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Generic Name: Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)

Brand Names: Indian Ginseng

Drug Class: Adaptogens, Herbals

Available Dosage forms: Capsule, tea, oral solution, or powder

Ashwagandha: Uses, Side effects. Ashwagandha, Withania Somnifera

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that mitigates stress and anxiety by regulating the physiological processes involved in combating stressful situations.2  It includes a myriad of therapeutic properties:


-Improved memory

-Anti-anxiety effects


-Hemopoiesis (blood formation)


Adaptogens abrogate overexpressed stress responses by modulating the stimulus received by the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, a system responsible for the release of the stress hormone cortisol. The medicinal benefits of Ashwagandha are backed by research-based evidence for the treatment of several conditions. The herb has been implicated in:2

-improvement of chronic stress, eating disorder, and hormonal imbalances in obese patients

-maintenance of optimum testosterone levels

-improvement in cognitive function

-strengthening the cardiorespiratory system

Neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression most often accompany chronic Insomnia. In a clinical trial to evaluate the herb’s efficacy, participants with Insomnia and comorbid anxiety were subjected to 10 weeks of treatment with Ashwagandha. Noticeable improvement in anxiety and sleep parameters such as sleep onset latency and sleep quality was evident in the participants at the end of treatment.1

A study suggests that Ashwagandha may have possible therapeutic efficacy for depression and anxiety in patients with schizophrenia. However, further exploration of the mechanism of action is critical to establish its use as an anti-schizophrenic agent.3


How to use Ashwagandha?

– It is most widely taken as a whole herb

– You can take 1-6 grams of the whole herb daily

– It can be taken orally in the form of tinctures with the dosage of 2-4 ml thrice a day

– Active constituents can be extracted and are dispatched as 450-500 mg capsules

– The capsules should be taken once or twice daily

– It is best to ask your doctor before you start the supplements


What are the side effects of Ashwagandha?

Side effects are usually associated with heavy doses.




-Abdominal cramping


Who should not use Ashwagandha?

– Pregnant and lactating mothers

-People with high blood pressure

-Those that have hypersensitivity to the herb

-Patients with autoimmune disease

-Those with thyroid disease should not use the herb without approval from a doctor

-Those with diabetes should be cautious and consume it moderately

-It might interact with certain drugs. Always consult your health care provider if you are taking some other drugs



  1. Langade D, Kanchi S, Salve J, Debnath K, Ambegaokar D. Efficacy and safety Of Ashwagandha (WITHANIA somnifera) root extract in Insomnia and anxiety: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Cureus. Published September 28, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2021.
  2. Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study.Cureus. 2019;11(12):e6466. Published 2019 Dec 25. doi:10.7759/cureus.6466
  3. Chengappa KNR, Brar JS, Gannon JM, Schlicht PJ. Adjunctive Use of a Standardized Extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to Treat Symptom Exacerbation in Schizophrenia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.J Clin Psychiatry. 2018;79(5):17m11826. Published 2018 Jul 10. doi:10.4088/JCP.17m11826

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