AKA: Indian Ginseng, Poison Gooseberry, or Winter Cherry
Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce stress, reduce swelling (inflammation), lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.
When taken by mouth: Ashwagandha is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken for up to 3 months. The long-term safety of Ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of Ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems might occur.
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 & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to use Ashwagandha when pregnant. There is some evidence that Ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. There isn't enough reliable information to know if Ashwagandha is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Diabetes: Ashwagandha might lower blood sugar levels. This could interfere with medications used for diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go too low. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.
High or low blood pressure: Ashwagandha might decrease blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go too low in people with low blood pressure; or interfere with medications used to treat high blood pressure. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously if you have low blood pressure or take medications for your blood pressure.
Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Don't use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer.
"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.
May potentiate the effects of barbiturates.