ABC: Ashwagandha Root Materials May Be Adulterated With Leaves, Stems

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Ashwagandha

Austin, TX—The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) released a Botanical Adulterants Prevention Bulletin on ashwagandha root and root extract, according to a press release.

The release says the powdered roots of ashwagandha have a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for an array of purposes, and ashwagandha is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbs in the U.S. It was the sixth top-selling dietary supplement in 2017, with sales totaling around $10.6 million. Unfortunately, ABC says, various reports have described the addition of undeclared material from ashwagandha leaves or stems to ingredients and products labeled to contain only root powders or extracts. The leaves and stems are typically available at a lower cost, and contain some of the same types of chemicals, known as withanolides, as the roots.

Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council (ABC) and founder and director of BAPP, said in the release, “This type of adulteration will fool only those companies and laboratories that do not use adequate analytical efforts to properly test their ashwagandha materials. A robust analytical methodology can determine if additional withanolides from undeclared leaf material are present in the analyzed samples.”

This is not, he clarified, in opposition to all ashwagandha. “We are aware of numerous companies that provide various types of authentic ashwagandha root raw materials and extracts. Our intention is to advise members of industry of the confirmed adulteration of some ashwagandha raw materials and extracts and for industry quality control laboratories to be doubly aware of the need for appropriate testing to authenticate the materials.”

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