If you have ever wondered what the difference between ashwagandha and shilajit is, you have come to the right place.
In this article, we briefly review ashwagandha and its benefits as compared to shilajit and its benefits, and provide an answer to which one is better to take.
What is the difference between ashwagandha and shilajit?
Ashwagandha and shilajit are similar in many ways, but they have distinct differences. Both are adaptogen herbs, but ashwagandha is a plant and shilajit is a mineral. Both reduce stress and are used for anti-aging and to support general health, but ashwagandha is often used to improve sleep quality while shilajit is often used to reduce chronic fatigue.
While ashwagandha and shilajit have many similarities, they are different. So understanding the specific benefits of each will help you make a better choice.
Let’s get started.
Similarities Between Ashwagandha and Shilajit
Ashwagandha and shilajit are both adaptogen herbs and therefore share some benefits. Adaptogen herbs are a group of herbs that support the body’s natural ability to cope with stress, whether physical, biological, or chemical.
Ashwagandha is an herb traditionally used in India as an alternative medicine to improve sleep, increase fertility, and promote anti-aging.
It goes by the scientific name, Withania somnifera, and it’s also known as the winter cherry or Indian ginseng.
By contrast, shilajit is a blackish-brown, sticky fluid formed by plant decomposition over hundreds of years.
Shilajit comes from several mountain ranges worldwide, especially the Himalayas and Tibet mountains.
And just like ashwagandha, shilajit has a long history of use as an alternative medicine with many different benefits, including reducing stress, improving cognition, boosting testosterone, and increasing energy.
Ashwagandha and shilajit have both been used as medicinal herbs for centuries in India and Nepal as Ayurvedic medicines.
Today, their use has extended to other countries, including the U.S.
Most people know ashwagandha and shilajit as adaptogens in supplements to improve overall health by helping the body better respond to stress in their lives, as well as protect their health from the dangers caused by stress.
But more specifically, these two herbs have been found to help with a long list of health issues, such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart health
- Brain health, and
- Male fertility
For example, here is how ashwagandha and shilajit can both support Alzheimer's disease:
A 2011 study showed that ashwagandha is useful in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s . The same study showed that the herb could help improve memory in children and older people with memory loss.
A person with Alzheimer’s experiences an accumulation of a protein called tau in the neurons. When this protein accumulates, it forms tangles between neurons, which disrupts neuron communication .
But according to a 2012 study, researchers found that fulvic acid, a major component of Shilajit, blocks tau, preventing the accumulation of this protein in the neurons. The result is improved communication between neurons, which can bring some relief to a person with Alzheimer’s disease .
In this example, both ashwagandha and shilajit may protect from Alzheimer’s, but in unique ways. This may be an important reason to take both shilajit and ashwagandha together.
The Benefits of Ashwagandha and Shilajit Adaptogens
Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of each.
What is Ashwagandha Best for?
Ashwagandha has multiple benefits and can help improve memory, reduce some disease risks, reduce inflammation, and slow aging, in addition to:
- Lowering blood sugar by increasing sensitivity to insulin
- Improving athletic performance by maximizing oxygen consumption
- Minimizing the symptoms of mental conditions like depression and bipolar disorder
- Improving male fertility
- Improving the quality of sleep
What is Shilajit Best For?
Shilajit is believed to contain more than 85 minerals and trace elements, including iron, zinc, and selenium. This potent combination of minerals may be the reason why shilajit is such a powerful natural healer.
Researchers show that shilajit has many health properties, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidiabetic . Additionally, it has antiallergenic, antifungal, and analgesic properties. This means it may minimize allergic reactions, prevent fungal growth, and relieve pain.
Shilajit can also help in the following ways:
- Helps with cognitive disorders due to its neuroprotective agents
- Enhances memory
- Protects against high altitudes illnesses, such as headaches and vomiting during flights
- Increases the level of testosterone in men
- Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, which improves heart health
- Helps fight some types of diseases due to its antioxidant properties
- Helps with anemia due to the high content of iron
These properties are why shilajit may be so popular for its anti-aging effects, including the ability to rejuvenate cells and give them more energy.
And for the same reason, shilajit is said to help with chronic fatigue. In fact, one study showed that lab rats given Shilajit had lower chances of developing chronic fatigue .
Should You Take Ashwagandha or Shilajit?
Ashwagandha and Shilajit can help you in similar ways. But each provides a unique benefit to the body. Because they have minimal side effects, it might be best to take both together.
But if you have to choose one, there are a few factors to consider, such as preference, price, availability, and possible side effects if taken out of the recommended dose.
For general health topics such as immunity boost, slowing the aging process, and building strength, either shilajit or ashwagandha is a good choice.
But for cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s, shilajit has more scientific backing showing that it is more effective. You can also take shilajit if you have anemia or need more minerals.
On the other hand, ashwagandha is popular for stress relief, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Nevertheless, it’s wise to try each and see which works best for you.
So, the answer to the question of which should you take depends on your individual needs and goals.
Ultimately, because they are both adaptogen herbs, with unique, complimentary properties, it is best to take both of them.
Taken together, these two adaptogens provide results that far exceed the benefits of either herb alone.
That said, if you are looking for a complete adaptogen supplement, it is highly suggested that you review all the adaptogens that are in Lean Factor’s best-selling adaptogen supplements.
For further information and an excellent article on adaptogen supplements, visit:
- National Library of Medicine. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Published online on July 3, 2011.
- National Institute on Aging. What Happens to the Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease? Published May 16, 2017.
- National Library of Medicine. Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity. Published online February 23, 2012.
- International Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity. Published February 23, 2012.
- ScienceDirect. Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats. Published August 30, 2012.