Ashwagandha Benefits for Men

What Research Says About Ashwagandha's Effects on Testosterone and Sexual Health

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Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha’s possible health benefits for men include:

  • Boosting testosterone levels
  • Enhancing sexual desire
  • Increasing sperm count and motility
  • Improving erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Reducing blood sugar and inflammation
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Improved mental health

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogen, meaning it's believed to help the body adapt to and manage stress.

While there is some research that supports the broader health benefits of ashwagandha for men like better sleep and less anxiety, that may not be the case for ED.

This article discusses each health benefit, the potential side effects of ashwagandha, and how to use the herb.

ashwagandha root powder on teaspoon

marekuliasz / Getty Images

Health Benefits for Men

Ashwagandha is believed to have many health benefits, particularly for things like helping with sleep and managing stress. 

Research has shown that ashwagandha supplementation reduces levels of a stress hormone called cortisol.

Here's a look at what research says about ashwagandha's benefits for men.

Boosting Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that is associated with sex drive. It also affects how males store fat in the body, bone, 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 had changes in testosterone levels, improved vitality, and less 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 and that it improved both their muscle mass and strength.


Click Play to Learn More About Ashwagandha for Erectile Dysfunction

This video has been medically reviewed by Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD

Enhanced Sex Drive

Ashwagandha is said to have aphrodisiac-like qualities, which means it could enhance sexual desire.

Ongoing stress is a common cause of low sex drive and poor sexual performance. 

Research has shown that ashwagandha can offer stress relief, which can in turn affect sex drive and the ability to relax enough to feel desire and pleasure.

Additionally, ashwagandha's effect on testosterone levels may help increase sexual desire and drive in men.

Increased Fertility

Ashwagandha may help with male fertility. Research has shown that ashwagandha raises sperm count and improves sperm movement (motility) in men with infertility.

Another study found similar results, showing that ashwagandha can significantly improve sperm count and motility. However, more research is needed to confirm these results.

Erectile Dysfunction

Ashwagandha is frequently claimed to be a treatment for the inability to get or sustain an erection (erectile dysfunction).

While people may make these claims (anecdotal evidence), there has not been enough scientific proof to back them up. Very few studies have looked at the use of ashwagandha for treating ED. The research that has been done has not provided strong evidence that the herb works for ED.

For example, one study looked at using ashwagandha to improve a type of ED associated with concerns about sexual performance and sexual anxiety (psychogenic ED). The study found that ashwagandha did not help men with this kind of ED.

A follow-up study confirmed that ashwagandha did not benefit men with ED.

Reduction of Blood Sugar and Inflammation

There is some evidence that ashwagandha can help lower blood sugar levels and levels of inflammation in the body.

According to research, ashwagandha might help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar. However, many of the studies that suggested ashwagandha could help lower blood sugar were done in a lab, not in humans. Several small human studies that have shown blood sugar lowering effects were done in people who did not have diabetes.

Ashwagandha may also reduce markers (c-reactive protein) in the body that are linked to inflammation, which is common in many chronic health conditions. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits. 

Increased Athletic Performance

Some research suggests that taking ashwagandha could help improve athletic performance. It could also help with muscle recovery after exercise. However, more studies need to be done to see if there is really a beneficial effect.

Improved Mental Health

Researchers think that ashwagandha could help with symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients, including those with schizophrenia.

Some studies have suggested that ashwagandha supplements or combination supplements with more than one herb can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep in those with insomnia.

Side Effects of Ashwagandha 

Ashwagandha is generally considered to be safe but it can cause side effects. 

Common side effects of the herb include:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea 

Who Shouldn't Use Ashwagandha?

Do not take ashwagandha if:

  • You're pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have diabetes
  • You have a thyroid condition
  • You have autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • You are scheduled for surgery or are recovering from a recent procedure

Talk with your healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha. Tell them about any medical conditions you have and all the medications, over-the-counter (OTC) products, and other supplements you're already taking. They will make sure it would be safe for you to try ashwagandha.

Buying and Using Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha supplements are available to purchase in capsule, extract, and powder forms, as well as liquid tinctures. Different parts of the plant are used to make herbal supplements, but the root is most commonly used.

Purchasing Ashwagandha

Health food stores, co-ops, and online supplement shops are common places to get ashwagandha. You might be able to find it at your local pharmacy as well. 

Ashwagandha supplements can cost anywhere from a few dollars to well over $20, depending on what kind you get, where you purchase it, and how much you buy.

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 a third-party lab has tested the product to verify its safety and potency.

Ashwagandha Usage

Ashwagandha has traditionally been taken as a powder mixed 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. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) ashwagandha products are available in dosages from 150 milligrams to 2 grams. 

Your healthcare provider can help find the right dosage for you, depending on what you plan to take it for.


Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that may offer several health benefits, including some specific ones for men.

A daily ashwagandha supplement could help boost testosterone and improve sperm count and motility. However, more research is needed to show whether it could help with specific conditions like ED.

Talk with your provider before using ashwagandha, as it could interact with other medications or supplements you’re taking. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the best ashwagandha dosage for low testosterone?

    Research suggests that between 2 and 5 grams of ashwagandha per day may help boost testosterone levels in men.

  • Does ashwagandha work like Viagra?

    No. Viagra works by increasing blood flow to the penis. Ashwagandha helps reduce stress hormones and balance testosterone. It’s not clear whether it helps with ED.

  • How quickly does ashwagandha work?

    Ashwagandha does not act quickly. You need to take the herb for several weeks before you may notice any effects. 

  • Can you just stop taking ashwagandha?

    Ashwagandha is considered safe to take for up to 12 weeks. Withdrawal symptoms do not appear to be a problem.

    However, given that the herb affects the body similarly to how drugs that do cause withdrawal symptoms, researchers are still trying to figure out if it’s possible.

  • Can ashwagandha cause weight gain?

    No, ashwagandha should not cause weight gain. If anything, research has shown it could promote weight loss.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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