Q. Do I have to stop taking ashwagandha before a surgery?Will it interact with anesthesia?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 25, 2015 and last reviewed on: Aug 22, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am scheduled for sinus surgery day after tomorrow. I have been given a list of medications which should not be taken and I have followed that.

However, I have been taking ashwagandha (herb supplement 470 mg once a day) to help with anxiety. I read online that this may interfere with anesthesia. I will be sure to mention this to the anesthesiologist on the day of surgery when I arrive, but I am curious if this is a cause for concern beyond just letting them know, or should I postpone surgery. I last took it yesterday night and will not take it again prior to surgery. Please advice.

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology


Welcome to icliniq.com. I have read through your query in detail. Please find my observations below. 1. Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng is a well known ayurvedic herbal medicine. 2. The following constitute its important effects on the human body:

  • It causes increase in energy levels.
  • It might interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) and can cause manic episodes in patients.
  • It might be used as an aphrodisiac (to stimulate sexual desire) and for anti-aging.
  • In some people it might cause irritability, insomnia (sleeplessness), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level), hypertension, skin rashes and nervousness.
  • It causes tachycardia (increased heart rate) and hypertension, particularly in those patients who are on other stimulants or have a cardiovascular disease.
  • It interacts with oral anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents, corticosteroids and hypoglycemic agents.

3. Taking ashwagandha before surgery might predispose the patient to perioperative bleeding. It may be a concern for complications during anesthesia.

In conclusion, it is suggested that ashwagandha has to be stopped for a week before a planned surgery, unless such a surgery is very urgent to be performed or when the benefits outweigh the risks involved. Please have a discussion with your doctor and reschedule your surgery by a week if recommended.

Revert back to an anesthesiologist online for further clarifications --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/anesthesiologist

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