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HomeAnswersNaturopathyashwagandhaCan Ashwagandha and SSRI be taken together?

Can Ashwagandha high dose harm sensitive people?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At May 11, 2018
Reviewed AtApril 29, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have been interested in the herb Ashwagandha for a long time. I am a 42-year-old woman, slightly overweight, moderately active and have anxiety, depression, and fatigue. I took Ashwagandha for a month when I was off Prozac and it seemed to help with my anxiety. When I increased my dose, I started getting bad stomach pain, got worried, and stopped. I have heard that those taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Benzodiazepines, like I am, should not take Ashwagandha. That it can cause serotonin syndrome and/or make a Benzodiazepine user sleepy. I have also heard it can ramp up the body's immune response. That worries me a bit too as I am super sensitive. The more I am taking anything, whether it be vitamins, fish oil, etc, the worse I feel. I went to a naturopathic doctor who prescribed me a lot of supplements and I think my body tried to detox too fast or something because it caused me to get sick and shaky. She did not understand why. I just know that too much of anything can overwhelm my system. Your advice is much appreciated. I did a saliva test a few years ago that showed high cortisol in the evening and night.

Answered by Dr. Arul Amuthan L


Welcome to icliniq.com. As you mentioned, Ashwagandha has health benefits, especially in anxiety. If the herb root is available in raw powder form, then it could be 0.04 oz or 0.05 oz. If it is in the extract form, then the therapeutic dose must be 200 to 300 mg. More than that, it is going to cause gastric irritation, that leads to stomach pain in your case. So, the powder or extract in thetherapeutic dosage could be consumed along with a cup of milk or honey and warm water to reduce gastric irritation. Honey is safer in gastritis than milk. The herb has been proven to interact with many other drugs, the interaction with SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or Benzodiazepines are not proven scientifically. The news available in this regard in social media are not authentic. So, the herb can be combined with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or Benzodiazepines. It is true that the herb boosts the immunity. But, no scientific research has proven it as a threaten herb in super sensitive patients. Much preclinical basic research has proven that this herb boosts the essential T- immunity cells and will not affect the sensitized immune cells. This is called as an immunomodulatory effect. This herb is popular for having immunomodulatory effect. In your case, this herb will not aggravate the immune sensitivity. So, you can continue to take Ashwagandha herb with honey and warm water or milk.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Arul Amuthan L
Dr. Arul Amuthan L


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