Categories: Medicinal plants

Sides effects and contraindications of ashwagandha

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Discover the sides effects and contraindications of ashwagandha.

From the plant Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng), organic ashwagandha, more precisely the rhizome, is used in Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine) for its adaptogenic properties.

However, in some cases, it can cause certain unwanted harmful effects, usually without major consequences, but it is best to know what these harmful effects are and when they can occur.

Ashwagandha: its contraindications

The consumption of ashwagandha is not recommended without medical advice, or contraindicated, in people:

• pregnant or breastfeeding,

• with intestinal disorders,


• with hyperthyroidism,

• with hemochromatosis.

It is advisable to consult a doctor before embarking on a cure, especially if you are one of the cases mentioned above.

Focus on pregnant or breastfeeding women

As a precautionary principle, ashwagandha is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Indeed, the plant contains alkaloids, powerful chemical principles that are best avoided in pregnant women.

It could cause premature labor or miscarriage, but also disrupt lactation. Even if no work demonstrates their dangerousness, it is, therefore, advisable to be careful.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women in India often use it, but in very small doses.


Focus on thyroid disorders

Ashwagandha naturally stimulates thyroid function, which makes ashwagandha beneficial for hypothyroidism. Conversely, this stimulation of the thyroid gland is therefore harmful in hyperthyroidism.

Ashwagandha: its side effects

Ashwagandha is considered a safe herb, if consumed in the indicated dosage, it is safe. It can be consumed over the long term without causing any side effects, health problems, or particular symptoms.

Digestive disorders

Overconsumption of ashwagandha powder can cause side effects with the appearance of minor symptoms, usually mild intestinal disorders: diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, bloating, etc.

Without danger, these symptoms are all the same as the sign of a concern, it is then necessary to lower the doses, which is generally enough for an improvement of the state, to see stop the catch if they persist.

Soporific effects

Research has shown that ashwagandha lowers stress levels, but also promotes entry into sleep, with soporific action, so ashwagandha is used for better sleep.

In addition, in high doses, it can increase the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter capable of lengthening the reflex time and transiently reducing motor and intellectual faculties.


It is therefore advisable to take precautions when driving and avoid consuming them before driving a vehicle.


Rare cases

In really strong doses, ashwagandha can cause a hypnotic effect, damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys.

Ashwagandha allergies

Although they are very rare, there are cases of ashwagandha allergy. These allergic reactions then appear from the first use of the plant. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can be:

• itching (skin or throat)

• skin rashes and inflammation

• breathing difficulties


• etc.

If you see any such symptoms, stop taking them and consult your doctor.

Drugs interactions

Ashwagandha can, in theory at least, interact with certain drugs or treatments. It can interact with benzodiazepines (sedatives) and certain anxiolytics, so it is not recommended when taking an antidepressant.

It is also advisable to be careful with the antidiabetic, cardiotonic, immunosuppressive treatments or treatments for thyroid disorders, the regulation of arterial pressure, or sedatives, with which drug interactions are theoretically possible.

Always consult the advice of a health professional before starting any treatment.

How to avoid the unwanted effects of ashwagandha?

Follow our ashwagandha tips to avoid any problems when you start taking Ashwagandha:


• do progressive cures: take small doses, then increase them to the cure dose

• Follow the dosages indicated by the seller: do not exceed the dosages

• if symptoms appear, reduce the doses or stop taking

For the little story

Many believe that ashwagandha is banned in France. This is not the case, well, it is no longer the case.

Indeed, the plant was temporarily banned for sale from 2014 to 2015, during the application of the European decree on food supplements.

It was Belgium that considered it safe first by authorizing it for sale, then other European countries followed.


It is part of many slimming products because ashwagandha facilitates weight loss. To go further, you can check out our article on how to use ashwagandha for hair.


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Tags: advantages benefits contraindications disadvantages health medicinal plant side effects uses virtues

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