Ashwagandha Side Effects & Health Benefits

11 Ashwagandha Side Effects to Be Aware Of - NextEvo Naturals

As the world leans more towards holistic wellness, the interest in age-old remedies, especially those rooted in Ayurveda, is resurging. One such powerful herb, ashwagandha, has been under the limelight due to its many potential health benefits. However, as with any natural supplement, it's important to understand both its advantages and possible side effects.

In This Article

What is Ashwagandha?
Is ashwagandha safe? A look at its potential side-effects
Comparing Ashwagandha with Other Adaptogens
FAQs About Ashwagandha

This article will discuss what ashwagandha is, its benefits, and its potential side effects so you can make an educated decision with your physician, about whether or not to add ashwagandha to your supplement regimen.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, known scientifically as Withania somnifera and often termed "Indian Ginseng," has been a cornerstone in Ayurveda for over 2,500 years. Its traditional uses have primarily revolved around rejuvenating the body, bolstering the immune system, and promoting overall well-being.

Recent scientific studies have begun to support these historical claims, lending credibility to ashwagandha's traditional applications. For instance, research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology has demonstrated ashwagandha's potent immunomodulatory effects, highlighting its ability to enhance cell-mediated immunity and thus support the body's defense mechanisms.

Further, a systematic review in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found significant evidence of its stress-relieving properties, underscoring its role in reducing cortisol levels and combating stress, thus aligning with its traditional use in promoting mental health and well-being.

Additionally, studies on its adaptogenic qualities, such as those found in Phytotherapy Research, have shown that ashwagandha can help improve physical energy and endurance, corroborating its historical use as a rejuvenator.

This burgeoning body of scientific evidence not only validates the traditional uses of ashwagandha but also opens the door for its integration into modern wellness practices.

The Many Benefits of Ashwagandha

Diving a bit deeper into the benefits of ashwagandha, let’s explore a few of the most popular reasons for ashwagandha use.

Stress Relief

Ashwagandha is renowned for its adaptogenic qualities. Adaptogens aid the body in responding to physical and psychological stress. Its potential in regulating the body's cortisol levels, a stress hormone, has been highlighted in various studies, emphasizing its role as a natural stress alleviator.

Mood Stability

The herb is believed to enhance brain functionality, potentially leading to mood stabilization and fostering a positive emotional state. Its properties might help maintain healthy neurotransmitter levels, ensuring emotional balance.

Boosting Energy

Apart from its calming properties, ashwagandha has links to increased vitality and energy. This could be particularly beneficial for individuals juggling various responsibilities, ensuring they remain invigorated.

Is ashwagandha safe? A look at its potential side-effects

As we’ve shown, ashwagandha has a number of benefits and is generally safe for most people when taken within the recommended dosages. However, as with any supplement, there are potential side effects and considerations.

We have attempted to be as thorough as possible with research cited at the end of the blog. Additionally, we have notated the risk severity for each potential side effect next to it.

  • Digestive Issues (Mild to moderate): Could include drowsiness, discomfort in the lower abdomen, loose stools, and increased stomach acidity. In higher doses, it may upset the stomach.
  • Blood Pressure Fluctuations (Rare): Monitor your blood pressure if you have concerns or conditions.
  • Blood Sugar Fluctuations (Rare): This is more of a concern for those with diabetes or on blood sugar medication to monitor levels closely.
  • Mood and Mental Health Changes (Rare): Can include changes in mood and mental health status.
  • Dry Mouth (Rare): Some users may experience dryness in the mouth.
  • Increased Body Heat or Sweating (Rare): A possible increase in body temperature or sweating.
  • Sleep Pattern Changes (Mild): May induce drowsiness; beneficial for those seeking better sleep but caution advised when driving.
  • Allergic Reactions (Mild to moderate): Especially for those allergic to nightshades.
  • Medication Interactions (Mild to moderate): Particularly with sedatives, immunosuppressants, and thyroid medications. Consult healthcare providers.
  • Thyroid Hormone Production (Mild): May support thyroid hormone production; those with thyroid conditions should consult a doctor.
  • Headaches (Rare): Consuming with food may help.
  • Immune System Activation (Mild): Beneficial for most but those with autoimmune diseases should be cautious.
  • Liver Damage (Very Rare): Typically these cases have been linked to supplement quality and purity.
  • Surgery Considerations (Moderate): Due to potential interactions with anesthesia and other medications.
  • Testosterone Production (Mild): Those with prostate issues or hormonal imbalances should seek medical advice from their healthcare practitioner before taking ashwagandha.
  • Pregnancy and Nursing (Moderate to High): Recommended avoidance due to lack of comprehensive safety data.


The understanding of ashwagandha's benefits and side effects is continually evolving, thanks to ongoing and future research. Scientists are delving deeper into its pharmacological properties, seeking to uncover how it affects various bodily systems and conditions.

This research aims not only to validate anecdotal claims but also to establish a more solid foundation for its therapeutic use, including precise dosing guidelines, potential drug interactions, and long-term safety profiles.

As the body of evidence grows, so will our understanding, enabling more informed decisions regarding its integration into health and wellness routines.

Long-term Use of Ashwagandha

Long-term use of ashwagandha typically refers to daily consumption over several months or years.

This adaptogen is renowned for its stress-relieving and sleep-improving benefits, which many users seek to maintain over extended periods. However, questions about the sustainability of these benefits and the potential for the body to build tolerance remain pertinent.

The benefits of ashwagandha are reported to persist for many users over the long term. However, individual experiences may vary, and some might find a gradual increase in dosage necessary to achieve the same effects, suggesting a potential for tolerance development.

Ashwagandha pills side effects and ashwagandha gummies side effects mirror those of other forms, indicating that the method of consumption does not significantly alter the risk profile.


Interactions of Ashwagandha with Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices can significantly influence the efficacy and safety of ashwagandha supplementation. For instance, combining ashwagandha with a high-fat diet may enhance its bioavailability and effects, while certain micronutrients could either amplify or mitigate its benefits. 

The interactions between ashwagandha and substances like alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco are complex. Alcohol may exacerbate potential ashwagandha side effects weight gain or liver impact, while caffeine could counteract ashwagandha's calming effects. Tobacco use, in conjunction with ashwagandha, remains understudied but could present additional risks due to potential detoxifying effects on the liver. 

Ashwagandha's influence on exercise performance and muscle growth is an area of growing interest. Some research suggests it may improve strength and recovery due to its anti-inflammatory and stress-reducing properties. 

Furthermore, its effects on sleep can significantly impact those with disrupted sleep patterns, such as shift workers, by potentially stabilizing sleep cycles and improving sleep quality. However, integrating ashwagandha into one's lifestyle requires a holistic approach to ensure that all factors, from diet to exercise and sleep hygiene, are aligned for optimal well-being.


Comparing Ashwagandha with Other Adaptogens

With all this talk about ashwagandha and it being a powerful adaptogen, you might be asking yourself, “What are adaptogens,” and “Are there other powerful adaptogens out there?” 

Adaptogens are natural substances believed to help the body resist stressors of all kinds, physical, chemical, or biological. Ashwagandha shares this space with other notable adaptogens that play a crucial role in herbal medicine due to their unique properties and health benefits: 

  • Rhodiola Rosea, often referred to as golden root, is renowned for its ability to enhance physical endurance and mental focus. It has been traditionally used in Arctic and Northern European regions to combat fatigue and improve resilience against stress. Rhodiola is particularly valued for its energizing effects, making it a popular choice for those looking to boost their stamina and mental clarity during challenging times.
  • Ginseng, particularly Panax ginseng, is one of the most well-known adaptogens and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It is reputed for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ginseng is believed to improve brain functions like memory, behavior, and mood. Moreover, it may enhance physical performance and contribute to overall well-being by supporting immune function and regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is revered in Ayurveda for its diverse medicinal properties. It stands out for its ability to lower cortisol levels, thus mitigating the effects of stress on the body. Holy Basil is also noted for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties. These qualities make it beneficial not only for stress relief but also for enhancing digestion, supporting liver health, and promoting immune resilience.


While ashwagandha is distinguished by its withanolides, which are key to its stress-reducing and neuroprotective effects, each adaptogen brings its unique spectrum of benefits to the table.


Ashwagandha stands out in the realm of natural supplements for its impressive array of benefits. If you're seeking a natural boost to your well-being, this herb might be the answer.

Generally, it's considered safe when consumed in appropriate amounts. Most side effects tend to be confined to individuals with specific health conditions or those on medications. However, always ensure you consult with a healthcare expert if you’re uncertain.

FAQs About Ashwagandha

Who might want to avoid ashwagandha?

While ashwagandha has a range of health advantages, it's not for everyone. Expectant and nursing mothers should steer clear. Those with thyroid concerns, hormonal issues, or on medications might also want to tread carefully. If any of these apply to you, or you’re unsure, always consult with your physician first when determining if it's right for you. 

How much ashwagandha is right for me?

Ashwagandha, being over-the-counter, can vary in recommended dosages based on its format. Typically, if you're opting for the powder variant, 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day seems to be the sweet spot. On the other hand, if you're going with the extract, a daily intake of 100 to 300 milligrams is often suggested.

Why do people turn to ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha has become a go-to for many reasons. Many enjoy its ability to alleviate stress, enhance sleep quality, and rejuvenate energy levels. It's also favored by some as a natural supplement for a balanced mood,  fatigue, and even sexual health support.

Daily ashwagandha gummies – yay or nay?

The consensus on daily intake of Ashwagandha gummies isn't universal. Some believe in its daily benefits, while others lean towards occasional usage. When considering any supplement, a chat with a healthcare provider is invaluable, particularly if you’re on other medications. 

If you’ve done your research and feel you’d like to give ashwagandha a try as part of your wellness journey, we invite you to check out our ashwagandha supplements to learn more. Remember, health is personal, so always make informed choices. Cheers to a healthier you! 

Can ashwagandha interfere with my current medications?

Ashwagandha may interact with certain medications, such as those for thyroid conditions, blood pressure, and blood sugar management, due to its potential effects on hormone levels and blood glucose regulation. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting ashwagandha if you're taking any medications.

Are there any immediate side effects I should be aware of when starting ashwagandha?

Some individuals might experience mild side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, or nausea when they first start taking ashwagandha. Starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it may help minimize these effects. 

Is ashwagandha safe for children or teenagers?

There is limited research on ashwagandha's safety for children and teenagers. Therefore, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before giving ashwagandha to individuals under 18.

How should I choose the right form of ashwagandha (powder, capsule, gummies, etc.)?

The best form of ashwagandha depends on personal preference, convenience, and dosage requirements. Capsules and gummies offer precise dosages and are easy to consume, while powders are versatile but require measurement. Consider your lifestyle and health goals when choosing. 

Can ashwagandha affect my hormonal balance?

Ashwagandha may influence hormonal balance by affecting cortisol levels and potentially influencing thyroid and sex hormones. It's generally considered beneficial for stress but consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about hormonal health.

Are there negative side effects to ashwagandha?

While ashwagandha is safe for most people, some may experience negative side effects such as gastrointestinal issues, allergic reactions, or sedation. It's also possible for ashwagandha to interact with certain medications or pre-existing health conditions.

Who should avoid ashwagandha?

Individuals with autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those on medication for blood pressure or blood sugar should exercise caution or avoid ashwagandha. Always consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen. 

Can ashwagandha cause anxiety?

Ashwagandha is typically used to reduce stress and anxiety. However, everyone's body reacts differently to supplements, and a small number of individuals might experience increased anxiety or other adverse effects. If this occurs, it's advisable to stop taking ashwagandha and consult a healthcare professional. 


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