Ashwagandha Benefits for Male Sexual Health
Ayurveda recommends Ashwagandha as an aphrodisiac and as a tonic for overall health. Researchers have found that it increases sperm quality, count and motility. It increases testosterone and luteinizing hormone, and reduces follicle stimulating hormone and prolactin. It also reduces oxidative damage and counters stress. Consume 1-2 tsp root extract twice daily for best benefits.
Sexual health is an important part of a man’s life; it offers both physical and emotional benefits and contributes to the overall quality of life.
Sexual disorders such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, impotence and problems with sperm concentration, quality and motility are quite common in men across the world. These disorders have been found to be linked with diet (insufficient or imbalanced nutrition), lifestyle (sedentary, smoking) and other health conditions, with stress being a primary contributing factor.
It is clear that sexual health and fertility depend on overall health and vitality. That’s probably why common sexual disorders are difficult to treat with drugs that focus on specific symptoms. Herbs like Ashwagandha can play a multi-faceted role in improving overall health, with a trickle-down effect on sexual health as well.
Ashwagandha Benefits For Male Fertility
The roots of Withania somnifera (WS), commonly known as Ashwagandha, are used extensively in Ayurveda, the classical Indian system of medicine. Ashwagandha is used to promote physical and mental health, provide defense against disease and adverse environmental factors, and arrest the aging process. It also finds special mention as an aphrodisiac that can be used to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility.
There is an increasing body of research that seems to be validating these ancient claims.
Increases Semen Volume, Sperm Count and Sperm Motility
A randomized placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted to evaluate the spermatogenic activity of Ashwagandha root extract in 46 oligospermic patients.1 The study found that on day 90, as compared to the placebo-treated group, there was
- 167% increase in sperm count
- 53% increase in semen volume
- 57% increase in sperm motility
- improvement and regulation of serum hormone levels
Improves Semen Quality and Hormonal Balance
Researchers at the Centre of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance, Lucknow, India conducted a study on 180 infertile male patients with age-matched, healthy men as a control (n=50) group. Participants were administered Withania somnifera root powder at the rate of 5 g/d for a 3-month period.2 It was found that Ashwagandha therapy
- repaired the disturbed concentrations of lactate, alanine, citrate, GPC, histidine, and phenylalanine in seminal plasma
- recovered the quality of semen
- improved serum biochemistry
- rebooted enzymatic activity of metabolic pathways and energy metabolism
- invigorated the harmonic balance of seminal plasma metabolites and reproductive hormones
Researchers from the Departments of Biochemistry and Urology, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow, India investigated the impact of Withania somnifera roots on semen profile, oxidative biomarkers, and reproductive hormone levels of 75 infertile men, compared to 75 age-matched normal healthy fertile men (control subjects).3 They found that Ashwagandha
- inhibited lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content and improved sperm count and motility
- recovered the seminal plasma levels of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E and corrected fructose levels
- significantly increased Testosterone(Serum T) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and reduced the levels of Follicle-stimulating hormone (FS) and Prolactin (PRL)
- reduced oxidative stress, as assessed by decreased levels of various oxidants and improved level of diverse antioxidants
Improves Testicular Development
Animal studies have shown that Ashwagandha leads to improvements in sexual parameters, presumably by exerting a testosterone-like effect:4
- increases testicular weight
- increases the diameter of seminiferous tubules and the number of seminiferous tubular cell layers in the testes
- elicits spermatogenesis
Reverts Adverse Effects of Cadmium
Other animal studies provide further evidence of Ashwagandha’s beneficial effect on sexual function:5
- improves pro-sexual behavior
- increases testicular daily sperm production and serum testosterone level
- reverts the adverse effects of cadmium on seminiferous tubules, and motility and density of cauda epididymidal spermatozoa.
Reduces Oxidative Damage
It has been well documented that high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the semen induce oxidative damage to the sperm and are associated with abnormal sperm parameters leading to infertility. Ashwagandha, an effective antioxidant, has been found to counteract the formation of ROS in infertile men.6
Counters Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Stress, anxiety and depression have been known to play a key role in sexual dysfunction. Ashwagandha, with effective adaptogenic and anxiolytic properties, has been found to reduce cortisol levels by 28%, decrease stress by 44%, and depression and anxiety by 72%.7
Ashwagandha decreases the frequency and severity of stress-induced inhibition of male sexual behavior.8
No Significant Impact on Erectile Dysfunction
One aspect of sexual health that Ashwagandha doesn’t seem to have a significant beneficial impact on, is erectile dysfunction.9
Other Expert Views
How Much To Consume
Ayurvedic preparations often use Ashwagandha root or leaf powder (instead of a concentrated extract of the same). One or two teaspoons twice daily (boiled in water or mixed with milk or honey) is the recommended amount, for long term use. 1 tsp of Ashwagandha root or leaf powder can be reduced to about 300 mg of concentrated extract.
Taking this cue from traditional texts, most human studies on Ashwagandha have tested effects of dosage of 600 – 1200 mg of Ashwagandha root or leaf extract per day; they have found this dosage to be both safe and effective. In capsule form, that works out to 1 – 2 capsules, twice daily.
Ashwagandha has been found to be effective at even lower doses; the minimum effective dosage of Ashwagandha extract is 50 – 100 mg. On the other end of the spectrum, even dosages as high as 6000 mg of extract per day have been found to be completely safe and non-toxic.
Aswhagandha Aphrodisiac Recipe From The Charaka Samhita
An ancient libido-boosting recipe – the claim might very well be true given the variety of healthy herbs that go into its preparation.
- Take 1/4 kg newly harvested grains of black gram and 1/4 kg seeds of kapikacchu
- Add 1 tbsp each: jivaka, rsabhaka, vira, meda, rddhi, satavari, madhuka, aswagandha
- Boil all of the above together into a decoction (reducing to 1/4th volume) and filter
- Add 3 cups cow’s milk
- Add 1/4 cup ghee
- Add 1/4 cups juice of each: vidari, iksu
- Cook on a mild fire
- Add 1 table spoon palm or date sugar
- Add 1 table spoon each: vamsalocana, honey, pippali
- Mix all of the above together
- Take 1/4 cup before meals
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Ambiye, Vijay R., Deepak Langade, Swati Dongre, Pradnya Aptikar, Madhura Kulkarni, and Atul Dongre. “Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of the root extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in oligospermic males: a pilot study.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|
|2.||↑||Guptaa A, Mahdib AA, Shuklab KK, Ahmadb MK, Bansalb M, Sankhwarc P, Sankhwar SN. Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: A proton NMR study at 800 MHz. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2013.|
|3, 6.||↑||Ahmad, Mohammad Kaleem, Abbas Ali Mahdi, Kamla Kant Shukla, Najmul Islam, Singh Rajender, Dama Madhukar, Satya Narain Shankhwar, and Sohail Ahmad. “Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males.” Fertility and sterility 94, no. 3 (2010): 989-996.|
|4.||↑||Abdel-Magied, E. M., H. A. Abdel-Rahman, and F. M. Harraz. “The effect of aqueous extracts of Cynomorium coccineum and Withania somnifera on testicular development in immature Wistar rats.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 75, no. 1 (2001): 1-4.|
|5.||↑||Mishra, Raghav Kumar, Hari Prakash Verma, Nidhi Singh, and Shio Kumar Singh. “Male infertility: lifestyle and oriental remedies.” Journal of Scientific Research 56 (2012): 93-101.|
|7.||↑||Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. 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. Ind Jnl Psych Med. 2012 34(3): 255-262.|
|8.||↑||Bhattacharya, S. K., and A. V. Muruganandam. “Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 75, no. 3 (2003): 547-555.|
|9.||↑||Mamidi, Prasad, and A. B. Thakar. “Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal. Linn.) in the management of psychogenic erectile dysfunction.” AYU (An international quarterly journal of research in Ayurveda) 32, no. 3 (2011): 322.|