Ashwagandha for Hair Loss: Does it Help?

Ashwagandha is used by many individuals today to achieve better health, such as through stress management, hormonal support, and improved exercise performance.  One of the lesser-known uses of ashwagandha is …

Photo of author
Written by: Jack Cincotta, MS
Published on:
Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
Learn about our editorial process

Ashwagandha is used by many individuals today to achieve better health, such as through stress management, hormonal support, and improved exercise performance. 

One of the lesser-known uses of ashwagandha is to support hair growth and hair health, although this has become a more popular discussion in recent times. This article covers the overall research regarding ashwagandha and hair loss, explaining the potential benefits, mechanisms, safety aspects, and dosing considerations. 

ashwagandha for hair loss

Ashwagandha Overview:

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb native to India, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East. It is one of the most revered herbs in Ayurveda, which primarily results from its versatile panel of benefits. 

Specifically, ashwagandha possesses adaptogenic properties, which helps the body manage and recover from stressors. Ashwagandha has also been used to promote sexual function and fertility, improve exercise performance, enhance cognitive function, and improve overall vitality. 

These benefits are attributed to the numerous bioactive compounds in ashwagandha, particularly a group of compounds called the withanolides, which are found at highest levels in the roots.

Does Ashwagandha Work for Hair Loss?

Yes, ashwagandha seems to work for hair loss. Evidence indicates that ashwagandha supports hair growth through a variety of mechanisms. However, the research is quite limited overall, so this is not to say that ashwagandha is definitely effective for hair growth in all individuals. 

In one clinical study on adults with mild to moderate alopecia (hair loss), those who used an ashwagandha root extract serum for 75 days experienced less hair shedding, and improved hair density, growth, and thickness compared to the placebo group. 

In an in vivo study, researchers found that ashwagandha extract showed promising hair growth activity, including helping to strengthen hair follicles. 

In an in vitro study, a standardized ashwagandha extract increased hair follicle proliferation and enhanced the expression of various hair follicle growth factors.  

How Does Ashwagandha Work for Hair Loss?

There are several potential mechanisms that explain ashwagandha’s benefits in cases of hair loss or hair thinning.

1. Effects on Stress & Cortisol

Ashwagandha has been shown in many clinical trials, such as this one,  to reduce cortisol and overall stress on the body. This is important because high stress and cortisol levels can disrupt hair follicle health, possibly promoting hair loss. So, by helping to control stress, ashwagandha may help keep hair healthy and strong by preventing stress-induced damage. 

2. Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Other research has shown that ashwagandha extracts offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in the hair and scalp. This may not only help repair existing hair damage, it may also help lessen the effects of future oxidative stress on the hair and scalp. 

3. Regulation of Hair Follicle Growth

Studies have also shown that ashwagandha supports the expression of proteins involved in hair growth and hair follicle generation. This is also supported by other research, showing the ability of ashwagandha extracts to promote hair follicle proliferation and the expression of growth factors involved in hair growth. 

4. Effects on Blood Flow

Lastly, ashwagandha has been shown in clinical research to improve nitric oxide levels and endothelial function. This may lead to greater blood flow and nutrient delivery to the hair and scalp, which promotes a healthier environment for hair growth. 

ashwagandha benefits for hair loss

Ashwagandha for Hair Loss:

To support hair growth, the best form of ashwagandha is likely a topical root extract serum. This is because of the more direct application, coupled with the fact that the only clinical trial on ashwagandha for hair growth utilized a topical serum. 

Additionally, topical application is the preferred route when one is dealing with hair issues characterized by high levels of inflammation and oxidative stress, given that the topical forms are typically higher in total withanolides and can act more directly on these issues. 

This is not to say that an oral ashwagandha supplement will not be effective. In fact, oral ashwagandha should very likely be able to support hair growth and help in cases of hair thinning via all of the different ways it works in the body. 

Regardless of which supplement is chosen, it’s important to choose one with a high level of withanolides (typically higher than 5% total withanolides, as was used in the clinical trial) as these are the components in ashwagandha shown to have the greatest bioactive effects. 

Dosage & Administration:

When using a topical form, the typical dose is 1 to 2 drops per day, spread out evenly over the hair and scalp.

If using an oral supplement, an effective dosage to start with based on clinical research is between 300 to 600mg per day. This can be split up into two doses or just taken once daily. 

Click here to learn more about the recommended dosages for ashwagandha.

Safety Considerations:

Current research shows that ashwagandha is generally safe and well-tolerated when supplemented at the recommended doses. 

However, there are possible side effects. When taking the oral form, these include drowsiness, sedation, headache, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal issues. When taking the topical form, this may cause allergic reactions or symptoms of sensitivity, such as redness and itching. 

Ashwagandha may also interact with various medications, including immunosuppressants, various sedatives and relaxant medications, as well as drugs for high blood sugar and high blood pressure. 

For a full detailed breakdown of ashwagandha’s side effects and safety aspects, check out this article

Read More:

Below, we’ve compiled several articles going over additional information regarding Ashwagandha for further reading.

• Ashwagandha Dosing: How Much Should You Take Per Day?

• Ashwagandha for Teens and Kids

• Ashwagandha Side Effects & Safety

• Benefits of Ashwagandha for Anxiety & Stress

• Benefits of Ashwagandha for Men

• Benefits of Ashwagandha for Sleep

• Benefits of Ashwagandha for Women

• Can I Take Ashwagandha While Pregnant?

• Does Ashwagandha Kill Emotions?

• When to Take Ashwagandha


Ashwagandha appears to be useful in cases of hair loss and hair thinning. While the research is limited overall, the primary clinical trial on ashwagandha and hair loss showed very promising results, not to mention all of the promising preclinical data showing multiple supportive mechanisms. 

Ashwagandha seems to support hair growth due its ability to reduce stress, improve blood flow, counter oxidative stress and inflammation, and support scalp and follicular health. When choosing a supplement, it is likely best to use a topical form standardized to greater than 5% withanolides, although oral ashwagandha is quite suitable too. 

Overall, ashwagandha has the potential to improve hair growth and support overall hair health, provided one uses a high-quality product and takes it consistently for at least several weeks. 

Photo of author

About Jack Cincotta, MS

Jack has a Master of Science degree in Psychology and is also an AADP® Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and AFPA® Certified Holistic Health Coach. His passion is to help people develop optimal levels of health, particularly mental health.