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Is Ashwagandha Safe? Who Should Avoid It?

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Ashwagandha is a classical medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine with tremendous health benefits. It also goes by other names, including Indian ginseng or winter cherry.

Ashwagandha belongs to the nightshade family. Other plants in the same family include peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. Even with so many benefits and a widely growing usage, Ashwagandha is not fit for certain groups of people. For instance, pregnant women, people undergoing surgery, and people with stomach ulcers may want to keep off ashwagandha.

Read on to find out whether or not ashwagandha is good for you.

Is Ashwagandha Safe?

Since time immemorial, people have consumed ashwagandha for its medicinal properties. Today, many people continue to take advantage of this miraculous form of Ayurvedic medicine.  However, modern scientists are still conducting ongoing research on the safety of Ashwagandha.

In research to test the safety of Ashwagandha, scientists put a group of male and female volunteers on Ashwagandha root extract for eight weeks. The scientists did not observe any side effects, thus proving the safety of ashwagandha.

However, higher doses of ashwagandha may cause unpleasant effects on your body. For instance, high doses lead to a catecholamine increase in your heart and a decrease in your adrenal glands. So if you’re wondering, ‘is ashwagandha a blood thinner?” it just might be.

Who Should Not Take Ashwagandha?

Despite the various benefits of Ashwagandha, it is not suitable for certain groups of people as it may lead to serious side effects. Some of the groups of people who shouldn't take Ashwagandha include:

Pregnant And Breastfeeding Mothers

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your doctor before taking ashwagandha as a supplement.

Ashwagandha may be unsafe during pregnancy as it may lead to miscarriage. Additionally, there is not enough research about the side effects of Ashwagandha on breastmilk, so it is safer to avoid it.

People Undergoing Surgery

Scientific data shows that Ashwagandha can cause tranquillizing effects, thus slowing down the central nervous system. When in surgery, combining Ashwagandha and other post-surgical drugs may speed up your nervous system to slow down.

If you are going for surgery, ensure to stop your ashwagandha treatment at least two weeks before surgery.

People with high blood pressure.

Ashwagandha can be used to reduce blood pressure. While it sounds like a good thing, it can be catastrophic for people suffering from low or high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, ashwagandha can lower it further. On the other hand, if you have high blood pressure, your prescribed medication might interact negatively with ashwagandha.

People with stomach ulcers

You should avoid ashwagandha if you have stomach ulcers, as it can irritate your gastrointestinal tract.

Benefits Of Ashwagandha

Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

While the plant is famous for its medicinal value, researchers have found that it can also help regulate blood sugar. Ashwagandha balances blood glucose by increasing insulin production and insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.

Diabetes is incurable, but you can manage it using medicine like Ashwagandha. Studies also show that the plant's root powder can reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes. This is especially true for adults suffering from stress-related health issues.

The plant works well for people with high blood sugar levels. However, doctors recommend it for people with Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes that accounts for over 90% of all diabetes cases. Like other drugs, you should take ashwagandha in moderation. To be safe, follow your physician's prescription to the latter.  

Reduces Stress And Anxiety

Stress can take various forms, including psychological, emotional, and physical. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress in humans. It is also called the stress hormone.

Research reveals that a dose of ashwagandha root extract can reduce cortisol levels, reducing stress levels.

Additionally, Ashwagandha's interactions with other treatments can boost mental activities like concentration.

May Stop The Growth of Cancer Cells

Although there is no research on humans to prove Ashwagandha possesses anti-cancer properties, scientific animal studies around the same yielded results.

Studies have shown that the compound withaferin found in Ashwagandha can interfere with the growth of cancer cells. As a result, the cancer cells become more accessible to target during apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cells.

Boosts Male Fertility and Testosterone Levels

Fertility is the ability to reproduce without medical intervention. If you are experiencing fertility issues, you are not alone.

The good news is that research revealed that men using ashwagandha powder might be able to boost their testosterone levels. This, in turn, increases the sperm count, boosting fertility.

Increases Muscle Mass And Strength

Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit word that translates to "smell of the horse." This name is attributed to the herb's smell and strength-increasing capabilities.

Ashwagandha roots have been proven to reduce body fat and increase strength and muscle mass in men and women.

Daily intake of Ashwagandha by athletes can improve strength and oxygen usage during exercise, enhancing performance.

Due to its medicinal value, the herb also helps with quick recovery after prolonged serious injuries.

Bottom Line

Although Ashwagandha has been in consumption for a long time, further research on its safety and efficiency is still underway.

Various Ashwagandha supplements are available online in health and supplement stores.

Ensure you only buy products from reliable and reputable companies. Also, it is imperative to always consult with your doctor or specialist before embarking on a new form of treatment.

Let your doctor be aware of your medical history and any medical prescriptions that you are using at the time. Doing so will help you prevent any possible side effects or reactions.

Additionally, if you notice any changes in your body function while taking Ashwagandha, seek medical attention ASAP.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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