Conflicting Reports

I have blogged about Ashwaganda, an herb that I started taking in March on recommendation from Dr. John Douillard, an Ayurvedic doctor. This is his description of Ashwaganda:

(Winter cherry) is becoming a favorite adaptogen of many Western herbalists because of its unique properties. Translated it means “the sweat of a horse,” which clinically implies “the strength of a horse,” but unlike ephedra or ginseng, ashwaganda is not a stimulant. In the long run, a stimulant will leave the body depleted. Ashwaganda helps the body adapt to stress, but it also rebuilds the nervous system without stimulating it. The proof that ashwaganda is not a stimulant is that it is a wonderful sleep tonic. It helps give the body the energy it needs at night to put itself to sleep. In the daytime, it helps build the immune system and musculoskeletal systems, both of which are negatively impacted by stress. By both calming and rebuilding the nervous system this herb exhibits qualities that are perfect for helping those under stress.

I gave a list of my new herbs and supplements to my Neurologist’s office at my last visit and they called today recommending that I stop using Ashwaganda. Here is their feedback:

Ashwagandha

Other names: Ayurvedic ginseng, Indian ginseng, winter cherry, withania

Summary: This ayurvedic herb is sometimes recommended for MS. However, it has immune-stimulating effects that pose theoretical risks in MS and may interfere with the effectiveness of immune-modulating and immunosuppressive medications. Also, it has sedating properties that may worsen MS fatigue or potentiate the sedating effects of medications. (see ms-cam.org for more info)

I have not experienced any sedating properties and have felt better than ever while taking Ashwaganda. So, now what do I do? I haven’t made a decision yet to keep taking Ashwaganda or not but think I am going to stop taking it and see how I feel without it. These conflicting reports are really frustrating. This is a good reminder that what works well for me may not work well for you.
We are all trying to find our way without any concrete information. It is so important to share our stories and our efforts to get better, so that one day, we can find THE WAY out of this disease.

Are you taking Ashwaganda for your MS?

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3 responses to “Conflicting Reports

  1. Denver Refashionista

    I heard that MS people should not take this but if you are not on meds… I think you should do what feels right for you. If you are feeling better and it is not having bad side effects, keep taking it. if you notice any changes for the worse you can reevalute. My gut says it is fine to take if you are not on interferons.

  2. Are you having Tysabri infusions?
    Taking natural meds in the form of herbs is usually a safe bet, but interactions with pharmaceuticals, especially new one’s like Tysabri would give me pause.

  3. Conventional Drs are scarred of alternate meds. If you are feeling good keep taking it!!

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