Does ashwagandha have side effects?

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb that has been used in Ayurveda medicine for centuries. The herb is known for its ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, boost brain function, and improve physical performance. Despite its many benefits, some people may wonder whether ashwagandha has side effects.


Before delving into the possible side effects of ashwagandha, it is worth noting that the herb generally has a good safety record. In fact, ashwagandha has been used as a medicine for over 3,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine without any adverse effects.

That said, some people may experience side effects when taking ashwagandha. These side effects are typically mild and temporary.

Possible Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects of ashwagandha include:

  • Stomach upset, such as diarrhea or nausea
  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Headache
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Low blood pressure

While these side effects are generally mild, it is still important to be aware of them. If you experience any of these side effects, you should stop taking ashwagandha and consult your healthcare provider.

Who Should Avoid Ashwagandha?

While ashwagandha is generally safe for most people to take, there are some individuals who should avoid the herb. These include:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: The safety of ashwagandha during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established, so it is best to avoid using the herb during these times.
  • People with autoimmune diseases: Ashwagandha may stimulate the immune system, which could be problematic for people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis.
  • People taking medications for thyroid issues: Ashwagandha may interfere with certain medications used to treat thyroid problems, such as levothyroxine. If you have a thyroid condition, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
  • People preparing for surgery: Ashwagandha may cause excessive sedation, so it is important to avoid using the herb at least two weeks before any scheduled surgeries.


When taking ashwagandha, it is important to follow the recommended dosage on the product label or as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Generally, a daily dose of 500-600 mg of ashwagandha extract is considered safe and effective for most people.


Ashwagandha is generally safe for most people and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years without any adverse effects. However, some people may experience mild and temporary side effects such as stomach upset, drowsiness, and headache. It is also important to note that certain individuals, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with autoimmune diseases, and those taking medications for thyroid problems or preparing for surgery, should avoid using ashwagandha. If you are considering taking ashwagandha, it is important to talk to your doctor first to determine whether it is safe for you.

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