Ashwagandha Side Effects & Contraindications

One of the herbs that have been used for hundreds of years by the Indian medical system or Ayurveda practice is ashwagandha.  This herb is considered an adaptogen as it makes the body flexible to change. It enhances vitality, boosts sexual function and strengthens the immune system.

There are reported side effects of ashwagandha as exhibited by users although studies have not yet been conducted to confirm them. Ayurvedic practitioners give it to any age group and gender.


  • One of the side effects of taking a high dosage of ashwagandha is abortion. It has steroid lactones that stop the fetus’ development. Pregnant women are advised not to take this without the supervision of a doctor. The safe dosage of this herb is 100 mg for every kilogram of body weight.
  • Another side effect of ashwagandha is heightened thyroid hormone, thus those with Grave’s disease or other hyperthyroid conditions should not take this herb. When this is added to prescription thyroid medicines, there will be too much thyroid hormones found in the body thus the side effects of these hormones would increase.
  • Ashwagandha has calming elements. Those suffering from insomnia and anxiety and are undergoing treatment for them are warned from taking ashwagandha for possible contradictions. Patients on benzodiazepines and other sedatives must also refrain from taking ashwagandha.

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  • Gastrointestinal upset is another side effect of ashwagandha, especially if it has been taken in high dosages. Flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal heaviness follow because it irritates the gastrointestinal tract and tummy. Patients with ulcers should never take ashwagandha.
  • Drowsiness, hypotension and lowered respiratory function are also other side effects of ashwagandha. Those taking sedatives, tranquilizers, blood pressure drugs and anti-anxiety medicines should refrain from taking this herb. If this is taken without a meal, the user will become drowsy.
  • Those suffering from diabetes should not take ashwagandha because this will interfere with prescribed medications for diabetes and will lower blood sugar levels.

There are case studies that show other side effects of ashwagandha. One of them is the heightening of the body temperature after seven days of use. It also develops inflammation and small lesions in the body. It causes vascular congestion, nausea, kidney diseases and worsening of autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, nursing women should avoid this as it can get inside the breast milk that would be consumed by the baby.

Prescribed Dosage

The best time to use ashwagandha is twice or thrice a day. Those who were instructed to reduce the dosage were not reported to complain of continuing side effects. Those who still feel drowsy even with a lower dosage should instead take three to five grams of it only in the evening.

Time Frame of Use

This herbal supplement must be used not more six months with the normal dosage. It is advisable to take a few days break from it within those six months. Those who have taken it usually feel refreshed, energetic and warm afterwards.

Ashwagandha should be taken with a doctor’s permission so that the side effects mentioned in this article would be avoided.

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