We Indians often tend to lean towards our tried and tested Ayurvedic medicines. Though English medicines are also used widely, people have once again started falling back on Ayurvedic medicines and one of them is the Indian herb ashwagandha. It has a lot of medicinal properties. Also known as Indian winter cherry, it is mostly cultivated in North America and India. It usually bears red berries and green flowers. Most of the medicinal value of this Indian herb is found in its roots and berries.
People of all ages can use ashwagandha and it can be consumed in three different forms namely tea, tincture and capsule. The dosage would differ from person to person depending upon his/her age and various health conditions. Hence it is advised to consult a physician before using this herb.
The root of ashwagandha has a peculiar ‘horse-like’ smell which is very strong and hence the name where ashwa means horse and gandha means smell. Though it has benefits, this post would be focusing on the side effects of using ashwagandha. It is imperative for us to understand the cons as well before using any medicine or herb.
Top 15 Ashwagandha Side Effects:
This medicinal herb has been deemed unsafe for women who are pregnant. There are few evidences which suggest that consuming ashwagandha during pregnancy can result in miscarriages.
Though there is no recorded evidence about the negative effects of ashwagandha during breastfeeding, going by the reports on pregnancy it is best to avoid it while you are nursing your baby.
3. Stomach Ulcers:
People suffering from stomach ulcers should avoid using ashwagandha as it can aggravate and cause irritation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
4. Thyroid Problems:
If you are suffering from thyroid problems or if you are under thyroid medication, then you should monitor your intake of ashwagandha. It would be even better if you can avoid it all together since there is a chance that your thyroid levels may increase due to the usage of this herb.
5. Auto-immune Diseases:
Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, etc., are some of the auto-immune diseases and if you have any of these conditions then avoid using ashwagandha. This is because it can make your auto-immune systems even more active and aggravate the auto-immune diseases symptoms.
Diabetic patients should either avoid taking ashwagandha or monitor their blood sugar levels closely. This is because using the herb can interfere with your diabetes medication and cause your blood sugar levels to drop down.
There have been reports that if you are scheduled for a surgery then you should stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks prior to your surgery. The reason provided is that your central nervous system is slowed down by ashwagandha and taking anesthesia and other medications during or post surgery can be harmful.
8. Blood Pressure:
Another con of using ashwagandha is that it can affect your blood pressure – both low and high blood pressure. So for people who have low blood pressure it can lower the levels and it can interfere with the medications for high blood pressure.
Over use of ahwagandha can result in vomiting and diarrhea. It is really essential to monitor your intake of ashwagandha and make sure that you are taking the prescribed dosage only. Using it over a long period of time can also lead to these side effects.
Drowsiness is another side effect of consuming ashwagandha. It causes sleepiness which is why it is advised to avoid taking this medicinal herb while you are already on some other sedatives. The combination of ashwagandha and other prescribed sedatives can prove to be harmful for the human body.
11. Bleeding Issues:
Ashwagandha can cause further negative side effects if you are already undergoing certain bleeding disorders. If you do have a bleeding disorder and you also consume ashwagandha, then it would be best to stop using it immediately.
There have been few incidents where it has been reported that people taking ashwagandha have experienced various allergic reactions such as itchy skin, itchy and sore throat, skin rashes, inflammation, breathing difficulties, etc. So if you have are also facing any of these symptoms while consuming ashwagandha, then consult your physician immediately.
13. Stomach Upset:
One of the most common side effects of ashwagandha is an upset stomach. Like we mentioned earlier, this herb can negatively affect your gastrointestinal tract and one of the symptoms of this negative reaction is stomach upset. So keep a check on your bowel movement as well while taking your ashwagandha dosages.
Nausea is another common side effect of using ashwagandha. Now you need to keep in mind that nausea can occur due to a lot of other reasons as well. So you need to make sure that it is a side effect of ashwagandha before discontinuing it.
15. Abdominal/Chest Pain:
Experiencing pain in your chest or abdominal can also be a result of consuming ashwagandha. If you do experience any of these pains, consult your doctor and inform him/her about it so that they can either decrease the dosage or discontinue it altogether.
Though we have listed down the side effects of using ashwagandha, there is no denying the fact that it also has a lot of benefits. Just remember to take proper medical advice before using it and also follow the dosage instructions carefully.
Another thing to keep in mind is that of at all you face any of the above mentioned side effects, then please do not ignore it. Get yourself checked immediately and take the necessary precautions. Stay safe, stay healthy!