What are the Most Common Ashwagandha Side Effects?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Although it is considered safe when taken for short periods of time, there are some possible ashwagandha side effects. Specifically, some people experience drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Miscarriages are also possible for pregnant women. In addition, since one of the side effects of ashwagandha is irritation of the gastrointestinal system, it should not be used by people with ulcers or other gastrointestinal issues. People with autoimmune diseases and those undergoing surgery should avoid the remedy because of the way it may react with certain drugs as well.

Pregnant women should not take ashwagandha as it may cause a miscarriage.
Pregnant women should not take ashwagandha as it may cause a miscarriage.

Generally, ashwagandha side effects are negligible for most individuals. Some people may become drowsy, and depending the form and dosage, it may be difficult for some individuals to digest. As a result, they may complain of flatulence, nausea, and irritation to the gastrointestinal track.

Drowsiness is the most common side effect of ashwagandha.
Drowsiness is the most common side effect of ashwagandha.

Although ashwagandha is not believed to be addictive, it should only be used for short periods of time. Studies have been conducted on the toxicity of ashwagandha on rats that showed it was not toxic to rats, even after it was consumed daily for 180 days. Although ashwagandha is considered safe for laboratory rats, humans should be cautious since the side effects of ashwagandha for long-term use by humans have not been studied.

People with rheumatoid arthritis should not take ashwagandha.
People with rheumatoid arthritis should not take ashwagandha.

Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding are advised against using ashwagandha. Using ashwagandha may result in a miscarriage. Since studies have not been conducted for breastfeeding mothers, they are encouraged to avoid using the remedy as well.

Because ashwagandha can interact with a variety of drugs, a person should consult their doctor before taking ashwagandha.
Because ashwagandha can interact with a variety of drugs, a person should consult their doctor before taking ashwagandha.

Typically, people with certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, should not use ashwagandha. Specifically, ashwagandha is thought to increase the immune system in the body. When the immune system becomes increasingly active, it may cause the symptoms of these diseases to increase, causing increased pain or discomfort.

Potential side effects of ashwagandha include daytime drowsiness and nausea.
Potential side effects of ashwagandha include daytime drowsiness and nausea.

One of the ashwagandha side effects is that it may interact with certain drugs. For example, it should not be used in conjunction with an immunosuppressant or sedative. An immunosuppressant works by decreasing the body’s immune system. Since ashwagandha causes the body’s immune system to become increasingly active, it may cause the immunosuppressant to be ineffective. In addition, a sedative causes drowsiness. If a sedative is taken in conjunction with ashwagandha, which also causes drowsiness, it may make the person overly tired.

As with any remedy, any ashwagandha side effects should be reported to a health professional or medical doctor. It is best to address any concerns or questions immediately. Until further studies are completed on human consumption, it is best to use this remedy with care.

Breastfeeding women should not use ashwaganda because its effects are unknown.
Breastfeeding women should not use ashwaganda because its effects are unknown.
Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Ashwagandha works great for my anxiety and panic but unfortunately it bothers my gut and I get rebound anxiety within a few hours of using it.

Instead of binning it, I have found a use for it however. I generally wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. Taking ashwagandha helps me to go back to sleep for a few hours and I wake up very energized.


My wife suggested I take ashwaganda so I started taking 500 mg twice daily. With in a few days I started experiencing "racing heart" many times a day. I wasn't even thinking that the ashwaganda caused it, but as soon as I stopped taking the ashwaganda the symptoms stopped. Not taking this again.


I was recently given a supplement by my natruopath that contained 250mg ashwagandha and L-theanine and was told that it would not hurt but might help a recent bout with insomnia.

Within three days of taking it, my insomnia was as bad as it has ever been and for several nights I was only able to sleep two or three hours a night. I also experienced severe depression and began having uncontrolled crying spells throughout the night after taking the ashwaganda. I stopped taking the supplement on the fourth day but soon developed anxiety attacks, something I had never experienced before and never want to experience again.

The anxiety continued for two weeks until I finally couldn't cope anymore and went to and MD who prescribed me a traditional medical detox drug- Atarax (essentially anti-histamine, so not habit forming). I notice that still I begin to feel more anxious and my heart rate goes up if I do not take the medication at least every other day.

Overall, I have read many wonderful things about ashwaganda, but if you don't feel better the very first time you take it, stop. You may have an adverse reaction that may leave you debilitated for weeks! I am truly shocked at how completely debilitated I was by just a few days of this herb!


I have been taking Himalaya's Septilin, Bresol and Ashvagandha for one month. Recently, I started taking a fish oil supplement along with the above medicines. Do they have any interactions? I have read that fish oil interacts with Ashvagandha.


I am wondering whether you can take this herb with Brahmi? I take Dr. Chopra's endorphine which also has ashwagandha. This brand, in addition to ashwagandha has N-Acetyl Cysteine, Guarana Extract (70 mg caffeine), L-Theanine (L-Tea Active™), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Extract (Sensoril®), Lemon Balm, Ginkgo BilobaExtract (standardized to 24 perent flavonol glycosides, 6 percent terpene lactones and <5 ppm ginkgolic acid), Vitamin B-6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate), Folate (as folic acid), Vitamin B-12 (as methylcobalamin), Magnesium (as magnesium sulfate, magnesium glycyl glutamine, and magnesium taurinate. I also take about 1.5 g of fish oil, vitamin C and vitamin D.

But I feel sad/melancholic - as if I am yearning for something. My sexual drive has skyrocketed, however and I'm just saying this since this is anonymous - but I am still a virgin - so it is very uncomfortable to feel like this. I am also taking a bit of brahmi in the morning with honey. The dosage is very small. Do you think I should stop Endorphine or any other supplement? I really appreciate your help as my job depends on my ability to concentrate on research and writing (I am an assistant professor in a research oriented university).


I am taking Ashwaghanda and love it. I suffer from an imbalance in my sympathetic nervous system. This causes a higher heart rate, anxiety, and elevated blood pressure. This herbal product helps a lot.

However, the brands that are the dried root powder upset my stomach and I have nausea -- no fun. The best one so far is the Gaia brand. It is the pure liquid extract in a gel cap. It's high quality as they grow their own and use stringent oversight.

I take it with food, but it doesn't seem to bother me much even on an empty stomach. Excellent product and in my opinion, there is a difference between forms of Ashwagandha.

My schedule for taking it is one capsule (1,000 mg.) at dinner time and then again right before bed around 11:00 p.m.). It really calms me and helps with sleep. I have lots of great dreams.


It made me feel depressed and even increased my anxiety, the same as with Rhodiola.


I've been so much more tired since I started taking this. I've been nauseated and today had diarrhea. I also recently started taking Coenzyme Q but I think it is the ashwaghanda.


I had what I thought was stomach flu when I was taking this. I used organic ashwagandha 800mg three times a day, 20 minutes before food as directed on the label. (UK company).

After one day, I started getting stomach cramps, which over the next couple of days turned to fever, diarrhea and eventually I threw up (something I normally never do, even if I've eaten something dodgy that causes others to!). Anything I put into my body, including water, caused severe stomach pain.

Maybe it was 'cleansing' my system, maybe it was a coincidence and I was just sick (although no one I lived with was), I don't know, but it was horrendous. I stopped taking them just in case and was fine again two days later.


Ashwaganda's effect on GABA receptors causes rebound anxiety and depression when discontinued. I have taken it on two separate occasions (Sensoril 750mg/day) for eight to 12 weeks each time and have experienced significant social anxiety when I've stopped, which is something I usually don't have as I'm pretty confident.


I've only been using ashwagandha for a short period of time, but it has helped a ton with my debilitating social anxiety. Before finding ashwagandha, when I would speak up in class my heart would race and my face would flush. Since taking ashwagandha, I am able to talk among the class and with the teacher with no anxiety. I even find myself starting conversations with the people around me.

Ashwagandha can be slightly difficult for some people to digest, but I haven't had any problems with it. It can also be found relatively cheaply.


So here's a question for you -- are there any known interactions between ashwagandha herb supplements and other natural supplements?

I had heard, for instance, that taking fenugreek and ginkgo biloba could produce side effects, and also that if you mixed fish oil with other herbs then you would exacerbate the normal fish oil side effects.

Is the same true for ashwagandha, or is this one of those things that you can really take without worrying about interactions? Are there any things in particular that I should avoid? Just FYI, I had been considering taking a fenugreek supplement, so would that cause fenugreek side effects if I took it with ashwagandha?

Thank you for the information.


A friend of mine just started taking ashwagandha extract, and she just loves it. She goes on and on about how much better her immune system is, and how she has stopped getting all the colds that she used to get every year.

She also said that it helps her libido (which is a little hard, since she's an older woman now), and that it makes her mind clearer.

While I'm all about that, what I get a little leery about is how she tries to claim that the reasons it works so well is because it matches with her dosha. First, I'm not overly sure what a dosha is, and I don't know why matching with one would make a medication or supplement work better or worse.

Isn't it all down to chemistry? I mean, I take ibuprofen because I don't want the side effects of aspirin, not because it improves my chi or feng shui or something.

I honestly don't know a whole lot about the whole alternative medicine scene, but I'd be willing to learn. Can anybody tell me what a dosha is, and why it would be important to match an herb with it?

Thanks all.


Has anybody reading this article actually tried ashwaganda? I have been hearing all these amazing stories recently about all the ashwagandha benefits, but I worry a little bit about taking it since I already have a somewhat sensitive stomach.

I don't have ulcers or anything like that, but I tend to eat blander foods in general, and spicy foods give me really bad heartburn. Would that be an indicator that my stomach is too sensitive for ashwagandha, or am I over analyzing here?

And frankly, is it even worth it? Those herbal extracts can be really expensive, and I'd like to know that it would work for me before I spend all that money on it.

Can anybody give me advice or share your experience with me? Thanks.

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