Are you someone who is always on the lookout for natural supplements to improve your overall health?
If so, you may have heard of adaptogens like ashwagandha and milk thistle. These plant-based supplements are known for their various health benefits, including liver cleansing, mental health improvement, and more.
But can you take them together?
In this article, we’ll explore the potential risks and benefits of combining ashwagandha and milk thistle. So, if you’re curious about these two supplements and how they can impact your health, keep reading!
Can You Take Ashwagandha And Milk Thistle Together?
While both ashwagandha and milk thistle have their own unique health benefits, it’s important to note that they have different properties and should be taken separately.
Ashwagandha is considered to be ushna virya, which means it has a warming effect on the body. On the other hand, milk thistle is considered to be sheet virya, which means it has a cooling effect on the body.
Taking these two supplements together can potentially cause an imbalance in the body’s temperature regulation and disrupt their individual benefits.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate both supplements into your health routine. It’s recommended to take milk thistle on an empty stomach for liver cleansing and ashwagandha before sleep with milk for its calming effects.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub that is native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, but it is also commonly known as Indian ginseng and winter cherry. The active chemical ingredients in ashwagandha are called withanolides, which are believed to be responsible for its various health benefits.
Ashwagandha is available in various forms, including capsules and powders that can be mixed into soft foods, such as yogurt or oatmeal. The root, root powder, and standardized withanolide extracts are used in a wide range of doses. However, unlike with prescription drugs, there is often little or conflicting evidence about the best dose of supplements, including ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to promote overall health and well-being. It is known for its adaptogenic properties, which means it helps the body adapt to stress by regulating the production of stress hormones like cortisol. This can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve overall mood.
In addition to its adaptogenic properties, ashwagandha has also been shown to have immune-boosting, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and heart-healthy properties. It has also been found to reduce stress levels and improve cognitive function.
There are different types of ashwagandha supplements available on the market, such as Sensoril Ashwagandha, KSM-66 Ashwagandha, and Shoden Ashwagandha. Each type has its own unique properties and benefits based on the parts of the plant used and the extraction process. It’s important to choose the right type of ashwagandha supplement based on your specific health needs and goals.
What Is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle, also known as Silymarin marianum, is a popular herbal supplement commonly used for liver support. It belongs to the Asteraceae family and is recognizable by its white veining in green leaves and classic purple thistle flower.
Milk thistle is composed of several phytochemicals with important therapeutic actions, including flavonoid complexes that are strong antioxidants and contribute significantly to the effectiveness of milk thistle.
Studies have shown that milk thistle has anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, immune-modulating, antifibrotic, and liver regenerating properties. It also has potential therapeutic value in liver diseases, cancer, type-2 diabetes, and other conditions.
In addition to its hepatoprotective effects, milk thistle has benefits for renal and pancreatic function via protection against oxidative damage from nephrotoxic drugs such as chemotherapy agents and gentamicin. It also increases regeneration of pancreatic B cells in patients with metabolic syndrome, a concern when obesity, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia are present.
Milk thistle has a wide safety margin and few known side effects. Based on traditional use, it has been used as an emergency antidote for poisoning by death cap mushroom (Amanita phalloides). Animal studies have found that milk thistle extract completely counteracts the toxic effects of the mushroom when given within 10 minutes of ingestion. If given within 24 hours, it significantly reduces the risk of liver damage and death.
Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It has a wide range of health benefits, which have been studied in both animal and human trials. Here are some of the benefits of ashwagandha:
1. Reduces Physical and Mental Stress: Ashwagandha is known for its ability to reduce both physical and mental stress. It has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which is the hormone responsible for stress.
2. Increases Endurance: Ashwagandha has been shown to increase endurance in athletes. It helps the body adapt to physical stress by improving oxygen consumption and reducing fatigue.
3. Anti-inflammatory: Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
4. Immune System Boosting: Ashwagandha has been shown to boost the immune system by increasing white blood cell production. This can help the body fight off infections and diseases.
5. Lowers Blood Sugar and Cholesterol: Ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It also has cholesterol-lowering properties, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
6. Improves Metabolism: Ashwagandha has been shown to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid hormone levels. This can help with weight loss and improve overall energy levels.
7. Improves Sleep: Ashwagandha has a calming effect on the body, which can help improve sleep quality. It has been shown to improve both sleep latency and sleep duration.
8. Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression: Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with these conditions. It works by regulating neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for mood.
Benefits Of Milk Thistle
Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years for its various health benefits. Its most well-known benefit is its ability to support liver health. Milk thistle contains a flavonoid complex called silymarin, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins and free radicals.
Studies have shown that milk thistle can be effective in treating liver diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and fatty liver disease. It has also been found to be beneficial in reducing liver damage caused by alcohol and other toxins.
In addition to its liver-supporting properties, milk thistle has also been found to have other health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Milk thistle may also help improve skin health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can contribute to premature aging of the skin. It has also been found to have potential benefits for kidney and pancreatic function by protecting against oxidative damage caused by nephrotoxic drugs and increasing regeneration of pancreatic cells.
Potential Risks Of Combining Ashwagandha And Milk Thistle
While there are no severe or serious interactions reported between ashwagandha and milk thistle, there are potential risks to consider.
Firstly, milk thistle has been found to slow down the activity of the liver enzyme CYP3A4, which is responsible for breaking down many medications, including some used by people with HIV/AIDS. This means that if someone is taking both milk thistle and medications processed by this liver enzyme, it could potentially increase the levels of these drugs in the body, leading to unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.
Secondly, ashwagandha has no confirmed benefits that outweigh the possibility of negative side effects. It’s probably safe for most people, but pregnant women, people with stomach ulcers, those with liver disease, and those taking certain medications should avoid taking ashwagandha. If taken together with milk thistle, it could potentially exacerbate these negative side effects.
Lastly, taking both supplements together could potentially cause an imbalance in the body’s temperature regulation and disrupt their individual benefits. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a doctor or healthcare provider before taking any supplements, especially if you’re already taking medication or have pre-existing medical conditions.