Wondering how to use Ashwagandha while breastfeeding?

Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and part of Africa; has become very popular in the past year; possibly due to Covid and all the stress we’ve endured.

It’s the ONE botanical, that helped me shift out of postpartum depression as it is an adaptogen; helps us adapt to stress.

So, How do you take Ashwagandha? It’s simple, let me show you how.

In this post, I’ll share the benefits of using Ashwagandha, dosing, and safety concerns.

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Ashwagandha Benefits for Women

  • Bitter, warm, and dry, Ashwagandha is best known for its calming effects without sedating you. That means, you can take it in the morning and you won’t feel groggy all day.
  • But, you can also take it at night if you wake and cannot go back to sleep.
  • Known to give you the strength and stamina of a stallion, it will enhance your sleep so that you wake up feeling more rested than before.
  • In Ayurveda, it’s considered a Rasayana; “one of the herbs that reportedly promotes youth and longevity and alleviates suffering”.¹
  • David Winston adds: “It’s known to prolong your life, stimulate your mind and enhance vigor and sexual prowess”. ²

Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding

  • It’s considered safe for breastfeeding.  Lactation Category C or compatible with breastfeeding by Mills & Bones  ³
  • It can re-regulate the thyroid & adrenal glands {a common concern postpartum} Better for hypothyroidism.
  • It’s effective in helping if you have anxiety, fatigue, cloudy thinking, and insomnia
  • It’s rich in iron and can be used to treat iron deficiency when taken as a powder * see below
  • It can relieve muscle pain and cloudy thinking

Perfect for moms, don’t you think?

Feeling like motherhood is too much? Ashwagandha can help. Click To Tweet

Ashwagandha Dosing

Dosing and Safety:

  • Tincture; Take 30-40 drops; 3x day
  • Capsules: 400-500 mg capsule; 2x day
  • Powder: Take 1 tsp. in warm milk with ghee at night for a good night’s rest
  • >>Always start with a small amount to see how you and your baby respond!

Is Ashwagandha Safe?

  • Mills & Bones suggest no warnings or precautions with Withania, but at high doses, you may get gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, or vomiting.

David Winston suggests:

  • avoid using the herb if you’re sensitive to plants in the nightshade family – but this could be a case-by-case situation
  • Do not use the powder internally if you have excess iron
  • He also suggests avoiding the use if you have hyperthyroidism, as Ashwagandha can increase T4 and maybe T3

David Winston also suggests avoiding it during pregnancy. Still, Mills & Bones consider it a Category B1: Studies in animals have not shown evidence of an increase in the occurrence of fetal damage. So, it’s a bit confusing if you’re pregnant and want to try Withania.

  • Also, caution may be needed if you have auto-immune conditions as it increases T1 activity.
  • How do you know an herb is safe while breastfeeding? Read this post:

How to use herbs while breastfeeding without fear – 4 simple steps

Ashwagandha Powder

  • Ashwagandha is commonly available as a churna, a finely sieved powder that can be mixed with water, ghee (clarified butter), or honey. ⁴
  •  In India, the Ashwagandha powder was traditionally used in milk and taken at night to help you sleep better.
    • The popular company Apothekary, has made this easier for us to integrate once again.

Is Ashwagandha Safe While Breastfeeding?

The popular researchers; Simon Mills & Kerry Bones list Ashwagandha as a Lactation category C; Yes, compatible with breastfeeding.

Withania is used to promote lactation in Ayurvedic medicine and the traditional medicine of south-east Asia. – Mills & Bones

  • * Powder Dosing: 1 tsp. of Withania powder may be given 2x day with milk for insufficient lactation. ³
  • Dr. Aviva Romm also suggests it’s a Level 1; the safest herb to be used during lactation in her book Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. ⁵

When to take Ashwagandha

  • For my moms who are breastfeeding, I always suggest trying one herb at a time to see how you and your baby respond.  If it’s safe, you can take it as a blended tincture with motherwort to ease stress.
  • I prefer taking tinctures, but have just explored the powdered version and enjoy it in my hot cocoa or coffee!

Conclusion

Ashwagandha is considered a Level 1 or safe while breastfeeding unless you have hyperthyroidism you may want to choose another adaptogen.  It’s calming, but not sedating so you can take it any time of day.  Traditionally, it was used as a powder, but I enjoy using it as a tincture 2-3x day.  It’s considered an adaptogen, so it can help take you out of the “fight or flight” response and help ease tension and stress. As always, check with your doctor before adding any new botanicals to your diet.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Have you tried Ashwagandha? Let us know below in the comment area💕

xo

Tara

References

References

¹ http://herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/99/table-of-contents/hg99-herbprofile-ashwagandha/

  • ¹ Romm M.D., Dr. Aviva; Hormone Intelligence pg. 34
  • ² Winston, David & Maimes, Steven (2007); Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.  Healing Arts Press. 
  • ³ Romm, Aviva, (2014): Botanical medicine for women’s health. Churchill Livingston.
  • Upton, Roy; Bear, Soaring, Winton, David; Gagnon, Daniel; Romm, Aviva Jill; Low Dog, Tieraona; Hardy, Mary; Craker, Lyle. Botanical Safety Handbook, Second edition (2013).  CRC Press.
  • ⁴ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501905/
Ashwagandha while breastfeeding
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