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Ashwagandha is an herb found in dry areas of India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. Ashwagandha has been used in India for hundreds of years to help the body cope with stress.
Withania somnifera L. Dunal (Solanaceae)
How is this product usually used?
The dried root of ashwagandha is used medicinally. It is an herb that is taken orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed), at a dose of 2 g to 6 g per day.
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
Ashwagandha has been used in traditional Indian medicine for:
- weakness, especially during old age
- renewing tonictonican agent that strengthens and invigorates purposes
- aiding sleep
- enhancing memory
People have also used ashwagandha for:
- increasing resistance to environmental stress
- stimulating the thyroid
- diureticdiuretican agent that increases urine flow
- high cholesterol
More reliable research is needed in humans to show that ashwagandha is helpful for other uses including serving as a renewing tonic, preventing weakness due to old age, aiding sleep, and causing sedation.
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
Side effects of ashwagandha may include drowsiness, low blood pressure, lower blood sugar, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or abdominalabdominalrelating to the stomach and intestines pain. Severe side effects may include shallow breathing and abnormal heart rhythm.
Ashwagandha can interact with some medications. It may increase the sedativesedativean agent that induces sleep, relaxes, and reduces tension effects of alcohol, benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam, clonazepam, etc.), barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital), other sedatives and anxiety-relieving medications and herbal products, and thyroid supplements.
It can add to the blood-pressure-lowering effects of blood pressure medications. It can also add to the blood sugar lowering effects of medications for diabetes.
Ashwagandha may also decrease the effects of medications that suppress the immune system (e.g., cyclosporine, corticosteroids). If you are taking any of these medications or herbal products, talk to your health care provider before using ashwagandha.
You should avoid ashwagandha if you have:
- autoimmune disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis)
- thyroid problems
- peptic ulcer disease (stomach or intestinal ulcers)
- recently had surgery
You should avoid using ashwagandha if you are allergic to it.
You should not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Consult your health care professional if you have any questions.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.
- Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Ashwagandha. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=35, accessed 15 May 2014.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Ashwagandha. 2009
- Natural Standard-the Authority on Integrative Medicine. Ashwagandha.
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