Natural Health Products - Ashwagandha

Natural solutions to help manage your health and wellness.



General Information

Ashwagandha is an herb found in dry areas of India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. Ashwagandha has been used in India for hundreds of years to help the body cope with stress.

Common Name(s)

ashwagandha, asvagandha, asgandh, winter cherry, withania

Scientific Name(s)

Withania somnifera

How is this product usually used?

The dried root of ashwagandha is used medicinally. It is an herb that is taken orally, at a dose of 2 g to 6 g per day.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Ashwagandha has been used in traditional Indian medicine for:

  • weakness, especially during old age
  • renewing tonic purposes
  • aiding sleep
  • sedation
  • enhancing memory
  • combatting stress

More reliable research is needed in humans to show that ashwagandha is helpful for other uses including serving as a renewing tonic, preventing weakness due to old age, aiding sleep, and causing sedation.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Ashwagandha appears to be well-tolerated, however side effects may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or abdominal pain. Severe side effects may include liver failure.

Ashwagandha can interact with some medications. It may increase the sedative effects of alcohol, benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam, clonazepam, etc.), barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital), other sedatives and anxiety-relieving medications and herbal products, and thyroid supplements.

It can add to the blood-pressure-lowering effects of blood pressure medications. It can also add to the blood sugar lowering effects of medications for diabetes.

Ashwagandha may also decrease the effects of medications that suppress the immune system (e.g., cyclosporine, corticosteroids). Ashwagandha may increase the effects of thyroid hormone medications. If you are taking any of these medications or herbal products, talk to your health care provider before using ashwagandha.

You should avoid ashwagandha if you:

  • have hyperthyroidism or are taking thyroid hormone medications
  • have an autoimmune medical condition (e.g., multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • have an allergy to ashwagandha

If insomnia persists for more than 4 weeks after taking ashwagandha, talk to your doctor.

You should not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you are taking alcohol or other drugs that cause drowsiness. Consult your health care professional if you have any questions.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


  1. Health Canada. Drugs & Health Products. Monograph – Ashwagandha.,
  2. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Ashwagandha.
  3. Natural Standard-the Authority on Integrative Medicine. Ashwagandha