Ashwagandha is an ayurvedic adaptogenic herb that is thought to have many different health benefits.
Many people take it to help manage their stress and anxiety levels. It’s also thought to have the ability to increase fertility in men, improve exercise endurance and strength, reduce inflammation and so much more.
It’s a herbal supplement that many people take for long periods of time without suffering from adverse side effects, as long as you’ve got your dosage right.
But, even though it can be taken daily, should you take a break from Ashwagandha at some point?
The short answer is yes, you should.
While it’s undeniable that there are numerous Ashwagandha health benefits, taking a break can do your body good in a few different ways. Below, we’ll take a look at why it’s a good idea to take an occasional break from Ashwagandha.
We’ll also explore some situations where taking a break from Ashwagandha isn’t only a good idea, but is absolutely necessary.
Why You Should Take A Break From Ashwagandha
Take a moment to look back at the reason you started taking Ashwagandha in the first place. You might be using it as a way of lowering your cortisol levels to reduce stress and help you manage your anxiety better.
Whatever the reason, it’s quite likely that you chose Ashwagandha with a specific purpose in mind. But, if you’re taking your Ashwagandha supplements continuously, it can be quite difficult to see how effective it is for your specific needs.
Taking a break from Ashwagandha gives you the opportunity to check in with your body and reassess your needs. When you do this, you’re able to see just how effective the Ashwagandha supplements you’ve been taking are. You’re also able to see if you need to increase or reduce your dosage.
Let’s say, for example, that you started taking Ashwagandha as a fertility supplement. This is a great choice, especially as one study found that it helped to produce higher-quality sperm after a period of three months. In the same study, 14% of the men’s partners had also become pregnant with the help of Ashwagandha.
Now, imagine you’re in that 14% and you and your partner have achieved pregnancy. Is there now any real need to keep taking Ashwagandha? While it’s believed to possess multiple health benefits, the main reason you started taking it has been fulfilled.
In this situation, now would be a good time to take a break and see if it has affected your body positively in any other way.
If, during your break period, you notice that you’re becoming stressed more frequently or you notice issues with your general memory, there’s a good chance that the Ashwagandha was helping with underlying issues that you didn’t even know you had.
Put simply, taking an occasional break from Ashwagandha gives you the opportunity to look at how it’s been helping you and, from there, you’ll know whether or not you need to continue taking it.
How Often Should I Take A Break From Ashwagandha?
With that being said, there’s no reason why you can’t continue taking Ashwagandha as a general health supplement, even if you feel it’s achieved its intended purpose.
Just make sure you take a break every so often so that you can listen to your body without the influence of Ashwagandha flowing through it.
But, when it comes to taking a break, how long should you go without Ashwagandha? As a general rule, it’s a good idea to take 4 weeks off every 2-3 months.
The majority of the studies that have been done on Ashwagandha saw treatment periods of around three months, so the evidence suggests that it would be effective during this time.
Remember, however, that everybody is different and herbal medicine can affect people in different ways. This is why it’s important that you take a break from Ashwagandha every couple of months.
If you’re not finding that it’s helping you within this time frame, you know that you should extend your treatment period by a couple of weeks.
There are a few situations where taking a break from Ashwagandha is absolutely necessary, and one of these is when you’re due to go for surgery.
In this instance, you should stop taking Ashwagandha altogether for at least two weeks before your operation.
The reason for this is that it is believed Ashwagandha has an effect on the central nervous system, which is why it’s so powerful at helping to reduce our stress levels. However, when you undergo anesthesia, your central nervous system is also slowed down.
When the two are mixed, there’s a chance that your central nervous system could slow down too much and this could affect your respiratory system.
Certain post-surgery medications also slow down the central nervous system. So, again, there is a risk of slowing it down too much if you’re taking Ashwagandha.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Another situation where it’s advisable to stop taking Ashwagandha altogether is during pregnancy.
Ashwagandha is believed to stimulate the adrenal glands and its adaptogenic properties are thought to help stimulate the menstrual cycle and increase blood flow.
As you can imagine, this is something that you definitely don’t want to happen during pregnancy as it can lead to miscarriage.
It’s also a good idea to stop taking Ashwagandha supplements when you are breastfeeding. The reason for this is that your baby will take in any nutrients from your breast milk.
Ashwagandha is powerful and, if it gets into your baby’s system, it could result in vomiting or diarrhea as they simply won’t have developed enough of a tolerance to such a powerful medicinal herb.
The team from Nature Beings have put together a great general video below on how they cycle and schedule their natural supplements. Check it out!
To sum up, in the case of taking a break from Ashwagandha, it’s a good idea to give yourself a 4 week rest period every 2-3 months. This allows you to check-in with your body and reassess your needs.
During this time, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you still need to keep taking, and whether or not you should increase or decrease your dosage.
As with all supplements and medicines, if you’re ever experiencing adverse effects or have any doubt about taking it - make sure you consult your GP!