Ashwagandha is a plant. The root and berry are used to make medicine. Ashwagandha has a lot of uses. But so far, there isn't enough information to judge whether it is effective for any of them. Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), balance, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, Parkinson's disease, under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism), and chronic liver disease. It is also used to reduce side effects of medications used to treat cancer and schizophrenia. Ashwagandha is used to reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood. Ashwagandha is also used as an "adaptogen" to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic. Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging. It is also used for fertility problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire. Ashwagandha I can be applied to the skin for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia). In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as "Indian ginseng." Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments. We want to be cautious not to confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry.
How effective is it? Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, P
ossibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for ASHWAGANDHA are as follows: Possibly effective for...
Stress. Taking a specific ashwagandha root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) 300 mg twice daily after food for 60 days appears to improve symptoms of stress.
Anxiety. Some clinical research shows that taking ashwagandha can reduce some symptoms of anxiety or anxious mood.
Fatigue in people treated for cancer (chemotherapy). Early research suggests taking a specific ashwagandha extract 2,000 mg (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) during chemotherapy treatment might reduce feelings of tiredness.
Diabetes. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
High cholesterol. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol.
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). People with underactive thyroid have high blood levels of a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). People with underactive thyroid can also have low levels of thyroid hormone. Taking ashwagandha seems to lower TSH and increase thyroid hormone levels in people with a mild form of underactive thyroid.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research shows that ashwagandha powder taken for 3 weeks followed by 4 weeks of sidh makardhwaj (a mixture of gold, mercury, and sulfur) slightly improves symptoms in some people with RA. The impact of ashwagandha alone in RA is unclear.
Increasing interest in sex. Early research shows that taking ashwagandha extract daily for 8 weeks along with receiving counseling increases interest in sex and sexual satisfaction in adult women with sexual dysfunction better than counseling alone.
Preventing the signs of aging.
How does it work? Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling inflammation, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.
Special precautions & warnings: Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant. It is rated LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the use of ashwagandha during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. High or low blood pressure: Ashwagandha might decrease blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low in people with low blood pressure; or interfere with medications used to treat high blood pressure. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously if you have low blood pressure or take medications for your blood pressure. Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Don't use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer. "Autoimmune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using ashwagandha. Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. Are there interactions with medications? ModerateBe cautious with this combination.Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Ashwagandha might decrease blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking ashwagandha along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed. Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Ashwagandha might lower blood pressure. Taking ashwagandha with medications used to treat high blood pressure might cause blood pressure levels to go to low. Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others. Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) Ashwagandha seems to make the immune system more active. Taking ashwagandha along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of these medications. Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines)Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), flurazepam (Dalmane), midazolam (Versed), and others. Sedative medications (CNS depressants) Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others. Thyroid hormoneThe body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking ashwagandha with thyroid hormone pills might cause too much thyroid hormone in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormone.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements? Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressureAshwagandha might lower blood pressure. Combining ashwagandha with other herbs and supplements that also lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go to low. Some herbs and supplements of this type include andrographis, casein peptides, cat's claw, coenzyme Q-10, fish oil, L-arginine, lyceum, stinging nettle, theanine, and others.Herbs/supplements with sleep-promoting (Sedative) propertiesAshwagandha can act like a sedative. That is, it can cause sleepiness. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that also act like sedatives might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.
*Source: MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine.