Use with caution in peptic ulcer disease: withania may cause gastrointestinal irritation. People who are sensitive to the Solanaceae family should use this herb with caution.
Contraindicated in pregnancy due to a reputed abortifacient activity.
Practice Points / Patient Counselling
- Withania is an Ayurvedic herbal medicine also referred to as Indian ginseng or ashwaganda. Overall, it has not undergone significant scientific investigation in humans and therefore much of its use is based on pharmacological effects demonstrated in experimental models or traditional usage.
- It is traditionally used for improving stress adaptation responses in people who are both physically and emotionally stressed and exhausted and during periods of convalescence.
- Preliminary evidence suggests it increases haematopoiesis, promotes weight gain, reduces anxiety symptoms, increases cognitive function and exerts a neuroprotective effect.
- It has also demonstrated antioxidant, immunomodulating, antineoplastic, antifungal and antibacterial activity in animal or test tube studies.
- The herb should not be taken in pregnancy, and used with caution in people sensitive to the Solanaceae family of plants.