Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ashwagandha Side Effects, Safety & Drug Interactions


Ashwagandha side effects are not present in any significant way and this use of this herbal supplement can safely be done on regular basis. Its safety profile is based on research.

Know more about the best time to use, age and sex, duration, dietary restrictions, people’s comments, side effects, subacute toxicity, safety, possibility of drug interactions and other relevant info about the safe use of WS.

Best Time

We are advising it to be taken two or three times a day and there had been no person who is coming back and complaining about side effects like drowsiness.

If some person finds drowsiness after its use, it would be better to take about 3 to 5 gm. of WS only in the evening.


In India, ayurvedic practitioners are using this herb in all age groups and in male and female with good results. There is no problem of using it in children. No thorough clinical research is backing this use and we are not having any side effects from ashwagandha.

Duration Of Use

Under normal therapeutic dosage Ashwagandha side effects are not present if it is used more than 180 days. However it is a good practice to give a break of few days, say one week, after six weeks of its use.

Dietary Restrictions

There are no dietary restrictions with its use. In Ayurvedic medicine, there is general recommendation about using moderate quantities of spices, chilies and sour items.

What People Have Felt After Use

Usually people feel some sort of refreshing energy, some warmth after using this herb. It is never hot or stimulating in action. It’s benefits build up over a period of few weeks.

Ashwagandha Side Effects

WS is well tolerated and without any significant side effects. No significant drug interactions have been found.

Some persons have complained of slight drowsiness after using it while with majority of persons there had been no trouble at all. The persons who might have felt some drowsiness can try it after meals and even if the complaint persists, he can take it in the evening.

The crude powder of WS is slightly hard to digest and it can cause some heaviness in abdomen and flatulence especially in those persons who have weak digestion.

Evaluation Of Subacute Toxicity

In a research published in Ind. Journal Of Physiologic Pharmacology, April 98, researchers assessed the subacute toxicity of Ginseng and Ashwagandha in rats.

This study went on for 90 days and there were no toxicity in these herbs individually. There was significant increase in body weight, food consumption and liver weight, and improved hematopoiesis was observed. Brain, heart, lung, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, testis and ovaries were normal on gross examination and histopathologically. Subacute toxicity studies in rats did not reveal any toxicity.

Aphale AA, Chhibba AD, Kumbhakarna NR, Mateenuddin M, Dahat SH.

Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Aurangabad.

Another study published in Journal Of Ethnopharmacology, April 2000, mentioned that Ashwagandha possesses no toxicity up to a dose of (100 mg/kg; orally for 180 days) and does not cause significant changes in biochemical parameters in the blood serum of rats.

Dhuley JN.

Pharmacology and Toxicology Section, Research Centre, Hindustan Antibiotics Limited, Pimpri, Pune, India


WS is not found addictive in any way. So it is safe even when one is using it for long times over a period of months.

Drug Interactions With Sedatives & Anxiolytics

It should not be taken with sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs on personal basis. However it is safe practice to take it under the qualified supervision. There might be some need of adjustment of dosage after some time.

WS is found to potentiate the effects of Barbiturates so it is better not to take it with them without mentioning it without the advice of your doctor. These interactions are based more on inference and not on clinical research study.

Other Contraindications

In gastric and duodenal ulcer, WS is not recommended alone. It can be used in Stress ulcer to combat stress and with other ulcer healing herbs.

Don’t use it during severe and acute inflammatory conditions (usually acute infections) except in degenerative disorders like arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.


 Large dosage of WS is abortifacient (Ability to cause abortion). The normal dosage is generally safe and we use it in India along with other herbs even during pregnancy. However it is better to be taken under the supervision of qualified herbalist.

Breastfeeding Or Nursing Mothers

In Indian scenario of Ayurvedic Medicine, there appears to be no restriction of its use in nursing mothers and the ayurvedic practitioners use this herb. However Shatavari is preferable than Ashwagandha. However its use in nursing mothers is not founded on clinical studies.

Larger Than Normal Dosage

It is found to be completely safe up to 100 mg per kg of body weight in a single dosage. This comes out to be 21 gm per day in an average adult man. And the therapeutic dosage in most cases is under 10 gm per day.

We like to share the effects of larger dosage for informational purpose only. The first effect is on gastro-intestinal tract. The crude powder is a bit hard to digest so most of the ayurvedic formulations are polyherbal and they have already balanced this slight adverse effect.

Larger dosage can cause heaviness in abdomen, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

In an experiment WS was given to mice as 25% of diet (exceeding large dosage). There had been microscopic lesions on organs like liver, lungs, vascular congestion and inflammation and tubular congestion of kidneys. Still it is fully safe in human and animals even on fairly large dosage.

The Paradoxical Herb

WS belongs to a family Solanaceae that is related to famous Belladonna and Henbane. These two members are nervine but their toxic nature has limited their use. None of these two herbs are having tonic or rejuvenative or nutritional property. It is one of the reasons of its not been established earlier globally.

As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

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