Ashwagandha, known scientifically as Withania somnifera, has been used by scholars and proponents of ayurvedic medicine for centuries as an adaptogen – to normalize all physiological functions and increase resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue. Cultivated all over the Indian subcontinent, especially Madhya Pradesh, it is also supposed to show anti-carcinogenic action on cell cultures. It is also known for centuries for anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and immune boosting properties. Many refer to it as Indian ginseng for the fact that it is used in India and the Indian Subcontinent in the same way that traditional Chinese school of medicine uses ginseng. This shrub can grow up to 170 cms in size and every part of it has been in used by herbalists for centuries – be it the leaves, most of all the roots, or the yellow flowers, or its red, berry-like fruits. It can be used as a tincture with just water or dissolved in tea. In fact, after ginseng it is next herb that is most commonly consumed as tea. However, for all its benefits, it would be ignorant to believe that Ashwagandha, or any other medicinal plant, has no side effects for the fact that they are natural and not artificially produced. Proponents of ayurvedic medicines have never claimed it to be fool-proof or devoid of side effects, especially when taken in excess. Read on to know how Ashwagandha can prove to be a problem for the human body and when to avoid its usage.
Side Effects Of Ashwagandha
- Many a times, especially when its root extract is used in medicines, it is used along with sugar, as the extract is quite bitter. People who have diabetes will have to be very cautious. Alcohol is also often used along with the tincture, so those who are dealing with alcohol dependence or any of the liver diseases, should be cautious in consuming it.
- Ashwagandha is not prescribed for pregnant women and nursing mothers, as it may interfere with the growth and nutrition that the baby receives.
- People who have health issues related to their thyroid glands are usually advised not to use Ashwagandha.
- Individuals with digestive disorders and ulcers should also not use Ashwagandha.
- Excess dosage of Ashwagandha, like any other herb or medicinal plant, has known to show signs of toxicity and cases like vomiting, nausea, or other gastronomical issues.
- If used in combination with other sedatives or other medicines with sedative or tranquillizing properties, it can be very harmful, as it is a potential sedative-hypnotic.
- Like Echinacea, it also possesses immunostimulant properties, rendering it unfit for use by those who suffer from autoimmune diseases, like HIV, AIDS, and so on. It should also not be used by people who have just had or will be undergoing an organ transplant as it might lead to the body rejecting the organ.