16 Ashwagandha Side Effects That You Should Know

Medically reviewed by G. Liakeas, MD FACT CHECKED

Since ancient times, the herb ashwagandha has been employed in traditional Indian medicine. In recent years, it has become popular in the western world as a complementary treatment for a variety of conditions, such as anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

Although Ashwagandha is generally considered safe, there are a few potential side effects that you should be aware of before taking it.

This article will provide you with everything you need to know about Ashwagandha, including its potential side effects.

The following are the side effects of Ashwagandha:

  1. Dangerous During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

    While ashwagandha is generally considered safe, there is some concern that it may be harmful during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

    Ashwagandha may stimulate the uterus, which could lead to abortion or miscarriage. Additionally, ashwagandha may increase the production of breast milk.

    Therefore, it is better to avoid ashwagandha during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  2. Might Lead to Liver Damage

    This is likely because ashwagandha contains compounds that could be toxic to the liver.

    If you take ashwagandha, it’s important to be aware of the potential risk for liver damage and to watch for signs and symptoms of liver problems.

  3. May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

    There’s one potential downside to ashwagandha that you should be aware of: it may lower blood sugar levels way too much.

    This is especially important if you have diabetes or if you’re taking medication to control your blood sugar levels.

    Ashwagandha may interact with these medications and cause your blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels.

  4. May Make Hyperthyroidism Worse

    The condition known as hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland overproduces the thyroid hormone.

    This could lead to a number of symptoms, including weight loss, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and irritability.

    There is no known cure for hyperthyroidism, but there are treatments that could help to control the symptoms.

    If you have hyperthyroidism and are considering taking ashwagandha, it is important to speak to your doctor first.

    Ashwagandha may help to relieve some of the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but it may also make your hyperthyroidism worse.

  5. May Make Autoimmune Diseases Worse

    Autoimmune diseases are illnesses in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, thinking they are foreign invaders.

    Ashwagandha has been shown to increase the activity of certain immune cells, which may contribute to the development or worsening of autoimmune diseases.

  6. Could Lead to Digestive Problems

    Gastrointestinal Issues may be caused by the body’s reaction to the supplement. In some cases, the body may not be able to digest the supplement properly, which could lead to gastrointestinal issues.

    In other cases, the body may be sensitive to the supplement, which could also lead to gastrointestinal issues.

    The most common gastrointestinal issues associated with ashwagandha are mild and include upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea.

  7. Could Make You Sleepy

    Some people also take ashwagandha to help with insomnia.

    While ashwagandha is generally considered safe, there is some concern that it may cause drowsiness.

    This is because ashwagandha contains a chemical called withanolides, which have sedative properties.

    If you are taking ashwagandha, it is important to be aware of this potential side effect and to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery if you feel drowsy.

  8. Possibly Result In Erectile Dysfunction

    Ashwagandha may lead to erectile dysfunction in some men. This is because ashwagandha may interfere with the body’s production of nitric oxide, which is necessary for erections.

  9. Could Lead to Allergies

    The protein content of the herb may be to blame. When ashwagandha is consumed, the proteins could bind to the antibodies in the body, which could then trigger an allergic reaction.

    If you are allergic to ashwagandha, you may experience symptoms such as skin rash, hives, and difficulty breathing.

  10. May Lead To Fever

    The popular herbal supplement ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is generally well tolerated, but in some people, it may cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, or vomiting.

    In addition, some people may experience allergic reactions, such as skin rash, hives, or itching.

    But one of the more serious side effects of ashwagandha is that it may cause fever.

    This is because the herb contains a compound called withanolide, which has been shown to stimulate the production of inflammatory cytokines.

    Cytokines are a type of protein that helps to regulate the immune system, and when they are produced in excess, they could cause fever.

  11. May Result In Bleeding

    This is because ashwagandha contains a chemical called Withaferin, which has been shown to have anti-platelet activity. This means that it may interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood.

  12. Might Lead To Dry Mouth

    A dry mouth is a condition where the mouth feels dry and parched. It could be caused by a variety of things, including medications, dehydration, and certain medical conditions.

    Ashwagandha may cause dry mouth because ashwagandha could reduce saliva production. A dry mouth could cause discomfort and may lead to other problems such as gum disease.

    If you experience dry mouth after taking ashwagandha, try drinking plenty of fluids and chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.

  13. May Lead to Kidney Damage

    There is some concern that ashwagandha may cause kidney damage. This is because the herb contains a chemical called withanolide, which has been shown to be toxic to kidney cells.

    Additionally, ashwagandha supplements have been linked to a few cases of kidney damage in people.

  14. Might Reduce Blood Pressure

    While taking ashwagandha by itself might help persons with hypertension, doing so in combination with other medications that also drop blood pressure has the potential to be fatal.

    Additionally, it might be hazardous for those with disorders that cause low blood pressure.

  15. It May Lead To Drug Interactions

    Ashwagandha is generally considered safe when used at recommended doses for short-term treatment.

    However, the potential drug interactions with ashwagandha is not well known.

    Ashwagandha may interact with certain medications, such as immunosuppressants, sedatives, and thyroid hormone medications.

    Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha, particularly if you are taking other medications.

  16. May Cause Weight Gain

    Ashwagandha may cause weight gain by increasing appetite or by causing the body to hold onto more fat.

Final Remark

In conclusion, Ashwagandha is generally well tolerated by most people. However, it may cause some side effects, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, headache, and drowsiness.

If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking ashwagandha and see your healthcare provider.

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