October 8, 2021

Ashwagandha Has a Host of Benefits—and Some Sneaky Side Effects

These Ashwagandha adaptogens are all the rage these days. These powerful herbs can help us adapt and manage stress. We are open to any suggestion that could help us manage stress. It wouldn’t surprise us if many of you feel this way.

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or Withania somnifera, is one of the most well-known adaptogens. Ayurvedic medicine uses their root extensively. You can take it in capsules, powdered tea or tincture.

Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy that has been useful for hundreds of centuries. However, its health benefits have also made it a popular alternative to Ayurveda. They can be beneficial to improve energy, regulate our nervous system, sleep, enhance libido, prevent or stop stress-related hair loss and increase energy.

Ellie Heintze is a licensed acupuncturist and Naturopathic doctor at Starting Point Acupuncture and Wellness. “One of the hallmarks ashwagandha’s adaptogen and neuronal properties,” she says. It can balance stress levels, boost mood, and help with mental clarity, focus, and concentration. Studies have also shown that they may reduce inflammation and pain.

For more information on side effects and benefits of this adaptogens, please read the following.

Ashwagandha May Help Balance Stress in Your Body

Adaptogens are able to increase resistance to various forms of stress.

Jaclyn Tolentino (Doctor at Parsley Health) says that adaptogens are meant to balance the body and cultivate and sustain resilience.

Particularly, Ashwagandha can be helpful in balancing stress levels. Heintze states that ashwagandha’s adaptogen and neurovine properties are its hallmarks.

It is highly useful to help reduce stress levels and balance them. Cortisol, the body’s primary stresshormone, plays an important role in our body’s fight or flight response. You may feel increased heart rate or blood pressure if your cortisol levels rise.

Many studies on adaptogens have been small and restricted in scope. There is not a lot of clinical data that supports the many benefits they can bring to the body. Tolentino mentions that adaptogens such as ashwagandha are used in traditional medicine for hundreds upon centuries.

She says, “I recommend adaptogens in the practice when appropriate-if it is something I believe the patient would benefit from including into their wellness regimen and it is not contraindicated.”

Ashwagandha May Have Cognitive Benefits

Are you having trouble focusing recently? Ashwagandha can help improve memory, mental clarity, focus, as well as other areas of cognition.

Tolentino states that Ashwagandha has been traditionally useful to improve memory and cognitive function. It may also be good for mood. If ashwagandha has been proven to be safe for you, we do not have any clinical data.

Ashwagandha May Reduce Inflammation and Pain

Research shows that ashwagandha can reduce inflammation in the body. This is significant because inflammation plays an important role in our overall health, particularly when it is chronic. Read more about how inflammation can impact our health here.

These benefits might be enough to convince you to give Ashwagandha a shot. However, it is important to be aware that there are potential side effects. These are the most important side effects to be aware of.

You May Experience Digestive Issues

Ashwagandha can cause nausea, stomach irritation, diarrhea and other digestive problems. This is a positive because if you follow the recommended dosage, it may not be as severe.

Heintze states that it can be useful if consumed as directed. It can cause nausea or digestive upset if taken in higher than recommended doses.

You Might Experience Headaches

Ashwagandha can cause headaches and drowsiness. These headaches, along with other digestive side effects, are not always permanent. Tolentino further says that some of these side effects may be temporary.

Not Recommended for Pregnancy

Experts who spoke to us for this article agree that that women should avoid ashwagandha during pregnancy. Talk to a doctor if you have questions.

Consult With Your Doctor

Tolentino says that Ashwagandha might be contraindicated for people who are taking certain medications or are being treated for certain conditions. It is a good idea to consult your doctor before you start taking ashwagandha. This important step can help you ensure that ashwagandha doesn’t interact with any medication you take, or pose problems or heightened risk in relation to any other condition.

Tolentino states that herbal medicines and supplements can be very powerful. “Ashwagandha is well-tolerated for most people, but I recommend that you discuss the use of these treatments with your doctor before incorporating them into your daily routine.”

Ashwagandha could have benefits for your health. These includes stress reduction and improved cognition. Moreover, with all herbal supplements and prescription medications, there are potential side effects. These include headaches, digestive problems, and more. It is important that you consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha.