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Kratom and Ashwagandha: Exploring Similarities, Differences & Potentiation

Herbal supplements continue to gain popularity all over the world and Kratom and Ashwagandha are no exceptions to this trend. While Kratom from Southeast Asia is more famous in Western culture for its blend of potential energizing and relaxing properties, Ashwagandha originates from the Middle East, India, and Africa and is sought after for its potential adaptogenic (stress management) properties.

Kratom may provide a light boost in energy similar to caffeine, providing stimulating effects with less of the jittery feelings associated with the latter. On the other hand, Ashwagandha may possibly reduce stress, benefit hormones, reduce restlessness and provide a subtle cognitive and mood boost. With both herbs’ potential benefits, users have also started questioning whether combining the two and potentiating their effects is a possibility.

This guide covers each of Kratom and Ashwagandha’s distinct characteristics and the features people often seek out. We’ll also discuss the possibility of combining these two to enhance their overall potential effects.

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A Glimpse at The Comparisons Between Kratom and Ashwagandha

OriginSoutheast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.)Primarily India, also found in parts of the Middle East and Africa
Family NameRubiaceaeSolanaceae
Main PotentialsMay offer a boost in energy at lower quantities and a sense of calm at higher quantities. Potential for mood enhancement.Known for its potential to support stress management, enhance focus and vitality, and promote overall well-being.
Active IngredientsMitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine (Alkaloids)Withanolides (Type of plant steroid)

Generally, Kratom belongs to the Rubiacae family (which is the same family as coffee), while Ashwagandha is under the Solanaceae family. Both contain different types of natural chemicals but are different in their effects and how they work. Dozens of alkaloids constitute Kratom, with mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine providing the most significant effect profile and being the most studied.

On the other hand, advocates call Ashwagandha an adaptogenic herb due to its potential to reduce stress and cortisol. Its active components are more commonly known as withanolides, a group of plant steroids.

Regarding both these herbs’ effects, Kratom is known to provide energy-stimulating effects at minimal dosage ranges and relaxing and sedating properties as you up the dose. On the contrary, Ashwagandha is non-psychoactive and may help manage stress and calm a restless mind.

Zooming in On Kratom

Despite the diversity in herbal supplements, Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, remains increasingly popular. There is a wide range of strain options, as well as leaf-vein color varieties of each strain. The primary color varieties of kratom are White, Red, and Green. The whites tend to be the most stimulating, while one may expect soothing effects with the red-veined strains and a balance between the reds and whites with the green varieties.

You may also see Yellow and Gold color varieties; however, these are blends of different kratom color varieties and not an actual leaf-vein color. Most yellow and gold kratom strains are a mixture of reds with whites or with whites and green and Gold differs from Yellow’s by an additional fermentation process.

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Now, let’s discuss Kratom’s alkaloid content. On average, each Kratom strain contains 30 or more alkaloids. The concentration and composition may vary between strains and varieties, but mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are always the primary salkaloids. These two are also responsible for most of the potential effects you may experience with Kratom, regardless of the strain.

As much as Kratom has gained a large following because of its potential benefits and effects, there are certainly risks to be aware of, such as adverse effects, rare severe adverse effects, and habit formation, to name a few.

The Uniqueness of Ashwagandha

With roots traced back to India, the Middle East, and Africa, Ashwagandha is also a traditional herbal supplement. Tribes have used this botanical in the past, significantly influencing the traditional practices of Ayurveda. Scientifically known as Withania somnifera, Ashwagandha has been used for centuries because of its potential to aid body the body and reduce stress. The botanical also goes by the names of “Indian Ginseng” or “Indian Winter Cherry.”

Ashwagandha differs from Kratom due to its natural chemicals, their mechanisms, and their effects on the body and mind. This adaptogenic herb helps find your body’s equilibrium by reducing cortisol levels and possibly aiding in concentration, mood and mental wellness. Besides the potential for aiding in stress, cognition, and mood benefits, Ashwagandha may also positively influence hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone.

Kratom and Ashwagandha: Similarities and Differences


Potential for Stress and RelaxationBoth are sought after for their potential to aid in stress management and promote relaxation.
Forms AvailableThey are available in various forms, including powder, capsule, and extract, making them versatile for consumer use.

image of how are ashwagandha and kratom similar and different


Primary MechanismEffects from plant steroids: WithanolidesEffects from alkaloids: Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine
Safety and RisksFewer safety concerns; non-habit formingMore safety considerations; potentially habit-forming
LegalityLegal in all 50 statesIllegal in 6 states and subject to restrictions in several countries and cities

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Health Applications

Kratom provides psychoactive effects on the human brain and body, and you may expect more varied effects than Ashwagandha, especially with different dosages and strains. With Ashwagandha, it’s commonly more subtle and gradual, with no psychoactive effects. Ashwagandha’s effects are more indirect, and there may be instances when it takes a few days to weeks before you notice the share of positive effects.

Side Effects and Safety

The side effects and safety of both herbs are also different, and Kratom carries more varied side effects and safety concerns when compared to Ashwaganha.  Kratom’s common side effects include headaches, dizziness, nausea, constipation, stomach upset, eye wobbles, mood disturbances, and lethargy. There are also reports of more severe and rare side effects. However, these are much more common in those mixing Kratom with certain medications and drugs and in those with certain health conditions.

Therefore, one should always discuss Kratom with their doctor before using it. And because Kratom is potentially also habit-forming, care and caution are important when choosing the right dose and regimen while avoiding daily and heavy usage.

On the other hand, Ashwagandha has fewer side effects as an adaptogenic herb because it mainly helps your body achieve a state of balance. The herb is generally well-tolerated in most people, with some common side effects usually based on stomach / GI or digestive discomfort. However, in very rare circumstances, some people might develop allergic reactions to it.

Dosage Range

Kratom and Ashwagandha are similar in that you may commonly get them in dried powder, capsules, or liquid extracts. In plain, non-extracted leaves, Ashwagandha’s dose range is typically between 250 and 500 milligrams, while the dose for kratom ranges typically from 1 gram to 6 grams.

What sets both herbs apart are the effects you may experience with minimal and maximal doses. As we mentioned, lower Kratom doses tend to have more stimulating and energizing effects, while higher doses might provide more relaxing and soothing properties. For Ashwagandha, since it is non-psychoactive, the noticeable effects won’t change like Kratom’s do with changing the dosage.

Mixing Ashwagandha and Kratom: Is It Possible?

Unfortunately, targeted research studies are still non-existent when it comes to mixing Kratom and Ashwagandha. However, there have been users who reported combining both herbal supplements and experiencing better benefits than taking them individually. Ultimately, since kratom has many interactions with other substances, it is not recommended to mix it with anything, as mixing could increase the risk of both common and severe side effects.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: The content on this page is strictly for entertainment purposes only. The content below has not been medically reviewed and is not intended to offer advice for use or intended use. For more information about kratom and its potential dangers, please visit the fda.gov site.

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