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What are some benefits of ashwagandha, and is it safe to use?

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Quick Answer

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for several conditions, such as stress, anxiety, and immune support, notes WebMD. Some studies have linked the popular herb with lowering blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes patients and with lowering cholesterol.

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Full Answer

Traditional Indian medicine uses ashwagandha to improve physical and mental health, explains WebMD. The herb is sometimes known as the “Indian ginseng”. Some evidence shows that ashwagandha boosts the immune system and soothes inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, swelling and fluid retention. Ashwagandha may help with conditions like epilepsy and memory loss, but the research is not yet conclusive.

Ashwagandha is available in capsules made of the ground herb and standardized extracts, reports WebMD. Typical dosages range between 1 and 6 grams. Before starting on an ashwagandha regime, patients should consult their doctors for the best form and dosage for their conditions.

Care should be taken when starting a regime that includes ashwagandha, states WebMD. Side effects of the herb include stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting. Other possible side effects could include low blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, sedation and breathing problems. Patients who take prescription medications should consult their physician regarding possible interactions between the herb and their medications.

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