Can You Take Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding?

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Heidi Woodgate

The foods and drinks you can enjoy while breastfeeding are not quite as limiting as the actual pregnancy.

In fact, breastfeeding moms can enjoy some foods that they were told to minimize or avoid during pregnancy. This includes cinnamon, bananas, kombucha, fresh sushi, turkey sandwiches from the deli, and even a glass of wine.

The postpartum period can be anxiety-ridden and stressful. Therefore, you may consider taking an Ayurvedic herb to help de-stress you. But, can you take ashwagandha while breastfeeding? And if so, how much ashwagandha can you take?

can you take ashwagandha while breastfeeding?

However, when it comes to safely consuming supplements while breastfeeding, this can become much more confusing, especially when looking at herbal supplements.

Just because it is available over the counter, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is suitable for breastfeeding.

When looking at whether or not you can take a specific herbal supplement or vitamin during pregnancy, the guidance isn’t always completely clear.

As such, without the help of your doctor or OB-GYN, you may feel as if you’re in the dark. However, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

While you should always call your doctor if you’re uncertain about something you’re ingesting, we have outlined some guidance on the general safety of taking ashwagandha while breastfeeding using professional advice.

Let’s get started.

What Is Ashwagandha?

If you’re following wellness culture, especially on social media platforms such as Instagram, then you have probably come across ashwagandha before.

While this trendy Ayurvedic herb is said to have a ton of health benefits, it is still somewhat of an unknown herb for experts.

If you’re unfamiliar with Ashwagandha is a shrub found in India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

The shrub itself produces yellow flowers with scarlet-colored berries. The berries, roots, and leaves of the plant can be used medicinally in the form of an adaptogen.

If you’re unfamiliar with adaptogens, these are herbal medicines that help your body to handle stress.

Breastfeeding And Ashwagandha

can you take ashwagandha while breastfeeding?

There are several different benefits to taking ashwagandha during postpartum and breastfeeding – making it a staple supplement for mothers. These include:

  • Promote restful sleep – Within the first few months of being a new parent, a full night’s sleep can seem like a distant dream. However, with the help of ashwagandha, you won’t have any trouble falling asleep after waking up at night and tending to your baby since it can improve sleep quality.
  • Reduces anxiety and stress – Being a new parent means a ton of new emotions including an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and stress, this is especially common in the postpartum period. Since ashwagandha is known to balance cortisol (a stress-induced hormone) it can help reduce anxiety and stress in your life. 
  • Immunity booster – It can work as an anti-inflammatory, muscle pain, antioxidant, and manage stress, ashwagandha is the perfect natural immunity booster. In fact, it can even improve insulin sensitivity. Perfect for new, nursing mothers with a weakened immune system. 
  • Rebuilds physical and mental health – This herb can be used to promote energy, strength, and vitality. As such, it has long been used as a restorative herb. This is beneficial to new mothers looking to maintain their energy levels and regain their strength during the day. 
  • Increases milk supply– Ashwagandha has long been used as a herb to help boost breast milk supply – which is generally the result of lowered stress levels. High anxiety and stress can negatively impact your supply of breast milk production since nursing moms may not be drinking or eating enough as a result. 

Does Ashwagandha Impact Breastfeeding?

It is only natural that new mothers question whether ashwagandha is safe to take while breastfeeding.

According to herbalists, the herb doesn’t pose any risks when taken while breastfeeding. In fact, the root is a staple for nursing and postpartum mothers thanks to its many benefits.

Below, we have outlined some of the benefits ashwagandha provides new mothers:

  • Maximize milk supply
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Boosts your immune system

However, you should keep in mind that there are no scientifically accredited studies that support the benefits of ashwagandha or that it is safe and effective for mothers and babies.

Since there are no studies on the effectiveness and safety of taking ashwagandha it should be avoided or otherwise taken at your own risk.

Before you look at introducing any supplements or herbs into your diet while breastfeeding, you should always consult with your doctor before doing so.

They can advise on whether or not it is suitable for you and your baby.

If your consultant permits you to take the herb, you should then assess the positives and negatives of the herb to make your own decision.

Ashwagandha Dosing

Below, we have outlined the recognized safe dosages for taking ashwagandha.

  • Capsules – 400-500 mg capsule; 2x a day
  • Tincture – Take 30-40 drops; 3x a day
  • Powder – Put 1 tsp in warm milk for a good night’s rest.

What Are The Risks Of Ashwagandha?

can you take ashwagandha while breastfeeding?

When taking this supplement while breastfeeding, you may experience some side effects, these include the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting

You may also experience a drop in blood pressure and blood sugar levels while increasing the levels of thyroid hormones. Therefore it isn’t suitable for anyone taking medication for diabetes, thyroid problems, or high blood pressure.

That’s because, in combination with your medication, your blood pressure or blood sugar could go too low.

It can affect thyroid tests, so you should avoid using the supplement before surgery.

In addition, if you frequently use any other supplements or drugs, you should talk to your doctor before using ashwagandha pills. This includes:

  • Anxiety treatment
  • Anticoagulants
  • Blood pressure medications, diabetic medications, tranquilizers thyroid tonics that can inhibit kava, immune system St. John’s wort, valerian, and other sleep medication

Final Thoughts

As a new parent, you may be looking at all the different possibilities to help reduce anxiety and calm your nerves. This includes exploring the Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha.

Known in the wellness community as a highly beneficial herb, from the outside, you can’t go wrong with it. However, before introducing it into your diet, you should always consult your doctor.

Hopefully, this guide has informed you about whether you can take ashwagandha while breastfeeding.

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