Ashwagandha powder

Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding

Ashwagandha is a traditional herb used for centuries, especially in Ayurveda. Recently, it has gained mainstream popularity due to its stress-reducing, adaptogenic properties. After hearing about its calming effects and ability to promote restful sleep, breastfeeding moms may wonder if they can use this herb. After all, postpartum and early motherhood is one of the most stressful and chaotic times in a woman's life. 

If you want to know if you can take Ashwagandha while breastfeeding, read on!  

What is Ashwagandha?

The scientific name for Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. It is a herb that is found in both Asia and Africa. There, it has been used for centuries. Sometimes referred to as "Indian Ginseng." Ayurveda has long relied on Ashwagandha to reduce stress, treat inflammation and pain, promote restful sleep, and increase nutrient intake. 

Though many have received its benefits for thousands of years, science has recently begun to verify those claims. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Adaptogens help your body to fight off free radicals and better manage oxidative stress. Many studies on Ashwagandha have found that this herbal supplement can have significant health benefits.

What are the Ashwagandha Benefits for Women?

The primary benefit of Ashwagandha is its ability to fight the adverse effects of stress and restore calm. However, that isn't the only advantage of this powerful herb. 

Stress relief

Ashwagandha is considered to have bitter, warm, and dry properties. It also has a calming effect as it is an adaptogen. However, Ashwagandha typically doesn't make you feel sedate or groggy, making it an excellent choice for busy mums. 


Promotes restful sleep

If you find yourself facing postpartum insomnia, Ashwagandha may be able to help you return to sleep. 


Stamina and energy

Traditionally, Ashwagandha is translated as the "strength of a stallion." This is because it is known for providing energy, strength, and stamina, often due to its ability to promote restorative sleep so that you wake up feeling energized.


Reduce pain and swelling

 One study found that Ashwagandha reduced arthritis symptoms caused by inflammation and swelling. 


Youth and longevity

Ayurveda believes Ashwagandha helps to promote youth, support longevity, and enhance vigor.


Stabilize blood sugar

Ashwagandha has been found to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. 

It's easy to see why you may want to consider Ashwagandha during any stage of motherhood, but can you consume Ashwagandha during breastfeeding? 

breastfeeding mom

Ashwagandha While Breastfeeding

Like most herbs, Ashwagandha's effect on nursing mothers has not been studied in depth. However, it is generally considered safe for breastfeeding. This is great news because this plant-powered supplement can have excellent benefits for nursing or pumping moms in particular! 

  • Rich in iron. Ashwagandha contains some excellent nutrients, like¬†iron. Iron is vital for postpartum mothers who went through childbirth and are now nursing a little one. It may help with iron deficiency.¬†

  • Reduce swelling. Ashwagandha is thought to reduce inflammation, which can help treat swelling, aches, and pains. Breastfeeding can sometimes lead to poor posture and cause aching shoulders, back, or neck. Ashwagandha might be able to help with this muscle pain.¬†

  • Endocrine regulation. Ashwagandha is believed to assist with thyroid regulation and adrenal gland balance. Typically, post-birth, thyroid levels can be a concern for some mothers. They can also play a role in breast milk production.¬†

  • Relieves stress, anxiety, and¬†brain fog. Ashwagandha is a powerful stress fighter. Stress and anxiety can often play a role in milk supply, so promoting calm is essential. Additionally, postpartum "mom brain" or brain fog is real and can be pretty frustrating. Ashwagandha may help provide clarity and reduce cloudy thinking and fatigue.¬†

  • Reduce insomnia. It can be an awful feeling when you are wide awake, and your little one is finally asleep. Ashwagandha can be excellent for promoting restful sleep, decreasing¬†insomnia, and helping you fall asleep when you wake up in the middle of the night. However, it doesn't cause grogginess or fatigue if taken during the day.¬†

For many mothers, Ashwagandha is a match made in heaven during the sometimes chaotic and tiring fourth trimester.

Is Ashwagandha Safe While Breastfeeding

 Ashwagandha is considered Lactation Category C. This means that Ashwagandha and breastfeeding are considered compatible. However, it's always very important to talk to your doctor before taking any herb or supplement or making dietary changes while breastfeeding. 

Generally, substances can pass into your breast milk and be transferred to your baby. Some have a more powerful effect than others and last longer in breast milk. Due to the lack of research on herbs and breastfeeding, finding concrete evidence about which supplements are safe can be challenging. 

However, leading companies in the industry, like Parents.com, have touted Ashwagandha's benefits for nursing moms. Even placing it on their list of best breastfeeding foods. Other entities have suggested that breastfeeding moms take Ashwagandha with caution. 

We understand that it can be tricky to know which substances are breastfeeding-safe. In cases where the herb or medication is considered safe or compatible, it can come down to what works for you and your little one. Always operate under your doctor's guidance, and trust your mom-gut. 

Most women can safely enjoy the benefits of Ashwagandha while breastfeeding as long as they receive the herb from a trusted and safe source and consume it properly.

 

Ashwagandha Side Effects While Breastfeeding

Thankfully, Ashwagandha's side effects for breastfeeding moms are minimal and rare. The most common is gastrointestinal discomfort. In most cases, GI distress, including diarrhoea, ceases when you stop taking Ashwagandha. Sometimes, you may be able to alleviate side effects by taking a lower dose or taking the supplement with food and water. 

Moms with thyroid disease should check with their doctor before taking Ashwagandha, as it affects the thyroid and adrenal glands. Furthermore, those who take medications, including benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, or barbiturates, are not advised to consume Ashwagandha. 

Ashwagandha is a match made in heaven for most postpartum and breastfeeding moms. If you're taking a certified and safe supplement from a trusted brand like Freshly Moms and doing so in the proper manner, you'll likely be able to reap the benefits with little to no side effects or concerns.


Conclusion

Ashwagandha is a powerhouse plant that can have significant benefits for breastfeeding and postpartum moms. Its ability to promote sleep, help you manage stress, and return your body and mind to balance are just a few of its amazing advantages. 

This is why we include it in our Golden Milk for Motherhood and Lactation and Postpartum Support Capsules. As a nutrient-rich herb, it's an ingredient that adds an extra nutritional boost. With its calming and restorative properties, Ashwagandha is an ingredient all postpartum moms should consider!

Shruti is the founder of Freshly Moms. She is a professional plant-based chef from Natural Gourmet Institute, NY and a certified IIN health coach. She has been working with Ayurveda, food & nutrition for over 10 years and is also a fresh mom herself.

This article is not a medical advice and is not meant for every situation. Every woman's body is different and may respond differently to treatments or supplements. 

Shruti Mishra