Pregnancy Use

Contraindicated in pregnancy (Lindner 1996) due to a reputed abortifacient activity. PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Withania is an Ayurvedic herbal medicine also referred to as Indian ginseng or ashwaganda. Overall, it has not undergone significant scientific investigation in humans and therefore much of its use is based on pharmacological effects demonstrated in experimental models or traditional usage.

• It is traditionally used for improving stress adaptation responses in people who are both physically and emotionally stressed and exhausted and during periods of convalescence.

• Preliminary evidence suggests it increases haematopoiesis, promotes weight gain, reduces anxiety symptoms, increases cognitive function and exerts a neuroprotective effect.

• It has also demonstrated antioxidant, immunomodulating, antineoplastic, antifungal and antibacterial activity in animal or test tube studies.

• The herb should not be taken in pregnancy, and used with caution in people sensitive to the Solanaceae family of plants.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Withania has not undergone much scientific investigation in humans, so it is difficult to predict what effects will occur using this source of information. However, Withania 1377

according to traditional usage and other studies, it may improve stress responses,

reduce symptoms of anxiety, improve memory and mood, increase red blood cell production, increase immune responses and promote weight gain and is useful in convalescence.

When will it start to work?

Symptoms of anxiety and stress improve within 3 months' continual use. It is not known when other effects start to develop. Are there any safety issues?

The herb should not be taken in pregnancy, and used with caution in people sensitive to the Solanaceae family of plants.

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