To nourish and accommodate the developing foetus, the pregnant woman experiences considerable morphological and physiological changes during pregnancy. After pregnancy, these alterations occur and affect every organ system in the body. For this reason, it is critical to monitor the mother's health during pregnancy and provide her with quality medical care. Many women add ayurvedic supplements in their allopathic routine to ensure health. Ashwagandha is a renowned ayurvedic plant from India that has become popular as a supplement due to its health advantages. Is it safe to take ashwagandha during pregnancy? Let's see what we can find out!
What is Ashwagandha?
Withania somnifera is an evergreen plant that grows in India, the Middle East, and Africa. It's also known as "Indian Winter Cherry" or "Indian Ginseng," and it's related to eggplants in the nightshade family. Its root is available in powder form and is believed to smell like a horse.
Ayurveda is a natural medical system that developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurveda believes that physical imbalances and stress are the root causes of disease, and it uses a combination of lifestyle changes and natural remedies to help you rebalance.
According to the USDA nutrient database, 100 g Ashwagandha Powder contains,
- Calories: 45 calories
- Carbohydrates: 10 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Potassium: 282 mg
- Calcium: 32 mg
- Iron: 0.31 mg
- Phosphorus: 20 mg
- Niacin: 0.4 mg
Are there benefits to consuming ashwagandha during pregnancy?
There is less study on ashwagandha and pregnancy. However, research in rats and healthy humans have shown that it has beneficial effects.
The most common and well-known reason for taking ashwagandha supplements is their stress-relieving qualities.
Research studies discovered that withanolides (naturally occurring compounds in ashwagandha) can suppress the inflammatory response and specific enzymes involved in cancer metastasis spread.
A research study published in the Indian Journal of physiological medicine shows that healthy adults took 300 mg of ashwagandha powder in capsule form for 60 days, and researchers noticed a 27.9% fall in cortisol levels on day 60 compared to day 0.
High amounts of cortisol in the blood can raise your heart rate, make you prone to headaches or digestive problems, make you sleepless, and make you gain weight.
Risk of consuming ashwagandha during pregnancy?
The US Food and Drug Administration has classified ashwagandha as "possibly dangerous" for usage during pregnancy because of the risk of miscarriage. Small dosages of ashwagandha are safe, but high doses increase the risk of abortion.
In addition to being harmful during pregnancy, women who take certain anxiety drugs should avoid ashwagandha since it can increase the medication's effects to dangerous levels.
Furthermore, ashwagandha's status as a dietary supplement does not speak well for its safety. Because supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, there's a danger of harm, especially during pregnancy.
No amount of ashwagandha has been demonstrated to be safe when taken while pregnant. While the recommendation to avoid ashwagandha during pregnancy is based on animal studies in which the animals were given "High Dose" is a very gross statement and not a reliable safety measure. It is advisable to avoid using or consuming this plant orally due to the risk of miscarriage.