Phenibut and Ashwagandha are two popular nootropic supplements known for their stress-reducing and mood-enhancing properties. 

While they share some similarities, they have different mechanisms of action and potential side effects. 

This article will provide an in-depth comparison of Phenibut and Ashwagandha, focusing on their efficacy as nootropics and anxiolytics. Additionally, we will explore the potential benefits and risks of taking these compounds together and compare their withdrawal profiles.

See The Best Nootropics For Anxiety

Using nootropic supplements can dramatically reduce stress and anxiety levels on a day-to-day basis. The right nootropics can even help control acute anxiety attacks and help keep you calm, focused and mentally clear during periods of peak stress at work. The trick is to find the anti-anxiety nootropics that actually work. See our current rankings of the best nootropics for anxiety now!

Phenibut: An Overview

Phenibut is a synthetic derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. 

Phenibut is believed to exert its anxiolytic and mood-enhancing effects by binding to GABA-B receptors and, to a lesser extent, GABA-A receptors, resulting in increased inhibitory neurotransmission Lapin, 2001

Phenibut anxiolytic

Some of the key benefits of Phenibut include:

  • Reduction of stress and anxiety

  • Improved mood and well-being

  • Enhanced cognitive performance under stress

  • Improved sleep quality

However, Phenibut has a relatively high potential for tolerance and dependence, and its use should be limited to occasional or short-term applications to minimize the risk of adverse effects Samokhvalov et al., 2013.

Ashwagandha: An Overview

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb with a long history of use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress and promote mental well-being. The active compounds in Ashwagandha, known as withanolides, are believed to enhance the resilience of the nervous system by modulating the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol Chandrasekhar et al., 2012. Key benefits of Ashwagandha include:

  • Reduction of stress and anxiety

  • Improved mood and well-being

  • Enhanced cognitive performance

  • Support for healthy adrenal function

  • Improved sleep quality

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with a lower potential for tolerance and dependence compared to Phenibut Raut et al., 2012.

Comparing the Efficacy of Phenibut and Ashwagandha

Both Phenibut and Ashwagandha have demonstrated efficacy in reducing stress and improving mood; however, they have different mechanisms of action and potential side effects.

Phenibut is known for its rapid onset of action and potent anxiolytic effects. It has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and improving cognitive performance in clinical settings Lapin, 2001. However, due to its high potential for tolerance and dependence, Phenibut is not recommended for long-term use or as a primary treatment for anxiety disorders.

Ashwagandha vs Phenibut

In contrast, Ashwagandha has a more subtle and gradual effect on stress reduction and mood enhancement. Its adaptogenic properties help support the body's natural stress response and promote overall mental well-being (Chandrasekhar et al., 2012). Ashwagandha has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety in both animal studies and clinical trials Pratte et al., 2014. Furthermore, it is considered safe and well-tolerated, making it a more suitable option for long-term use.

Taking Phenibut and Ashwagandha Together

Combining Phenibut and Ashwagandha may offer synergistic benefits for stress reduction and mood enhancement. 

Phenibut's rapid onset of action and potent anxiolytic effects can provide immediate relief from acute stress, while Ashwagandha's adaptogenic properties support long-term resilience to stress Owens et al., 2018

Phenibut Ashwagandha together

However, caution should be exercised when combining these two compounds due to the potential for increased sedation and the risk of Phenibut tolerance and dependence.

Comparing Withdrawal Profiles

Phenibut and Ashwagandha have different withdrawal profiles, primarily due to their differing potentials for tolerance and dependence.

Phenibut withdrawal can be severe, with symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, insomnia, and even hallucinations Samokhvalov et al., 2013. The severity of withdrawal is typically related to the duration and dosage of Phenibut use. Tapering off Phenibut gradually under medical supervision is recommended to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

In contrast, Ashwagandha withdrawal is generally mild, with few reported side effects Raut et al., 2012. Some individuals may experience fatigue or mild anxiety when discontinuing Ashwagandha; however, these symptoms are typically short-lived and less severe than those associated with Phenibut withdrawal.

Top Phenibut Alternatives


#1 Rated


Xanapril is a cutting-edge natural supplement designed to dramatically decrease stress and anxiety levels without producing any kind of drowsiness or cognitive impairment in users. In fact, Xanapril has been designed in such a way as to treat stress and anxiety in multiple different ways while actually enhancing cognitive performance and improving mood. 

Nooceptin top rated nootropic stack

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Nooceptin is an all-in-one nootropic designed to provide total cognitive enhancement on a daily basis. The benefits of taking Nooceptin include sharper focus, better working memory function, faster processing speeds and reduced stress & anxiety. Nooceptin also supports brian cell health, maintenance and development, making it ideal for long-term, daily use. This is the most powerful full-spectrum nootropic you can buy OTC.


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Vyvamind is perfect for those of you looking for an alternative to synthetic smart drugs which don't cause anxiety. While compounds like Modafinil, Vyvanse and Oxiracetam are all unarguably effective, they are all prone to causing quite serious side effects, including acute anxiety. Vyvamind was specifically developed to provide the same increases in focus, mental clarity and motivation as prescription smart drugs, but without the same side effects or long-term health risks. 

Conclusion: Should you take Phenibut or Ashwagandha for anxiety?

Phenibut and Ashwagandha are both effective nootropics for reducing stress and improving mood, but they have different mechanisms of action, safety profiles, and withdrawal symptoms. Phenibut offers potent and rapid anxiolytic effects, but its potential for tolerance and dependence makes it unsuitable for long-term use. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, provides more subtle and gradual stress reduction and mood enhancement, with a lower risk of tolerance and dependence, making it a better option for long-term use.

When considering which nootropic to use for stress reduction and mood improvement, it is essential to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and choose the option that best aligns with your individual needs and goals. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you are taking medications or have pre-existing health conditions.

Phenibut Summary


  • Helps to reduce anxiety and stress
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Enhances mood and cognition
  • Potential neuroprotective effects


  • Risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms
  • Buildup of tolerance over time, necessitating higher doses
  • Potential for severe side effects, including depression and anxiety
  • Can negatively interact with other substances, particularly alcohol and sedatives


Phenibut is an anxiolytic supplement used to promote relaxation and better sleep. While it's celebrated for its anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing effects, the risk of addiction, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance buildup, and potential negative interactions with other substances are concerns.

Ashwagandha Summary


  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • May improve memory and cognitive function
  • Could enhance physical performance and recovery
  • Potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties


  • Possible side effects, including stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Potential to interact with certain medications, including sedatives and anti-diabetes drugs
  • Lack of long-term research, particularly in pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Some users report an increase in sleepiness and lowered blood pressure


Ashwagandha, a traditional Ayurvedic herb, is reputed for its adaptogenic properties, enhancing stress resistance and promoting overall health. However, its potential to cause adverse side effects, interactions with medication, and lack of long-term research can be a drawback.

In the realm of supplements designed to alleviate the symptoms of stress,

Phenibut and Ashwagandha are two popular nootropic supplements known for their stress-reducing

About the Author Chris Fraighten

Chris Fraighten is a leading biomedical researcher and currently the lead author of the Epimodels blog. He holds qualifications in chemistry, biology and is highly experienced in the fields of quantitative modelling and epidemiology. He brings this wealth of knowledge and experience to the Epimodels blog to bring you insightful, informative and interesting content on the latest advances in the space.