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Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About

Ashwagandha is a plant. The root and berry are used to make medicine.

Ashwagandha has a lot of uses. But so far, there isn't enough information to judge whether it is effective for any of them.

Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), balance, trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, Parkinson's disease, and chronic liver disease. It is also used to reduce side effects of medications used to treat cancer and schizophrenia. Ashwagandha is used to reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood.

Ashwagandha is also used as an "adaptogen" to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic.

Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging. It is also used for fertility problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire.

Ashwagandha is applied to the skin for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).

The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as "horse-like."

In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as "Indian ginseng." Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments.

Don't confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry.

How does it work?

Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling (inflammation), lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.

Traditionally used for

Stress.
Reducing side effects associated with medications called antipsychotics.
Anxiety.
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Bipolar disorder.
A brain condition called cerebellar ataxia.
Fatigue in people treated for cancer (chemotherapy).
Diabetes.
High cholesterol.
Male infertility.
Arthritis.
Parkinson's disease.
Altering immune system function.
Fibromyalgia.
Inducing vomiting.
Liver problems.
Preventing the signs of aging.
Swelling (inflammation).
Tuberculosis.
Ulcerations.

Dosage

For stress: Ashwagandha root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed, Hyderabad, India) 300 mg twice daily after food for 60 days.

Possible Side Effects

Ashwagandha is SAFE when taken by mouth short-term. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. It's not known whether it's safe to apply ashwagandha directly to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant. It is rated LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the use of ashwagandha during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Ashwagandha might lower blood sugar levels. This could interfere with medications used for diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.

High or low blood pressure: Ashwagandha might decrease blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low in people with low blood pressure; or interfere with medications used to treat high blood pressure. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously if you have low blood pressure or take medications for your blood pressure.

Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Don't use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using ashwagandha.

Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications

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