Ashwagandha is commonly used for stress. It is also used as an "adaptogen" for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
Don't confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry. Also, don't confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): There is no good evidence to support using ashwagandha for COVID-19. Follow healthy lifestyle choices and proven prevention methods instead.
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Stress. Some research shows that taking a specific ashwagandha root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) 300 mg twice daily after food or another specific extract (Shoden, Arjuna Natural Ltd.) 240 mg daily for 60 days appears to improve symptoms of stress.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Aging. Early research shows that taking ashwagandha root extract helps to improve well-being, sleep quality, and mental alertness by small to moderate amounts in people aged 65-80 years.
- Metabolic side effects caused by antipsychotic drugs. Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia but they can cause levels of fat and sugar in the blood to increase. Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Cap Strelaxin, M/s Pharmanza Herbal Pvt. Ltd.) 400 mg three times daily for one month might reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood in people using these medications.
- Anxiety. Some early research shows that taking ashwagandha can reduce some symptoms of anxious mood.
- Athletic performance. Some research shows that taking ashwagandha helps with how much oxygen the body can use during exercise. But it isn't known if this helps to improve performance.
- Bipolar disorder. Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Sensoril, Natreon, Inc.) for 8 weeks might improve brain function in people being treated for bipolar disorder.
- Tiredness in people treated with cancer drugs. Early research suggests taking a specific ashwagandha extract 2000 mg (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) during chemotherapy treatment might reduce feelings of tiredness.
- Diabetes. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- A type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD). Some early clinical research shows that taking ashwagandha can reduce some symptoms of anxiety.
- High cholesterol. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol.
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). People with underactive thyroid have high blood levels of a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). People with underactive thyroid can also have low levels of thyroid hormone. Taking ashwagandha seems to lower TSH and increase thyroid hormone levels in people with a mild form of underactive thyroid.
- Insomnia. Some research shows that taking ashwagandha might help people sleep better.
- Conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility).Some early research shows that ashwagandha might improve sperm quality and sperm count in infertile men. But it isn't clear if ashwagandha can actually improve fertility.
- A type of anxiety marked by recurrent thoughts and repetitive behaviors (obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD). Early research shows that ashwagandha root extract might reduce symptoms of OCD when taken with prescribed medications for 6 weeks.
- Sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity. Early research shows that taking ashwagandha extract daily for 8 weeks along with receiving counseling increases interest in sex and sexual satisfaction in adult women with sexual dysfunction better than counseling alone.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Brain damage that affects muscle movement (cerebellar ataxia).
- Parkinson disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Altering immune system function.
- Inducing vomiting.
- Liver problems.
- Swelling (inflammation).
- Ulcerations, when applied to the skin.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe or what the side effects might be.
Special Precautions and Warnings
"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using ashwagandha.
Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha seems to increase the immune system. Taking ashwagandha along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Be cautious with this combination
Thyroid hormone interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking ashwagandha with thyroid hormone pills might cause too much thyroid hormone in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormone.
Be watchful with this combination
- For stress: Ashwagandha root extract 300 mg twice daily after food (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) or 240 mg daily (Shoden, Arjuna Natural Ltd.) for 60 days.
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