L-Theanine vs Ashwagandha

Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.


Everybody is a little different, so it's a great idea to be aware of the many different remedies available to us. One herb may be more beneficial to your particular constitution than another. Today we're looking at L-theanine and ashwagandha. Both are valuable for regulating sleep. Which is better for you?

Many natural supplements boast similar benefits to one’s health and overall wellness, making it hard to differentiate between similar choices to determine what might be best for each of us. For instance, How can you decide which herbal therapy is best for improving your sleep, cognitive brain function, and reducing anxiety or stress? There are many to choose from, from chamomile and lavender to L-theanine and ashwagandha. Let’s take an in-depth look at L-theanine vs. ashwagandha and determine which may work best for your unique needs. (1)

Supplements for Better Sleep

When it comes to health and well-being, getting enough sleep is just as vital as exercise and nutrition. In fact, if one considers movement and eating habits to be the pillars of health, then sleep is the foundation upon which these pillars stand. Sleep provides more energy, reduces weight gain, alleviates some symptoms of depression, and even boosts willpower, focus, and creativity. (2)

Sleep is so important, but most people don’t get enough sleep, or they don’t get enough quality sleep. Natural supplements provide relaxation, anxiety and stress relief, and calmness of the mind to promote sleep and restfulness. However, it’s important to recognize that not all supplements work the same. Most natural sleep aids balance the mind and the body, but do so in different ways. Some are taken orally, others such as Be-Serene IR Topical Relief can be applied topically, to provide instant relief with natural herbs. (1)

There is no one “right way” that works for everyone. However,  there are some supplements and herbs that are gaining notice for their positive attributes towards mental and physical health. L-theanine and ashwagandha are two of the latest to gain popularity. But is one better than the other? What is L-theanine anyways? And how does it compare to the other popular supplement ashwagandha?

What is L-Theanine?

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green and black teas, along with a variety of mushrooms. One of the biggest benefits of L-theanine is aiding your brain in becoming more plastic, changeable. Working synergistically with caffeine, it allows us to focus during the day, but still calm us at night. (3)

Many studies have shown the vast benefits of taking L-theanine along with a healthy lifestyle.  Health rewards include not just better sleep and relaxation, but weight loss, improved focus, fortified immune function, and balanced blood pressure. (4)

Many people consume L-theanine in their tea, but others may find that adding it as a natural supplement improves their sleep, cognitive function, and overall mental health.

What Makes L-Theanine Different from Ashwagandha

L-theanine is wonderful for relaxation, focus, and cognitive function. Comparatively, ashwagandha is a natural herb that studies show reduces anxiety and stress, and boosts neuroprotective properties. Both have been used for hundreds of years. Both have strong ties to aiding one’s sleep naturally. So what’s the difference between L-theanine vs ashwagandha? (5)

The biggest difference between the two isn’t in the realm of which is better, but instead it’s what parts of the body are generally affected. L-theanine generally targets brain function. It makes the brain more adaptable. Because it works well with caffeine, L-theanine also reduces the negative effects with caffeine. Taking L-theanine along with a cup of coffee can decrease the anxiety often associated with too much caffeine. It helps one focus, boosts creativity, and is generally described among users to promote better thinking and mental wellness. (4)

On the other hand, users of ashwagandha associate the herb with more physical benefits. Yes, it alleviates anxiety, but it also increases testosterone and improves muscular strength. One of the side-effects of ashwagandha is sleepiness, which helps aid in getting regular shut-eye. This natural sleep aid is not actually designed to help you sleep, though. Its effect on anxiety and stress is the biggest boost to mental health. (5) 

The choice between L-theanine vs. ashwagandha will promote different health gains depending on whether you want cognitive support or physical benefits.

L-Theanine vs Ashwagandha Similarities

L-theanine is well known for its relaxation effect while improving ability to focus. Calming the mind is key for relieving anxiety and stress, and key for good sleep. But L-theanine isn’t as well known for its ability to reduce anxiety as ashwagandha. Both are great for mitigating some symptoms of depression, due to their natural abilities. (6)

There isn’t enough research to decide if one supplement is better than another in helping relieve anxiety or stress. So, deciding whether L-theanine or ashwagandha improves your mood better is an individual decision. There is no one perfect solution for everyone. However, there is one more consideration to determine which is right for you: the other potential side effects. 

Side Effects of L-Theanine vs Ashwagandha

L-theanine and ashwagandha have both been used for centuries. L-theanine is naturally occurring in teas and some mushrooms. While not consciously using L-theanine directly, it has been used as a natural therapy for generations in many cultures. Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Indian alternative medicine. Its uses date back to 3000 years. (4,6)

With consistent and prolific use of both supplements, research shows L-theanine and ashwagandha are generally safe to take. However, pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised not to supplement with either herb. (4,6)

Furthermore, ashwagandha does have a few more warnings to be aware of. Those with autoimmune diseases, especially thyroid issues, should discuss with their doctor before starting an ashwagandha supplementation. Ashwagandha may increase thyroid levels in the body and caution should be taken for those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or hyperthyroidism. (6) Ahwagandha can also be quite warming, so if you tend to run hot, have hot flashes or night sweats, then Ashwagandha could make those symptoms worse.  

L-theanine has few reported side effects. However, being naturally occurring in green and black tea, there are cautions to take with caffeine content. Some complications can include irritability, upset stomach, and caffeine headaches. If you worry about caffeine intake, then a topical application is a perfect solution to this potential side effect.(4)

It’s important to consult with your doctor, especially if you have a condition which may interact with your supplement. They may assist in determining if L-theanine or ashwagandha is a better choice for you. 

Finding Your Way, Naturally

L-theanine vs Ashwagandha is a personal choice, but one that could change your health in dramatic ways. Weigh your options, and find your path. Decide how you would like to improve your life. Sleeping better provides more energy, stronger willpower and motivation, and helps us make healthier choices. Calming and relaxing the brain helps improve our sleep. The cycle can be bolstered and fortified with L-theanine, and Be Serere Instant Relief. 


  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/are-natural-sleep-aids-safe
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325353
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201708/what-you-need-know-about-l-theanine
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/l-theanine#benefits-and-uses
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318407
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-ashwagandha-benefits#5.-May-help-reduce-stress-and-anxiety

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About Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

Dr. Morgan is an expert in Functional and Integrative Medicine with a Strong Emphasis in stress related illnesses like anxiety and insomnia. In addition to his 20 years of work in Functional Medicine, he has expanded his practice to include work on the deeper aspects of our being that point to the root cause of our illnesses working with Mind Body Wellness, Energy Medicine, and Healing with Consciousness.
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