BCCT plans to write a summary on ashwagandha. While our summary is in development, you can visit About Herbs: Ashwagandha
Before using this therapy, consult your oncology team about interactions with other treatments and therapies. Also make sure this therapy is safe for use with any other medical conditions you may have.
Ashwagandha may interfere with some chemotherapy drugs and may also enhance the effects of sedative drugs.1
Although some research suggests its usefulness in breast cancer, Neil McKinney, ND, says he avoids use in breast cancer as it can elevate DHEA. Dr. Mckinney also does not recommend using this herb in prostate cancer, as it may increase testosterone. He further notes that ashwagandha is contraindicated in hemochromatosis patients.2
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs site cautions:3
- Avoid in pregnancy, as use may induce abortions
- Other possible reversible adverse reactions and herb-drug interactions
- May affect certain lab tests that measure thyroid functioning and digoxin levels
BCCT does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated.
Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:
- Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. 2010.
- Block KI. Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Care. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009.
- McKinney N. Naturopathic Oncology, 3rd Edition. Victoria, BC, Canada: Liaison Press. 2016.
- Natural Medicines Database (requires purchase)
Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems
|For more information about programs and protocols, see our Integrative Programs and Protocols page.|
- Programs and protocols
- Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches4
- Block program: stress management5
- MacDonald breast cancer program6
- McKinney protocols7
- Traditional systems
- Gurdev Parmar and Tina Kaczor: Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology
- Neil McKinney, BSc, ND: Naturopathic Oncology, 3rd Edition
- Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn Gazella: The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: About Herbs, Botanicals and Other Products
- American Botanical Council: HerbMed
- Lone Star Medical Group: Natural Alternative Treatments