Health Guide


What is it?

Ashwagandha is an herbal medicine that is used to treat arthritis and to give your body an energy boost.

Other names for Ashwagandha include: Withania somnifera

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Ashwagandha you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Ashwagandha. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Before taking Ashwagandha, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You may feel like you want to sleep more if you take Ashwagandha and pentobarbital (medicine used to help you sleep or to treat anxiety) together (2, 3)
  • Do not take Ashwagandha if you have leukemia and are being treated with cyclophosphamide (a "chemo" medicine) (4)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Feeling cold (decrease in body temperature) (5)
  • Upset stomach (if Ashwagandha berries have been eaten) (6)
  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

This medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.


1. Elsakka M, Pavelescu M & Grigorescu EM: Contributions to the pharmacodynamic study of roots of Withania somnifera Dun. Species of Pakistani origin. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi 1990; 94(3-4):603-605.

2. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al: Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

3. Malhotra CL, Mehta VL, Das PK et al: Studies on Withania-ashwagandha, Kaul (Part V): The effect of total alkaloids (ashwagandholine) on the central nervous system. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1965a; 9(3):127-136.

4. Dahanukar SA & Thatte UM: Current status of Ayurveda in phytomedicine. Phytomed 1997; 4(4):359-368.

5. Malhotra CL, Mehta VL, Prasad K et al: Studies on Withania ashwagandha, Kaul, (part IV). The effect of total alkaloids on the smooth muslces. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1965; 9(1): 9-15.

6. Lindner S: Withania somnifera. Aust J Med Herbalism 1996; 8(3):78-82.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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