Ashwagandha for Erectile Dysfunction: Does It Work?

An adaptogen guide for men’s sexual health

Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is a versatile herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a number of medical conditions. Native to India and North Africa, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, as it is believed to help the body adapt to and manage stress.

Research findings show that ashwagandha is particularly helpful in boosting men’s sexual health. The root extract of this small woody plant is said to boost testosterone levels, improve male fertility, and act as an aphrodisiac. This article will discuss the benefits and side effects of ashwagandha and how to use it.

ashwagandha root powder on teaspoon


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Health Benefits for Men

Ashwagandha is believed to have many health benefits, particularly in managing stress. In studies, ashwagandha supplementation has been found to substantially reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Ashwagandha is also believed to have many health benefits specifically for men and men's sexual health.

Boosting Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone in men that is associated with sex drive. It also affects the way men store fat in the body, bone and muscle mass, and sperm production.

Ashwagandha has been shown to boost testosterone levels in men. In one study, healthy men who took ashwagandha extract for eight weeks showed significant changes in testosterone levels, improved vitality, and lower fatigue.

Another study found that men taking ashwagandha while on a weight-lifting program had five times higher levels of testosterone than men who did not take the supplement, improving both muscle mass and strength.

Enhanced Sexual Pleasure

Ashwagandha is said to possess aphrodisiac-like qualities, enhancing sexual desire. Ongoing stress is a common cause of declining sex drive and poor sexual performance. Research shows that ashwagandha offers stress relief, which can affect sex drive and the ability to relax enough to enhance desire and pleasure.

Additionally, ashwagandha helps boost testosterone levels, which may help increase sexual desire and drive.

Increased Fertility

Ashwagandha may help boost fertility in men. Recent research shows that ashwagandha is effective at boosting both sperm count and sperm motility (movement) in men experiencing infertility.

Another study found similar results, showing that ashwagandha can significantly improve sperm count and motility.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects nearly 30 million men in the United States. Many men use prescription medications to help correct this common condition. Some believe that herbs like ashwagandha may help, though there is currently only anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness.

Research that has been conducted does not demonstrate much promise for the herb in treating ED. One study aimed to use ashwagandha to improve psychogenic erectile dysfunction, a type of ED associated with concerns about sexual performance and sexual anxiety. Results showed that ashwagandha provided no relief.

Another follow-up study confirmed the same findings that ashwagandha seems to offer no benefit in treating ED.

Possible Side Effects 

Ashwagandha is generally considered to be safe. Common side effects of the herb include:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea 

Avoid using ashwagandha if you have diabetes, a thyroid condition, or an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Also avoid using ashwagandha if you are pregnant.

Talk to Your Physician

As with any herbal supplement, talk to your physician before you use ashwagandha. Discuss if ashwagandha will interact with any medications you are currently taking.

Selection, Preparation & Storage

Ashwagandha supplements are available in capsule, extract, and powder forms, as well as liquid tinctures. Over-the-counter ashwagandha products are available in dosages from 150 milligrams to 2 grams. Your physician can help find the right dosage for you, depending on what you plan to take it for.

Different parts of the plant are used to make herbal supplements, but the root is most commonly used.

Ashwagandha has traditionally been taken as a powder mixed in with honey, milk, or tea. The herb has a bitter flavor, which is why some people choose to take it in capsule form. Take ashwagandha with food to avoid an upset stomach. 

When purchasing ashwagandha, look for products sourced from organic ashwagandha and made with non-GMO ingredients. Reputable vendors will come with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) that indicates the product has been tested by a third-party lab to verify its safety and potency.

A Word From Verywell

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb with a number of health benefits, particularly for men. Taking a daily ashwagandha supplement can help boost testosterone and improve sperm count and motility. However, research does not show that it helps with erectile dysfunction. Talk with your physician before using ashwagandha, as it may interact with other medications you are currently taking.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the best ashwagandha dosage for testosterone?

    Between 2 and 5 grams per day may be effective at boosting testosterone levels in men. In one study, men who took 5 grams of ashwagandha per day for three months experienced an increase in sperm count and motility. Another study found that only 2.2 grams of ashwagandha per day increased sperm counts by 167%, improved sperm motility, and significantly improved testosterone levels.

  • Does ashwagandha work like Viagra?

    Stress is often a factor in erectile dysfunction. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps reduce stress hormones and balance testosterone. Many men experience improved erections and enhanced sexual desire after supplementing with ashwagandha. However, research is limited, and more studies are needed to determine if ashwagandha works like the erectile dysfunction medication, Viagra.

  • Do herbs boost testosterone?

    Some herbs do boost testosterone levels, helping improve sexual function and fertility in men. One study found that herbal extracts (including ashwagandha root and root/leaf extracts) have a positive effect on testosterone levels.

  • Who shouldn’t use ashwagandha?

    Though ashwagandha is an herb and is generally safe, there are some people who should not use the supplement. Do not take ashwagandha if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have diabetes, a thyroid condition, or an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Do not take ashwagandha if you are scheduled for surgery or are recovering from a recent surgical procedure. Talk with your physician before taking ashwagandha. They will review your medical history and any medications you are taking to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.

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