5 Potential Side Effects of Ashwagandha You Should Be Aware Of

Despite the claims of Ashwagandha’s effectiveness and health advantages, it is important to acknowledge that it may not be without potential side effects. Explore the different side effects associated with its use.

5 Potential Side Effects of Ashwagandha You Should Be Aware Of

Ashwagandha, scientifically referred to as ‘Withania Somnifera’, and commonly known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, belongs to the Solanaceae family, akin to tomatoes, featuring red berries and yellow flowers. This versatile plant utilizes its entire parts—roots, leaves, and berries—in herbal preparations. It holds a significant place in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient healing system of India, where it’s recognized as ‘rasayana’.

‘Rasayana’ denotes plants that offer both physical and mental wellness benefits. It enhances resilience against ailments and rejuvenates a fatigued body. Traditionally, it’s associated with longevity and enhanced sexual vigor. Ashwagandha is reputed for fortifying the immune system and is believed to offer therapeutic benefits against conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer, and AIDS. To delve deeper into its effects, the editorial team at Healthonlyforyou consulted with Dr. Anjali Phatak, Director at Nutripulse and Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Nutripulse, Jaipur.

Potential Adverse Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha boasts numerous antioxidant properties and is utilized in the treatment of fungal infections, tuberculosis, chronic upper respiratory tract illnesses, as well as gynecological issues, male fertility, and impotence. Despite its purported efficacy in various therapeutic applications, Ashwagandha is not without potential side effects. Some of these include:

1. Fatigue and Nausea

Following the initial intake of Ashwagandha, some individuals may encounter drowsiness and nausea, although certain experts suggest that these effects may diminish with continued use. It’s recommended that if these symptoms are troublesome, Ashwagandha should be taken solely before bedtime, typically in doses ranging from 3g to 5g. Alternatively, taking it with meals or on a full stomach can help alleviate episodes of drowsiness. This side effect is primarily associated with Ashwagandha overdose.

Fatigue and Nausea

2. Stomach ache

The powdered leaf or root variants of Ashwagandha might pose challenges for individuals with sensitive stomachs, potentially resulting in feelings of fullness or gas. It’s advisable for those with ulcers to avoid taking Ashwagandha alone and instead opt for its consumption in combination with other herbs or with food. Additionally, excessive intake of Ashwagandha may lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

3. Medication contraindication

It’s crucial to consult your doctor before incorporating natural herbs such as Ashwagandha into your regimen, as they may interact with the effects of certain medications. Specifically, Ashwagandha may interfere with medications such as those based on cyclosporine, prednisone, and azathioprine.

4. Inflammatory conditions

People diagnosed with inflammatory or muscular degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus, are advised against taking Ashwagandha. These conditions are classified as autoimmune diseases, and since Ashwagandha enhances the immune system, its use may potentially trigger more severe and frequent flare-ups.

5. Body temperature

Body temperature

Some individuals may experience a rise in body temperature, akin to a fever, after a week or two of initiating an Ashwagandha regimen. It’s essential to monitor yourself daily for any other severe side effects and promptly consult your doctor if necessary. If fluctuations in body temperature occur after consuming Ashwagandha, discontinuation of its use is recommended.

Many herbalists caution against the use of Ashwagandha for individuals with diabetes, liver diseases, digestive disorders, and ulcers. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid Ashwagandha due to suspected risks of miscarriage and potential harm to the fetus and infant. While Ashwagandha’s side effects are supported by inconclusive evidence, generations of Indian adults, including men, women, and children, have utilized it for centuries without major issues. Nevertheless, considering potential risks, it’s advisable to seek your doctor’s guidance before incorporating Ashwagandha into your routine.