Does Ashwagandha kill emotions or make you emotionless?

As reported by Forbes and New York Times, the rising claims that Ashwagandha affects emotions, causing emotional numbness and emotional blunt raises safety concerns in recent years.

In this article, we shall investigate Ashwagandha’s effects on emotional well-being based on studies, expert’s view and real-world user feedback.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, boasts a rich history in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, spanning centuries of use in India. Celebrated for its adaptogenic properties, this ancient herb is believed to reduce stress with calming and mood-lifting effects.

Nonetheless, recent claims have raised concerns about Ashwagandha’s potential to suppress emotions or dampen emotional responses.

About Emotional Well-Being & Supplementation

Emotional well-being encompasses our capacity to comprehend and navigate our emotions in a positive manner. It entails being mindful of our feelings, expressing them in suitable ways, and effectively coping with stress and adversities.

Natural supplements such as Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali have long been used to aid emotional well-being and improve mental health.

Impact of Ashwgandha on Stress & Anxiety

Health coaches, fitness instructions, nutritioninsts and doctors are prescribing herbal supplementation such as Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali in recent years to support a healthy mental state – predominantly by reducing stress, anxiety and depression levels.

One of the primary benefits or uses of Ashwagandha is its potential to reduce stress and anxiety. Several studies have shown that Ashwagandha can lower cortisol levels, a hormone released in response to stress.

By reducing cortisol levels, Ashwagandha may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and promote a sense of calmness.

However, there is a potential downside that you need to be aware of if you are taking ashwagandha for a prolonged period.

Does Ashwagandha make you emotionless?

Dr. Melinda Ring, an integrative medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine, said that Ashwagandha could potentially suppress dopamine receptors in the brain. However, ashwagandha is also thought to help regulate cortisol levels (as reported in some studies), she added.

Despite studies showing Ashwagandha reduces cortisol (stress hormones) and anxiety, Ashwagandha has profound impact on emotions, potentially causing excessive emotional numbness, feeling emotionally unresponsive based on reported by users on TikTok in recent years.

Does Ashwagandha suppress my emotions?

A 10-week study in 2022 by a group of researchers showed that long-term usage of ashwagandha may lead to a permanent suppression of adrenal function, affecting hormone production that controls your emotions. The study warned users of the potential detrimental effect of continuous use of Ashwagandha and how it may suppress your emotions due to adrenal insufficiency.

Does Ashwagandha kill your emotions forever?

Ashwagandha does not kill your emotions forever and your emotional senses will be restored after you stop taking Ashwagandha for two weeks. Most users feel more “humane” after stopping Ashwgandha supplementation.

Does Ashwagandha mess my hormones?

A case patient report study showed that a 10-week ashwagandha supplementation may cause adrenal insufficiency (or better known as Addison’s disease), a hormonal disorder that happens when the adrenal glands are not producing sufficient cortisol, aldosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These hormones help control a variety of important functions in the body, including stress and anxiety.

Can Ashwagandha make you feel more depressed?

Dr Legrand (who is diagnosed with ADHD) reported being more depressed on the 2nd and 3rd week after taking Ashwagandha. Some users reported similar experience after taking ashwagandha.

If you are diagnosed with ADHD or exhibit any mental health symptoms, you need to avoid taking ashwagandha. It is best to consult a healthcare professional for advice before taking ashwagandha or any form of herbal supplements.

Should you feel easily depressed, or exhibit any form of emotional “numbness” or unresponsive to emotional triggers, then it is recommended to stop taking Ashwagandha completely.

What is the best alternative to Ashwagandha for anxiety or stress?

Tongkat Ali provides an alternative to Ashwagandha as studies showed that it may reduce stress, anxiety and depression by reducing cortisol levels and boost dopamine in your brain (both cortical and hippocampal). Tongkat Ali produces similar calming effects and boosts in overall mood on mildly stressed test participants.

Can Ashwagandha be used as a treatment for depression?

Although Ashwagandha displays potential in alleviating anxiety symptoms, its efficacy in treating depression is still under investigation. Before considering Ashwagandha or any other supplement for depression, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is crucial for safe and informed usage.

Experts’ views on Ashwagandha

Dr Lin from Cleveland Clinic recommends taking ashwagandha in shorter periods, and not every day in perpetuity. This makes long term consumption of Ashwagandha less preferrable by experts and doctors.

“For ashwagandha to have a calming influence, a person would need to consume it regularly for several weeks — a capsule or drink infused with the supplement isn’t likely to have the kind of instant effect some manufacturers advertise.”

– Dr. Yufang Lin, Medicine Specialist, Cleveland Clinic USA

Dr. Melinda Ring a medicine specialist from Northwestern Medicine commented that ashwagandha could be highly dangerous for people with hyperthyroid conditions and those with autoimmune disorders, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and pregnant women too.

“Ashwagandha could potentially suppress dopamine receptors in the brain”

– Dr. Melinda Ring, Medicine specialist, Northwestern Medicine, USA

Lilian Cheung, a lecturer on nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also commented that today’s ashwagandha supplements may contain higher concentrations of ingredients than are found in nature. 

In other words, due to the unregulated herbal industry, you may be consuming more than what your body requires, and this practice is far from what was practiced in the traditional eastern medicine.

User reviews of Ashwagandha's effects on emotions

Medical School Professor Dr. Cam Maximus commented that Ashwagandha acts like a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) drug and may cause blunted emotions, anhedonia and apathy.

Dr. Cam Maximus is one of influential health coaches for celebrities and personalities in California who cautioned his followers against taking Ashwagandha as it is deemed overrated.

Meanwhile other users reported the same of the numbing effects of Ashwagandha due to its strong SSRI drug effects on emotions.

A young female user reported feeling inhumane after she stop taking ashwagandha, claiming that she could not handle her emotions and not express herself to the fullest.

Her followers echoed the same sentiment, expressing negative feeling after taking ashwagandha.

Professional fitness health coach Greg O’Gallagher shared the downside of ashwagandha and how it affects emotions negatively. He warned his followers that taking ashwagandha may reduce the depth of feelings causing blunted emotions and apathy.


Ashwagandha is renowned for a range of potential health benefits which may contribute positively to emotional well-being by effectively mitigating stress and anxiety. However, it may cause emotional numbness and kill your emotions if taken continuously, or for a prolonged period of time.

If you are contemplating taking Ashwagandha to reduce your stress or anxiety, it is prudent to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional to ascertain its suitability and safety.


Naressa Khan contributes regularly on AKARALI and is part of the global Tongkat Ali research team. As a writer and journalist, Naressa specializes in nutrition, health supplements, and natural wellness. With this approach always in mind, she explores fact-based and scientific evidence of topics related to health, herbs and natural wellness.

Our articles are third party reviewed by our panel of experts and medical advisors to ensure the facts are accurate and credible. These are validated against multiple source references which include but not limited to research studies, peer-reviewed journals, pre-clinical studies, clinical tests and other credible publications.

Our panel of medical advisors and experts are highly experienced in their individual fields. However, they do not provide any medical advice or recommendations arising from content published in this article.

Disclaimer: The content published in this article is for educational purposes and not intended to provide any form of recommendations, directly or indirectly to purchase or consume herbal supplements, drugs, medications, alternative remedies and practices or any brands mentioned in this article. By reading this, the sole responsibility and decision lies on the reader to make an informed decision based on publicly available information published on the internet. Any herbal supplements can be used as a health supplement, dietary plan or to treat illnesses. However, we encourage you to consult your nearest doctor before making any purchase from this website or any other websites or social platforms after reading this article. We do not hold any responsibility or accountability for any products purchased from this website or any third-party websites that are linked to this articles, sales channels or social platforms.

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