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How to cycle ashwagandha preventing cortisol blunting

How To Cycle Ashwagandha: Preventing Cortisol-Blunting

Ashwagandha is a renowned herb in traditional Ayurvedic medicine known for its adaptogenic properties. But like all good things, moderation, and strategic usage are key. In this guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of how to cycle Ashwagandha to maximize its benefits while avoiding potential drawbacks, such as cortisol blunting. By understanding the importance of cycling, we can harness Ashwagandha’s healing properties while mitigating any potential risks.

Understanding Cortisol: The Stress Hormone

Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” plays a crucial role in regulating various processes in the body, including metabolism, immune response, blood pressure, and circadian rhythm. It’s released by the adrenal glands in response to stress, whether physical or emotional.

The Benefits of Cortisol

  1. Energy Regulation: Cortisol helps to maintain energy levels by converting proteins into glucose, a primary energy source.
  2. Immune System Support: Though it suppresses immune responses in certain circumstances, cortisol helps in balancing the immune system.
  3. Stress Response: Cortisol aids in the body’s fight-or-flight response, helping you react to stressors.

The Dark Side: Cortisol Blunting

While cortisol is essential for many bodily functions, excess or chronic exposure to it can lead to cortisol blunting. This condition refers to the body’s diminished response to stress, leading to an imbalance in cortisol levels.

Blunting your cortisol for too long can lead to:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Weight Gain
  3. Impaired Immune Function
  4. Depression and Anxiety
  5. Hormonal Imbalance
  6. Anhedonia and lethargy

Ashwagandha and Cortisol

Ashwagandha has been shown to lower cortisol levels in stressed individuals. It helps to modulate the stress response, leading to a calming effect.

The Benefits of Ashwagandha

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Studies have shown that Ashwagandha can significantly reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders (Chandrasekhar et al., 2012).
  2. Improves Sleep Quality: It has been linked to improved sleep and relaxation (Langade et al., 2019).
  3. Enhances Cognitive Function: Ashwagandha may improve brain function, memory, and reaction times (Choudhary et al., 2017).

The Risks of Continuous Usage

While Ashwagandha has profound benefits, continuous usage without breaks can lead to cortisol blunting, as it keeps suppressing cortisol levels. It’s essential to understand how to cycle Ashwagandha to prevent this.

How to Cycle Ashwagandha

Cycling means using the supplement for a specific period and then taking a break. Here’s a typical cycling protocol:

  1. On-Cycle: Take Ashwagandha for 4-8 weeks.
  2. Off-Cycle: Stop for 4 weeks.

This break allows the body to reset its cortisol response, mitigating the risk of cortisol blunting.


Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen with remarkable stress-relieving properties. But understanding how to cycle it is essential to fully harness its potential without falling into the trap of cortisol blunting. By following the guidelines mentioned above, one can maintain a healthy balance of cortisol and continue to enjoy the multiple benefits of this remarkable herb.


  1. Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255–262.
  2. Langade, D., Kanchi, S., Salve, J., Debnath, K., & Ambegaokar, D. (2019). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus, 11(9), e5797.
  3. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599–612.

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