Ashwagandha, also known as Withania Somnifera, Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, is an ayurvedic herb that has been extensively used to treat a slew of illnesses. In Ayurveda, the ancient medicine system of India, ashwagandha is also termed as a ‘rasayana’. Rasayana is a plant derived drug that helps in increasing physical and mental health. It is known to boost body immunity. Ashwagandha also has the reputation to increase life longevity and improve sex life. It is grown in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Native Americans and Africans have also been known to use ashwagandha for treating fevers, inflammation and protection against diseases. Just as every coin has two sides, ashwagandha also do have some side effects that you should be aware of before you resort to this herbal supplement. Although it is said that ashwagandha side effects are almost non-existent, but certain side effects have been brought into light during some case studies. It is important that the ashwagandha dosage is carefully controlled to minimize and prevent these side effects. Read this article to learn all the side effects of ashwagandha.
Side Effects Of Ashwagandha
- Ashwagandha is not prescribed for pregnant women and nursing mothers, as it may interfere with the growth and nutrition that the baby receives. Even if you are not pregnant, you should seek the counsel of a health care professional if you want to take ashwaganda. The typical recommended dose for ashwagandha can vary widely. It can range from 1 to 6 g.
- Ashwagandha has been reported to possess diuretic properties and cause kidney lesions in some cases. Ashwagandha may stimulate thyroid function and increase T4 levels, possibly increasing the risk of hyperthyroidism.
- Ashwagandha possess androgenic (testosterone-like) properties, based on rat evidence of increased testicular weight and spermatogenesis, as well as decreased serum FSH and testosterone levels.
- It may stimulate red and white blood cell production and increase platelet count, although there is limited study in these areas and the mechanism is unknown.
- Ashwagandha may cause sedation, possible life-threatening respiratory depression, decrease blood pressure and can cause abnormal heart rhythms.
- It may cause diarrhea. Diarrhea is, in part, an attempt by your body to flush out a perceived toxin. When you take too much ashwagandha, your body perceives it as a toxin. However, this particular occurrence can trigger other mechanisms, which your body adopts to get rid of the toxin. Severe abdominal pain may also occur.
- Feelings of nausea have also been reported after consuming ashwagandha.
- Like echinacea, ashwagandha also possesses immune stimulant properties, rendering it unfit for use by those who suffer from autoimmune diseases like HIV, AIDS, and so on. It should also not be used by people who have just had or will be undergoing an organ transplant as it might lead to the body rejecting the organ.
- It is also a possibility that after a week or two of starting ashwagandha, you might feel a rise in body temperature. Therefore, it is advisable that you should monitor yourself every day and consult your doctor immediately when you are faced with these side effects. However, in some cases, it may cause a sudden drop in body temperature, which may lead to cold, tightness of throat or chest, sometimes even combined with the chest pain, itchiness in the skin, rashes, hives or redness of the skin or difficulty in breathing. There are also possibilities that it might lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis, which should be considered as medical emergency.
- You may also experience drowsiness after you take ashwagandha for the first time, but according to certain experts, such effects vanish in due course of time. It is advised that you should take it before bedtime in doses of 3g to 5g. You may also take it at mealtimes or on a full stomach to curb the periods of drowsiness.
- There is also a possibility that ashwagandha might react with some other specific drugs. Due to this particular reason, it becomes necessary that immune suppressant drugs like Prednisone or Azathioprine are not taken along with ashwagandha. This blending may lessen the effectiveness of immune suppressant agents due to contrary immune stimulating action of ashwagandha.
- If used in combination with other sedatives or other medicines with sedative or tranquillizing properties, it can be very harmful, as it is a potential sedative-hypnotic.
- One more noticeable side effect of ashwagandha is that it increases the body weight. According to various studies, use of ashwagandha for longer time period can increase the body weight.
Ashwagandha side effects are not very conclusive though some claim that they have registered quite a few side effects during certain case studies. In India, it has been used for centuries to great benefits without any significant problem. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming ashwagandha. Ashwagandha has great many benefits, which are much higher in number than the side effects. Therefore, with a bit of precautions, you can have ashwagandha and enjoy all the benefits that it offers.