Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a popular herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is commonly used to manage stress, anxiety, and improve overall health. However, not everyone can safely consume this herb as it may interact with certain medications and have side effects.
People with Thyroid Disorders
Ashwagandha is known to have an effect on the thyroid function. Specifically, it can increase the production of a thyroid hormone called T4. This can be beneficial for people with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone.
However, for people with hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, ashwagandha can worsen the symptoms. It can make the hyperthyroidism more severe and even lead to thyroid storm, a life-threatening complication.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Ashwagandha has not been extensively studied in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Therefore, it is not known how safe it is for them to use this herb. Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may have a negative effect on fetal growth and development. Additionally, ashwagandha may pass into breast milk and affect the nursing baby.
Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid using ashwagandha until more research is conducted on its safety.
People with Autoimmune Diseases
Ashwagandha is known to have an immune-stimulating effect, which can be beneficial for some people. However, for people with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, this effect can be harmful.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, mistaking them for foreign invaders. Ashwagandha can stimulate the immune system to attack the body even more, causing the symptoms of autoimmune diseases to worsen.
People with Low Blood Pressure
Ashwagandha is known to have a blood pressure-lowering effect. For most people, this is a beneficial effect as it can help reduce high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. However, for people with already low blood pressure, ashwagandha can cause hypotension, a condition in which blood pressure drops too low.
Some symptoms of hypotension include dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and blurred vision. Therefore, people with low blood pressure should avoid using ashwagandha or consult with their healthcare provider before using it.
Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that can offer many health benefits. However, not everyone can safely consume it. People with thyroid disorders, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with autoimmune diseases, and people with low blood pressure should avoid using ashwagandha or consult with their healthcare provider before using it.