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ashwagandha side effects


Although ashwagandha supplements (typically taken for anxiety or stress) are generally well-tolerated when taken short-term (weeks to a few months) in typical dosages, mild to moderate side effects such as headache, sleepiness, and stomach upset have been reported in clinical studies. Rarely, liver injury, allergic reactions, and rapid heartbeat have been reported. Ashwagandha can potentially lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and increase thyroid hormone levels.

There are no long-term studies on the safety of ashwagandha supplements, and they should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing.

See the Concerns and Cautions section of the Ashwagandha Supplements Review for more details about the ashwagandha's side effects. The Review includes ConsumerLab's tests and reviews of popular ashwagandha supplements, its Top Pick, and the evidence regarding ashwagandha for anxiety, physical and cognitive performance, and other uses.

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August 16, 2020

I take an Ashwagandha extract for sleep. It is as powerful as the 15mg dose of temazepam I occasionally take. If I take 2 of either, I feel drugged and my memory is poor the next day. In fact, for a while I felt that the Ashwagandha was making me depressed, so I no longer take it nightly. The extract is considerably more powerful than the “whole” Ashwagandha capsules I used to take. I treat the extract with caution, as I do any prescription drug, but it is helpful with my insomnia (I fall asleep easily but awaken later and can’t return to sleep. I have sleep hypopnea, use a CPAP.)

August 16, 2020

I have taken ashwagandha for 2-3 months at a time a number of times. I really like it, it deepens my sleep, boosts my physical strength and endurance and lifts mood. I have no side effects but I read that it is likely to accentuate the effect of any other drug you take.
August 17, 2020

Please see the Concerns and Cautions section of the Ashwagandha Supplements Review for information about drug interactions

wayne 18825
January 8, 2020

I have a violent reaction to ashwaganda, vomiting and diarrhea. Lasts for hours, recently had the same reaction to powdered supplement that did not have ashwaganda listed as an ingredient but was made in the same facility that produced supplements with ashwaganda. Suspect cross-contamination.

October 17, 2020

Wayne 18825. I had exactly the same reaction as you. First time I took one pill I felt vague stomach distress later. l asked myself if my distress was from the supplement. The next time I took one tablet I’d eaten Taco Bell food at about 2am. I ate, still couldn’t sleep, so took one ashwaganda pill. Next morning I was very sick and blamed it on food poisoning. A week or so later I took just one pill again. My results were the same: extreme nausea, sick, gagging, vomiting and diarrhea. I am not a weak tummied vomiting type person! Clearly, though, I must be more allergic to ashwaganda than anything I’ve ever eaten/taken before. I can’t recall the name brand but it’s in a chunky square container sold at Costco. The label has a white background. The maker has one or more other items sold at Costco in nearly the same color and block shape container. I considered complaining to Costco. Instead just tossed the container and forgot. Seeing your comment- maybe I will notice Costco after-all.

November 3, 2019

I found ashwagandha very helpful for sleep and anxiety. However, it made me break out on my face. At first it was after 3 or 4 days, so I started taking it every other day. Within a week, I was breaking out whenever I took it - even if I waited a week in between doses.

February 10, 2019

I tried using Ashwaganda 3 different times, but gained unwanted weight each time. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem.
I have no financial interest in this product or competing product.

October 16, 2019

I have taken the so-called best Ashwaganda products off and on for years, guided by Consumerlab picks and at high and low doses. I have never felt anything from it.

January 8, 2019

I have been on Lisinpril for many years, I love vitamins but not sure which ones I can take while on lisinipril. Could you please advice me? I dont know the interactions.
January 8, 2019

Hi Alma - Please see our CL Answer about supplement interactions with Linsinopril and other ACE inhibitor drugs:

December 22, 2018

I could benefit from taking ashwaganda to help with stress and anxiety but wonder if it can be taken alongside baby aspirin if taken hours apart?
December 27, 2018

Hi Lida - Some preliminary research suggests ashwagandha may have blood-thinning effects, so use with caution if taking aspirin. See the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Ashwagandha Supplements Review:

December 12, 2018

I have always been able to take ashwagandha in the whole herb form as a tincture or powdered. But, I purchased a recommended brand, and took it for 3 days. On the third day (today), I broke out into hives with itching, and also had a huge blood sugar drop. I felt absolutely awful. I thought I was going to faint. That was earlier in the day. I am still feeling quite out of it, and have a headache. I do not have any financial interest in the product.
December 26, 2018

Hi Candance - Thank you for sharing your experience with this. Ashwagandha can cause allergic reactions, including rash and itching, and may potentially lower blood sugar, as noted in the Concerns and Cautions section of the Ashwagandha Review: Also be aware that extracts are more potent than whole-herb products.

Diana 17189
September 21, 2018

I have no financial interest in the product noted, but I can say when I take Ashwaganda I feel great and have better outlook on life! I have social anxiety and it helps me cope somehow someway. I have never taken it long term, but have been taking it for the last month and a half (250 mg - at night to help with sleep). I am not certain it makes a huge difference with sleep as I take Trazadone, but I can say I wake up pretty refreshed and feeling great! I also have hypothyroid and take 1 grain Naturethroid. My levels are always on the lower side, but my ND tells me they are good. It could help me in that area too, but everything is trial and error and how you feel so for now I like it and will keep taking it!

September 10, 2018

I discontinued my dessicated thyroid pills on my own and have used Ashwagandha tincture so I can control the amount I take to assist my thyroid. I use it once daily for 3-4 weeks at a time then stop for a few weeks before restarting. My thyroid levels are in the "normal" range but on the edge. I take the tincture with water as directed about 5 hours before bed. If you have had problems, I support not using it again because herbs, etc. can be very powerful and have unwanted side effects depending on the individual. Based on my own experience, I will no longer try any herb in capsule form. I have no financial interest in this supplement.

August 24, 2018

Each of the three times I took a supplement that had ashwaghanda in it, I thought that I was having a heart attack. Heartbeat was so rapid.

I have no financial interest in this supplement.

September 4, 2018

What other ingredients were in these supplements? That could make a big difference.

wayne 17096
August 22, 2018

Don't know how common it is but I get a violent reaction to ashwaganda, vomiting and diarrhea, generally feeling like I'm at death's door for a few hours. Needless to say I avoid it like the plague.

July 30, 2019

I had the same reaction to ashwagandha as wayne 17096 August 22, 2018, I went to the ER for non-stop dry heaves and diarrhea later. They measured lipase extremely elevated in my blood test. I emptied the jar of ashwaghanda down the toilet and flushed it. Never again!

September 20, 2019

How much were you taking and was it an extract form?

October 13, 2019

When I tried ashwaghanda, I had severe pain in one knee that had never bothered me before. My husband suspected it may be in the night shade plant family. It is. Those sensitive to this plant family need to be aware. It includes popular vegetables - white potato, tomatoes, peppers, egg plant , gogi berries, goose berries and ashwaghanda. Tobacco is also a nightshade plant. I stopped using ashwaghanda and the pain went away. I'm leaving this herb out of my diet for the rest of my life.
October 14, 2019

Hi Sara - Thank you for sharing this. Ashwagandha is part of the "nightshade" family of plants, and, as noted above, could potentially cause allergic reactions in some people. You can find more about this in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Ashwagandha Supplements Review:

September 5, 2021

I also had a violent response from taking ashwagandha. I don.'t recall the details, but it was my digestive system. I have never had a response like that before Genie Deutsch

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