ashwagandha are generally well-tolerated, but they’re not free of potential side effects. 

Astragalus may cause digestive upset in some individuals, and Ashwagandha might cause minor side effects like sleepiness, headaches, or stomach discomfort. 

Thankfully, most of these side effects are short-lived and are usually the result of an overly potent dose.

One thing we must add is that, once again, we don’t have any research on the long-term effects of these two, so cycling on and off would probably be the best course of action if you decide to take either.

Bottom Line: Astragalus vs. Ashwagandha – Which is Better?

All things considered, Ashwagandha appears to be the better supplement of the two.

To put it simply, Ashwagandha has been extensively studied and has shown more than promising results in multiple areas. 

Its adaptogenic properties make it an excellent choice for stress management and anxiety reduction, and considering that some research suggests that Ashwagandha may also improve immune function, it’s only natural we crown it the winner.

How We Rate Astragalus as a Supplement:

All things considered, Astragalus may be a somewhat valuable supplement. But at the same time, there really isn’t a lot of research backing it up, so we have to give it a 2 out of 5.

However, if we end up having more robust, large-scale human studies that confirm these theories, anecdotes, and animal study findings – we’ll be the first to rate it higher. 

How We Rate Ashwagandha as a Supplement:

Ashwagandha’s stress-relieving potential is more than promising. At this point, it’s pretty much guaranteed, and if we take that and other evidence in mind – we have to give it a 4 out of 5.

Considering the stressful lives we live today, having an anti-stress supplement in your arsenal sounds more than useful. And if you also remember that it could boost your physical performance – you get yourself a very good supplement.

Conclusion

While we definitely prefer Ashwagandha over Austragalus at this point, we are not dismissive of Astragalus.

Until we have more data, we can’t be.

It’s just that Ashwagandha appears to be more effective, so that’s what we’re going with today.

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Aesthetyk

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