Ashwagandha Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
-1 (Possibly Ineffective)
-1 (Possibly Ineffective)
-1 (Possibly Ineffective)


  • Ashwagandha, an Indian herb from the winter cherry plant, is used for its rejuvenative effects on the central nervous system. It is thought to work like gingko biloba.
  • The herb has antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic, anti-depression and stress-relieving properties.
  • In animals, the herb has shown evidence of decreasing blood sugar, decreasing cholesterol and increasing red call mass, but human studies are lacking.
  • It has been used in complementary medicine as an add-on to conventional therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.


  • Ashwagandha can irritate the lining of the gut and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In particular, people with ulcers definitely should not take it.
  • There are many other better-studied alternatives for helping to manage stress.
  • Because it appears that ashwagandha may increase bleeding time, experts recommend that people who are using it discontinue it at least 2 weeks prior to elective surgery.
  • This herb has been poorly studied, with limited human clinical data.
  • Because of its potential for stimulating the immune system, ashwagandha may decrease the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy medicines that suppress the immune system.
  • Many herbs from underdeveloped nations have been shown to be contaminated with heavy metals, so caution must be exercised with determining the source of this herb.

Ashwagandha should not be used during pregnancy because it may cause uterine contractions and induce miscarriage or abortion. It also should not be used by nursing moms. Ashwagandha is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and so it may cause oversedation when taken with like substances, such as barbiturates, anxiolytics (e.g., alprazolam (Xanax®), diazepam (Valium®), and surgical anesthetic agents. In large doses, it could cause life-threatening suppression of breathing.

DOSAGE:The typical dose in the treatment of multiple sclerosis is 1 – 2 grams twice a day.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that there is currently insufficient information to support the use of ashwagandha. We will continue to monitor the available research.

“Ashwagandha.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Ashwagandha.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Ashwagandha. EBSCO Publishing (2011) 1-3
Withania somnifera. Alternative Medicine Review (2004) 9, 211-214

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