Ashwagandha, a popular Indian herb, has been used as traditional medicine for centuries. It’s also known as Indian ginseng. The root and berries of the ashwagandha plant are used to make supplements and herbal remedies. And research studies have shown that ashwagandha has several health benefits! That’s why many people make it a part of their daily life! Some start their day by having ashwagandha tea- as a part of their diet. Some use the extract before bedtime, claiming it helps them to have a sound sleep! But the question is- Can you take ashwagandha during pregnancy?
Ashwagandha and Pregnancy
Since there is limited research on the safety of ashwagandha during pregnancy, it is not fully known whether it is safe for use during pregnancy. Some animal studies have shown that ashwagandha may cause uterine contractions, which could be a concern during pregnancy. In addition, ashwagandha may interact with certain medications and may have potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal upset and allergic reactions.
Even though moderate use of ashwagandha is believed to be safe during pregnancy, experts usually advise against taking it during the first trimester as a precaution. If you are considering taking ashwagandha while pregnant, you must speak with a healthcare provider first. A healthcare provider can advise you on the safety and appropriate use of ashwagandha based on the pregnancy stage and overall condition.
Benefits and Risks with Ashwagandha
Some of the potential benefits of ashwagandha include the following:
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Pregancany often disrupts sleep quality at night. The good news is ashwagandha has natural sleep-inducing properties that may help aid sleep during pregnancy. It may also help reduce stress and anxiety by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Reducing inflammation: Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body.
- Improving fertility: The stress-reducing capability of ashwagandha can be helpful for women who are trying to conceive, although more research is needed to confirm this.
- Lowering cholesterol: Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may have cholesterol-lowering power, which can lead to improved heart health.
Like many other herbal supplements or medications, ashwagandha may be associated with certain risks or side effects. Some possible side effects of ashwagandha include:
- A higher dose of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Ashwagandha may interfere with certain medications that affect the immune system.
- Some people may be allergic to ashwagandha or other ingredients found in ashwagandha supplements. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Ashwagandha may affect hormone levels in the body, including testosterone and thyroid hormones. This may be a concern for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Since more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of ashwagandha, you should be cautious with ashwagandha and similar herbs during early pregnancy.
There are so many herbs that can be great substitutes for ashwagandha. For example, chamomile has many similar health benefits and is likely safe for pregnancy.