Ashwagandha is part of the medicinal plant family that is grouped as adaptogens which are popular to balance out physical, mental, and emotional stressors in the body. They do exactly as the name suggests, they help you adapt to the different stressful environments or phases your body is subjected to.

In general, Ashwagandha is a safe herb for most people to use but there are a few things one needs to be mindful of. Let's discuss what are the possible side effects of Ashwagandha, what not to mix with Ashwagandha, is Ashwagandha safe for children, and who should avoid its consumption? If these questions have been on your mind, read on!

Firstly, before starting the use of any herbal supplement or medicines in your diet you should consult a doctor.

Who should or should not take Ashwagandha?

If the question When should I stop taking Ashwagandha? has led you to multiple opinions on the internet, we are here to break down the myths and present facts!

  • Diabetic Patients - The herb lowers blood sugar levels but since individuals with Diabetes are already on medication that brings similar results, it is best to monitor blood sugar levels when you choose to take both. In fact, this study concludes that Ashwagandha can improve insulin sensitivity and be a means to control glucose levels.
  • Individuals on immunosuppressants - Diseases like multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus that require an individual to be on immunosuppressants can worsen if they mix Ashwagandha. However, the herb is said to extremely beneficial in some cases. For rheumatoid arthritis, it can boost the functioning of the immune system. In a study conducted with over 125 participants, a regular intake of Ashwagandha saw a decrease in RA factor. There was a change in swollen joint counts, tender joint counts and more.
  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women - While there are multiple changes happening in the body on a hormonal level, it is suggested that a doctor consultation should be taken before usage of Ashwagandha during pregnancy. Early research indicates that Ashwagandha is not beneficial for women during these stages, hence precaution should be practiced.
  • Post Surgery - Ashwagandha is said to have a calming effect and acts as a sedative. It slows down the central nervous system which results in relaxation. However, when you pair it with the medication used during and post a surgery which also slows down the central nervous system €“ it can result in an increased slow down which isn't advisable. It is best to stop using Ashwagandha two weeks prior to any surgical procedure and it€™s also imperative to inform the doctors about any supplements you've been taking.
  • Individuals with Thyroid disorders - There are studies that indicate intake of Ashwagandha may impact the thyroid hormone levels in the system. Ashwagandha is often prescribed to patients with Thyroid conditions but theres information floating around that Ashwagandha does harm to thyroid patients. In a study done with 50 people that had elevated serum TSH levels showed that over a period of 8 weeks of treatment, showed that Ashwagandha helped normalize TSH levels in most patients.

What are the side-effects of Ashwagandha?

While Ashwagandha is a largely safe herb supplement to consume, one has to take into account their own body before introducing any new substance to it. Generally, the capsule dosage of Ashwagandha contains between 250 to 1500 mg of Ashwagandha and is considered safe for consumption.

It is always better to consult a healthcare expert when it comes to dosage and frequency because it is related to the condition you are hoping to treat. While there are no side effects seen with low to medium usage, high dosages can sometimes lead to nausea or diarrhea.

Does Ashwagandha interact with any substances or medication?

If you are being treated for Diabetes, you might be on medication that works on lowering blood sugar. Ashwagandha works in the same way so one should be careful while medicating, and should monitor blood sugar levels regularly. You can gradually seek to lower medicine dosage while you take Ashwagandha regularly. A list of medicines for Diabetes include, but aren't limited to:

o   Glimepiride

o   Glyburide

o   Insulin

o   Metformin

o   Glipzide

Exercise precaution when pairing Ashwagandha with High blood pressure medicines. A list of medicines for High Blood pressure include, but aren't limited to:

o   Captopril

o   Enalapril

o   Iosartan

o   Valsartan

Consult a doctor if you€™re on immunosuppressant medicines because they have polar opposite functions to Ashwagandha. A list of immunosuppressants include, but aren't limited to:

o   Azathioprine

o   Cyclosporine

o   Sirolimus

o   Prednisone

Pairing with sedatives can cause extreme drowsiness. Some of the sedatives include, but aren't limited to:

o   Clonazepam

o   Diazepam

o   Midazolam

Is Ashwagandha safe for children?

For growing children, Ashwagandha can actually be beneficial. Due to its medicinal qualities, it prevents a cold and boosts immune system functioning. When children start touching puberty, there are a lot of dynamic hormonal changes which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for the child. Not only does Ashwagandha help regulate and stabilize hormones, it also helps reduce the stress. The herb then acts as an immunity booster for kids.

For children aged 6 to 12, a dosage of 500 MG is recommended to be taken with breakfast. Children older than 12 can increase the intake to 1,000 MG a day. Overall, it is beneficial for children and adults alike.

With a lot of information in the market, always go by a trusted source and an expert health provider to recommend the right quantity and time period for you and your children.

Forest Raga brings you Ashwagandha right from the beautiful forests. You can get your starter bottle here, and beat misconceptions with knowledge as you choose a path to health!

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