Ashwagandha Side Effects: What You Know


  • Ashwagandha side effects include stomach upset, nausea and drowsiness.
  • Because of the side effects of ashwagandha, avoid it if you are pregnant or have an autoimmune disorder.
  • To minimize side effects, take only ashwagandha for a maximum of three months.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference Library for more tips.

Ashwagandha, an herb used in traditional Indian medicine, is typically used to help the the body manages and adapts to stress. Modern studies have found that it can too increases cognitive function and memory, grow up muscle strength, and improve sterility in men.

Rare but serious complications to use ashwagandha include liver injuries, rapid heartbeats, and allergic reactions. However, common side effects are typically mild and resolve when you stop using the grass.

Typical doses are between:

  • 1,000 milligrams (mg) to 6,000 mg of root powder
  • 500 mg to 1500 mg of root extract

If you are interested in taking ashwagandha, here are the potential side effects that you should be aware of.

1. Nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea

Uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea are present most common side effects of ashwagandha.

“Large doses of ashwagandha [more than 6,000 mg of root powder or 1500 mg of root extract] can cause irritation of the membranes in the stomach, ”says Khara Jefferson, DNP, APRN, owner of KAJ Wellness Professionals, LLC.

These side effects are typically tolerable and will resolve when you stop taking ashwagandha.

2. Drowsiness

While studies found ashwagandha can help you sleep better at night, drowsiness can be an unwanted side effect for some users, interrupting daily tasks and rendering them dangerous to use a vehicle.

Johnson says the sedative effects of ashwagandha are probably most noticeable in people taking other sedative drugs, such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

Who should not take ashwagandha

“Ideally everyone should consult with their doctor before taking any supplements,” says Avena, but it is particularly important for some people to talk to a healthcare professional before use, or to avoid ashwagandha altogether.

You should avoid ashwagandha at all if:

  • Pregnant site: “Ashwagandha is generally considered as such dangerous in pregnancy because it has abortifacient effects, “it means it can induce abortion,” Jefferson says. The compounds in this can cause miscarriages, premature birth, or even uterine contractions. ”
  • You have a thyroid condition or are taking thyroid medication: Ashwagandha has been shown to alter thyroid function and increase thyroid hormone, which could be dangerous for people with hyperthyroidism. “It could also interfere with thyroid tests, so it’s always important to let your doctor know if you are taking ashwagandha,” says Avena.
  • You have a hormone sensitive prostate cancer: Ashwagandha port increase testosterone levels which could be dangerous for patients with prostate cancer.
  • Take benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, or barbiturates: Ashwagandha could increase drowsiness, especially in people taking certain medications.
  • You have an autoimmune condition: Ashwagandha is immunostimulating, which means it boosts the immune system. Immunosuppressive drugs are prescribed to people with autoimmune conditions to help suppress the body’s immune system and taking ashwagandha could decrease the effects of these drugs, Johnson says.

You should consult with a doctor before taking ashwagandha if:

  • Have diabetes: Ashwagandha has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels animal studies. It is not clear if this is applicable to humans, so people with diabetes should consult with their doctor before taking ashwagandha.
  • Do you have stomach ulcers: People with stomach ulcers should talk to a doctor before taking ashwagandha because it can irritate the lining of your gastrointestinal tract by aggravating the ulcer, Johnson says.

Take away the Insider

Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years and is generally considered safe. But some users report having mild side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea and drowsiness.

Because herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, choose a brand that has been tested by third parties. A product is tested by a third party if it shows up label tested by third parties.

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