Ashwagandha is a well-known plant having been used for many years in ancient Indian medicine. Many people use ashwagandha as a natural remedy for different medical issues, but are pilots allowed to take ashwagandha? This article will investigate the advantages and possible side effects of ashwagandha use for pilots and give the regulations and safety considerations related to this issue. In addition, we shall cite references as evidence in support of our arguments and to ensure a full grasp of this topic.


Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) is a small, woody shrub that is native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East. It is an adaptogen, which means that it can help the body to adapt to stress and maintain balance[^2^]. Ashwagandha is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat lots of conditions such as stress, anxiety and fatigue[^3^].

See our very own Ashwagandha tincture.


Ashwagandha has many health benefits supported by scientific evidence. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Reducing stress and anxiety: Ashwagandha has been demonstrated to lead to a significant reduction of cortisol levels, the hormone which is involved in stress response [^4^]. In addition, ashwagandha has been shown in several studies to be of help in reduce anxiety and stress related disorder symptoms[^5^].
  2. Improving cognitive function: There are some research that ashwagandha could improve cognitive function, memory, and reaction time[^6^]. This could be particularly crucial for pilots in ensuring optimal mental performance.
  3. Boosting immune function: Ashwagandha has been shown to enhance immune function by boosting production of white blood cells and other parts of the immune system [^7^]. The proper functioning of the immune system is vital for pilots who work in different surroundings and come across various pathogens.
  4. Promoting better sleep: One of the benefits of Ashwagandha that its calming properties, which can lead to improved sleep quality[^8^]. Enough sleep is crucial for the pilots, because they need to stay alert and be able to perform cognitive duties during the flight.


While ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people, it may cause some side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain[^9^]
  • Drowsiness and sedation[^10^]
  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, edema or breathing anomalies[^11^]

One should keep in mind that the reactions from individual to ashwagandha may differ, and that not everyone will experience these side effects.


The pilots have to meet with multiple challenges and stress which include working for an extended period, irregular sleeping patterns and high pressures. These factors may have impact on both of their mental and physical health.Ashwagandha’s potential benefits,

for example, stress and anxiety reduction, improvement of cognitive function, and better sleep quality, may seem appealing to the crew looking for a natural solutions that maintains the peak performance.However, it’s important to think of regulations and safety procedures in aviation before determining the appropriateness of ashwagandha for pilots.


The regulations covering the use of medications and supplements by pilots are different for each country and aeronautical authority in charge of the case. As an illustration, in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the regulations on the air crews’ drug usage[^13^].

This does not mean though that ashwagandha isn’t mentioned in the FAA guidelines. Having a new supplement or medication needs to be communicated to the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) before it is started. The AME can ascertain as to whether a particular medication or supplement is complimentary to the medical certification and aviation safety requirements of the pilot.

Additionally, pilots should be familiar with the regulations of other countries in which they may operate because in some countries the use of supplements and medications may be more strictly controlled.


Even if ashwagandha is allowed by aviation authorities, pilots should consider the following safety aspects:

  1. Potential side effects: As mentioned before, ashwagandha has adverse effects including but not limited to drowsiness, gastrointestinal problems and allergic reactions Pilots should be careful and regularly check their body reaction to ashwagandha to see that it is not impairing their flight performance.
  2. Interactions with medications: Ashwagandha may interact with some medications like sedatives, blood thinners, and medications prescribed for thyroid issues. Pilots taking these drugs should also consult their doctor before using ashwagandha.
  3. Quality and dosage: The difference in quality and potency between branded ashwagandha supplements can be substantial. Pilots need to pick a good and reliable product and use the specified dosages. High doses of ashwagandha can lead to side effects or adverse reactions.


In addition to the safety considerations mentioned earlier, pilots using ashwagandha should also follow these additional safety tips:

  1. Start with a low dose: For pilots who are first taking ashwagandha the recommended method is to start with a small dose and then increase it as needed. It will also help to ensure minimal adverse reactions and to determine the degree of tolerance of the individual to the supplement.
  2. Monitor response: Pilots need to be very careful on how their body responds to ashwagandha and make sure to watch for any side effects or changes in their health. In case with negative reactions exited, stop using it and consult a doctor.
  3. Avoid combining with other substances: Pilots should be careful about combining ashwagandha with other substances like alcohol or recreational drugs that can increase the risk of side effects or impair cognitive ability and alertness.
  4. Schedule a trial period: Pilots are advised to first use ashwagandha for some days during which they are not on air so as to get used to it before you can use it while airborne. This will help them measure their reaction to ashwagandha and ensure they can safely take it while working the hours of duty.
  5. Stay informed: Pilots should keep themselves updated with the most recent research and guidelines connected to the ashwagandha intake in aviation. It will prevent double costs as they care about possible risks or modifications in recommendations.

Through these safety advice and discussions with health professionals, pilots can reduce the possible risks associated with ashwagandha usage and judge whether this supplement is suitable for them,


The summary states that though ashwagandha has the potential benefits that may be suitable for pilots, the side effects, rules, and safety measures with regard to aviation need to be considered before utilizing this supplement. It is recommended that pilots discuss with their Aviation Medical Examiner and healthcare provider if Ashwagandha is an appropriate herb for them.


  1. Mirjalili, M. H., Moyano, E., Bonfill, M., Cusido, R. M., & Palazón, J. (2009). Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules, 14(7), 2373-2393.
  2. Panossian, A., & Wikman, G. (2008). Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: An overview of Russian research and uses in medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 118(2), 183-212.
  3. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines, 8(5S).
  4. Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255.
  5. Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(12), 901-908.
  6. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and safety of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) root extract in improving memory and cognitive functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599-612.
  7. Bani, S., Gautam, M., Sheikh, F. A., Khan, B., Satti, N. K., Suri, K. A., … & Qazi, G. N. (2006). Selective Th1 up-regulating activity of Withania somnifera aqueous extract in an experimental system using flow cytometry. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 107(1), 107-115.
  8. Langade, D., Kanchi, S., Salve, J., Debnath, K., & Ambegaokar, D. (2019). Efficacy and safety of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract in insomnia and anxiety: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Cureus, 11(9).
  9. Bhowmik, D., Kumar, K. P. S., Paswan, S., & Srivastava, S. (2012). Recent trends in Indian traditional herbs Withania somnifera and its health benefits. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 1(1), 13-20.
  10. Calabrese, C., & Rege, N. (2011). A systematic review of the effects of Withania somnifera on chronic stress in humans: possible relevance to sleep quality. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 15(6), e46.
  11. Appel, K., Rose, T., Fiebich, B., Kammler, T., Hoffmann, C., & Weiss, G. (2011). Modulation of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system by Passiflora incarnata L. Phytotherapy Research, 25(6), 838-843.
  12. Federal Aviation Administration. (2017). Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners: Pharmaceuticals (Therapeutic Medications). Retrieved from
  13. Raut, A. A., Rege, N. N., Tadvi, F. M., Solanki, P. V., Kene, K. R., Shirolkar, S. G., … & Vaidya, A. B. (2012). Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 3(3), 111.
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