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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 and experience a “break-through” to overcome PPD without medication.

I’ve continued taking it daily for over eight years and just recently stopped and noticed I no longer need it.

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.

Let’s get started.

Ashwagandha Benefits

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.

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

Postpartum Benefits of using Ashwagandha

  • 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}
  • 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

Is Ashwagandha Safe?

Mills & Bones suggests there are 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, but Mills & Bones considers 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 wanting to try withania.

Also, caution may be needed if you have auto-immune conditions as it increases T1 activity.

Ashwagandha Powder

  • Ashwagandha is commonly available as a churna, a fine 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.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, again it’s always good to try one herb at a time.  Try just Ashwagandha, and if you like it, add in nervines to soothe anxiety.

Because it’s not sedating, you can take it in the morning and/or evening to help you sleep.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Have you tried Ashwagandha? Let us know 💕

xo

Tara

P.S.
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References

References

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

² Winston, David; Adaptogens Herbs for strength, stamina and stress relief

³ Mills & Bone: The essential guide to Herbal Safety

⁴ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501905/

⁵Romm, Aviva: Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health

Ashwagandha while Breastfeeding
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