First, you have to know that Ashwagandha has been used and valued in Chinese and Indian naturopathy for all kinds of ailments and diseases for many centuries. Also, due to its particularly good tolerance, the root is considered a panacea in Ayurveda and traditional medicine.
In general, users report that Ashwagandha is well tolerated.
To rule out Ashwagandha side effects as far as possible, users should first start with low doses and wait for the body reaction. After all, every one of us reacts differently to medication and food supplements.
The following side effects of Ashwagandha have been reported:
- Vomiting, diarrhoea, and nausea can occur with an overdose of Ashwagandha.
- Upset gastrointestinal tract and abdominal pain can also be side effects of Ashwagandha.
- Since the medicinal plant stimulates the appetite in some people, the Ashwagandha supplement can lead to weight gain. However, often this side effect is deliberate.
- The root extract is also partly taken to lose weight and prevent food cravings. Find out more on this in the previous blog article.
- Although allergic reactions are rare, they are quite possible. These include rashes, itching, or shortness of breath. In this case, stop using the sleeping berries immediately and seek medical help.
- Ashwagandha is said to have both antihypertensive and antihypertensive effects.
- In the case of diabetes and diseases of the cardiovascular system, the intake should therefore be clarified in advance with the treating family doctor.
Who cannot take Ashwagandha?
Even medicinal roots, like Ashwagandha, are not suitable for everyone. Even with certain pre-existing illnesses or autoimmune diseases, it is better to refrain from unauthorized use of all kinds of remedies or to consult with medical specialists. It also applies in particular in the following cases:
Pregnancy and breastfeeding period
Ashwagandha is not suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. On the one hand, the results of studies have not been adequately researched. On the other hand, the roots can influence hormonal balance.
People who are already taking medication for an overactive thyroid should not use Ashwagandha. The sleeping berry can influence the production of thyroid hormones, so interaction or reinforcement can arise.
Ashwagandha can cause blood sugar levels to drop. It can lead to complications when using insulin at the same time. People with diabetes should therefore avoid the medicinal root or discuss the intake with their diabetologist in advance.
Systemic diseases (e.g. high blood pressure, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis)
Ashwagandha can lower blood pressure and have a positive effect on the immune system. Nevertheless, for people with diagnosed pre-existing conditions, the use of nootropics must always be discussed with a doctor in advance, especially if other medications are already being taken. The risk of interactions or other undesirable effects must always be clarified individually.
Alcohol, sedatives, and anti-anxiety drugs
Combining Ashwagandha supplements with sedatives of any kind is dangerous. Especially in the case of strong, medically prescribed medication (e.g. for panic attacks, depression or anxiety disorders), the additional intake of the sleeping berry could increase the effect or even lead to an overdose. You should not consume this nootropic with alcohol. In principle, higher doses of Ashwagandha should only be taken in the evening before going to bed, as the ability to react can be impaired by the onset of fatigue.
Diseases of the digestive tract
As a side effect of Ashwagandha can be diarrhoea, vomiting and gastrointestinal upset, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers or similar complaints should rather avoid the medicinal root. It should be possible to take it in low doses, but it is always better to speak to the physician or the pharmacy beforehand.
Does Ashwagandha cause weight gain?
Some users report increased appetite after taking Ashwagandha. Others use the medicinal root to lose weight and lose a few pounds.
What sounds paradoxical at first is due to the effect of the plant.
For one, taking the Ashwagandha supplement relieves stress and anxiety, as the rise in cortisol levels is dampened. Stress, sleep problems, and worries are primary causes of obesity and food cravings for some people. If the stress level is reduced, this can also change eating behaviour. For others, on the other hand, a more balanced, stress-free life leads to new, often healthier eating habits, so that these people can feel their appetite again and, if necessary, gain weight.
Second, the Ashwagandha root stabilizes or lowers the blood sugar level. In non-diabetics, a fluctuating blood sugar level, e.g. with hypoglycemia, can trigger a strong feeling of hunger. If the blood sugar level is stable, such food cravings are reduced and it may be possible to lose weight.
That said, Ashwagandha affects two of the main causes of obesity - stress or balance and blood sugar levels. Many users appreciate the medicinal root as support to lose weight.
Communications, PR, American Studies, University of Leipzig
Journalist and freelance writer (e.g. Süddeutsche Zeitung, BILD, MDR etc.)
Former Senior PR Manager for Fischer Appelt, Sustainability and Diversity Manager for DKB