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Ashitaba

Ashitaba is an herb that grows in Japan, where it is a traditional remedy for digestive problems, high cholesterol, and other conditions.

Why do people take ashitaba?

There's very little research about ashitaba. Its true benefits and risks are not known.

Some lab and animal studies suggest ashitaba could help lower levels of stomach acid. Theoretically, this could help with some types of ulcers. Other studies show it could help raise good cholesterol levels and lower unhealthy levels of blood fats called triglycerides. But other research shows no benefit.

There's no standard dose for ashitaba. Ask your doctor for advice.

Can you get ashitaba naturally from foods?

The leaves, roots, and stems of the ashitaba plant are used in various ways, such as powders and teas.

What are the risks?

Tell your doctor about any supplements you’re taking, even if they’re natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications.

  • Side effects. There's not enough research on ashitaba to know if it has side effects.
  • Risks. Ashitaba may not be safe. Children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with medical problems shouldn't use it.
  • Interactions. If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using ashitaba supplements. They could interact with other drugs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on January 23, 2015

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