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Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa. It is commonly used for stress. There is little evidence for its use as an "adaptogen."

Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.

Since ashwagandha is traditionally used as an adaptogen, it is used for many conditions related to stress. Adaptogens are believed to help the body resist physical and mental stress. Some of the conditions it is used for include insomnia, aging, anxiety and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using ashwagandha for COVID-19.

Don't confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry. Also, don't confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.

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  • Stress.  Oral ashwagandha seems to help reduce stress and may also reduce stress-related weight gain.
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When taken by mouth: Ashwagandha is possibly safe when used for up to 3 months. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems might occur.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: It is likely unsafe to use ashwagandha when pregnant. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages.

Breastfeeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe to use when breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

"Auto-immune 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 auto-immune 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.

Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ashwagandha seems to increase the immune system. Taking ashwagandha along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.

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)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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 hormone

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

The 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.

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure: Ashwagandha might lower blood pressure. Taking it with other supplements that have the same effect might cause blood pressure to drop too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include andrographis, casein peptides, L-arginine, niacin, and stinging nettle.
Herbs and supplements with sedative properties: Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking it along with other supplements with similar effects might cause too much sleepiness and/or slowed breathing in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include hops, kava, L-tryptophan, melatonin, and valerian.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Ashwagandha has most often been used by adults in doses up to 1000 mg daily, for up to 12 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Ajagandha, Amangura, Amukkirag, Asan, Asana, Asgand, Asgandh, Asgandha, Ashagandha, Ashvagandha, Ashwaganda, Ashwanga, Asoda, Asundha, Asvagandha, Aswagandha, Avarada, Ayurvedic Ginseng, Cerise d'Hiver, Clustered Wintercherry, Ghoda Asoda, Ginseng Ayurvédique, Ginseng Indien, Hayahvaya, Indian Ginseng, Kanaje Hindi, Kuthmithi, Orovale, Peyette, Physalis somnifera, Samm Al Ferakh, Samm Al Rerakh, Sogade-Beru, Strychnos, Turangi-Ghanda, Vajigandha, Winter Cherry, Withania, Withania somnifera.

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