Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an ancient medicinal herb with various therapeutic benefits. It is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine and is believed to help with stress, anxiety, and overall wellness. However, like all medications and supplements, ashwagandha has potential drawbacks that one should be aware of.
May Cause Reduction in Blood Pressure
Ashwagandha can lower blood pressure significantly. Hence those who already have low blood pressure should avoid this supplement as it may lead to hypotension and cause harmful side effects such as dizziness, fainting, and fatigue.
May Cause Detrimental Effects to Pregnant Women
Ashwagandha has been associated with gastrointestinal adverse effects, such as diarrhea and stomach upset. Ingesting Ashwagandha in high dosage may result in worsened morning sickness and preterm labor. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid this remedy or seek advice from their midwife or doctor before using it.
Can Cause Changes in Hormones
Ashwagandha has been shown to increase testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in males, which may cause hormonal changes leading to acne, facial hair growth, and increased aggression. Therefore, these effects are likely not desirable for women who should avoid taking ashwagandha in high doses.
May Lead to Allergic Reactions
Ashwagandha allergies are rare but not unprecedented, although they are quite severe. Symptoms may include swelling, itching, shortness of breath, or other allergic responses. These reactions can be life-threatening in specific cases, especially when the allergy triggers anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction requiring emergency medical attention.
Can Interact with Other Medications
Ashwagandha has the potential to interact with other medications. Therefore, it is necessary to speak with a doctor or pharmacist before adding ashwagandha supplements to an existing medicinal regimen. Interactions with antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and immunosuppressants have been reported.
May Cause Drowsiness
Ashwagandha is commonly used to help with relaxation and sleep. However, it may also cause drowsiness, especially when taken in combination with other sedatives. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid any activity that requires alertness or concentration when taking ashwagandha.
May Cause Diarrhea and Stomach Upset
One of ashwagandha's side effects is an increased risk of diarrhea and stomach upset. The risk of gastrointestinal distress may also be higher when taking high doses or when ingesting low-quality products. Therefore, it is crucial to buy ashwagandha only from reputable retailers and to avoid ingesting excessive amounts of it.
Can Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Ashwagandha may also have an effect on blood sugar levels. It can reduce blood sugar levels and, as a result, should be carefully monitored for diabetic patients or those using insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herbal remedy used to combat numerous ailments. However, like any other medication, it has its potential side effects. Pregnant women should avoid taking high doses of Ashwagandha due to complications with pregnancy and an increased risk of miscarriage. Patients with low blood pressure should avoid it due to hypotension. Those taking medication should also consult with their doctors before taking ashwagandha, as it may interact with prescribed medication. All in all, Ashwagandha is an excellent supplement worth exploring after a careful consultation with a healthcare professional.