Originated in India, Ayurveda is an ancient science of medicine. It makes use of various herbs to prepare the medicine, which helps keep the body healthy and disease-free. Ashwagandha with many medicinal properties is one such herb, which occupies a special place in Ayurveda.
Ashwagandha is a renowned Indian herb. Also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or poison gooseberry, it is one of the most popular medicinal plants. It is an annual shrub, which bears small green flowers and red berries. Its roots and berries contain medicinal value. These are used for several medicinal purposes.
Ashwagandha is a beneficial herb and can be used by people of all ages. The table given below shows the recommended dosage of ashwagandha in different forms.
|Capsule||1-6 grams of whole herb by mouth daily|
|Tea||Up to 3 cups of whole herb i.e. 1-6 grams daily|
|Tincture||2-4 ml by mouth thrice a day|
The appropriate dose of Ashwagandha also depends upon a person’s health, age and several other conditions. So, it is advisable to follow the instructions on the product labels or package. Also follow your physician’s direction to use it.
Side Effects Of Ashwagandha:
The health benefits of Ashwagandha are unending but anything when used excessively or for a longer period of time can harm your body and Ashwagandha is no exception. Given below are a few side effects caused due to the overdose or prolonged use of Ashwagandha.
1. Raises Thyroid Hormone Level:
People suffering from thyroid disorder should avoid the use of ashwagandha. This is because ashwagandha raises thyroid level in the body. Supplementing it with thyroid medications might produce excess thyroid hormone, which could create problem for the patient. So, if it is to be used by thyroid patients, it should be used cautiously as per the guidance of the physician.
2. Decreases Blood Sugar Level:
Diabetics are advised to use ashwagandha cautiously. They should also check their blood sugar level before using it. Use of ashwagandha along with diabetes medication can decrease the blood sugar level.
3. Harmful During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding:
Ashwagandha’s use during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage. It can also harm the fetus. So, pregnant or breastfeeding women should refrain from taking ashwagandha.
4. Drowsiness Or Sleepiness:
Ashwagandha may cause sleepiness and drowsiness. If you take any sedative, it is advisable to use ashwagandha with caution as it may cause excessive drowsiness.
5. Stomach Ulcer:
Stomach irritation is one the most common side effects of using ashwagandha. So, avoid its use if you have stomach ulcers as it can lead to severe complications.
6. Blood Pressure Level:
Use ashwagandha cautiously if you are suffering from blood pressure issues. Ashwagandha can decrease blood pressure level. If you suffer from low blood pressure, do not use it without consulting your doctor. If you are taking medications to lower your blood pressure level, stop using ashwagandha. The use of it may lower your blood pressure too much, leading to further complications.
7. Auto-immune Diseases:
As stated earlier, ashwagandha boosts the immune system. But, if you are suffering from any auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or lupus, stop using ashwagandha. This is because medications taken for auto-immune diseases, decrease immune system response, and supplementing them with ashwagandha may interfere with their effectiveness.
8. Gastrointestinal Issues:
Usage of ashwagandha leads many gastrointestinal problems. Some of them are vomiting, diarrhea, heavy abdomen, nausea and stomach upset. If you experience worsening of these conditions after using ashwagandha, consult your doctor immediately. Those suffering from liver conditions should also take similar precautions.
The use of ashwagandha in some people may elevate the body temperature or cause fever after a week or two. However, the body temperature gets back to normal after a few weeks. In case, it does not get normal, consult your healthcare provider.
10. Allergic Reactions:
Some people may experience several allergic reactions with the use of ashwagandha. These include skin rashes, itchiness, hives, inflammation, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and throat-tightness. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your physician immediately.
Ashwagandha should not be taken before or after a surgery. This is because it slows down the central nervous system, and anesthesia and other pre- and post-surgery medications might increase this effect. It is better to stop the use of sshwagandha at least 2 weeks before the surgery.
A Word Of Caution:
It is important to take the correct dosage of this supplement. Strictly follow the medical advice to prevent any adverse reaction. Certain other precautions that should also be taken care of are:
- Ashwagandha root extract should be used only as a supplement as it is non-toxic in nature in comparison to Withaferin A (the anticancer molecule).
- It is advisable to take it with meals, with a full glass of water or with breakfast, if you are taking it once in a day.
- As ashwagandha increases the effect of certain drugs or medication, it is important to review the drugs or medications that you are taking before taking ashwagandha.
- Those who experience diarrhea or stomach upset after using ashwagandha, should take it in capsule form along with food.
By following these precautions, one can definitely prevent the side effects of ashwagandha and reap its benefits to the fullest. And remember that the +doctor knows best! So do not hesitate to talk to your doctor of you have any doubts!
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