Ashwagandha Benefits for Men

What research says about the herb's effects on testosterone and sexual health

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Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is a versatile herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Increasing testosterone and sperm count, improving erectile dysfunction, and enhancing sexual desire are amongst Ashwagandha's purported benefits for men.

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, as it is believed to help the body adapt to and manage stress. While there is some research supporting most of Ashwagandha's benefits for men, that's not the case for erectile dysfunction.

This article discusses each of them, as well as the potential side effects of ashwagandha and how to use the herb.

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 reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels substantially.

Here's a look at what research has to say about Ashwagandha's benefits for men and their 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 Sex Drive

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's effect on testosterone levels may help increase sexual desire and drive.

Increased Fertility

Ashwagandha may help boost fertility in men. 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

Ashwagandha is frequently touted as a remedy for erectile dysfunction (ED), or the inability to get or sustain an erection.

While there is strong anecdotal evidence for this, the science is lacking. Very few studies have investigated the use of ashwagandha in treating ED. The existing research does not demonstrate much promise for this use of the herb.

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.

Side Effects of Ashwagandha 

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

  • Diarrhea 
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea 

Who Shouldn't Use Ashwagandha?

Do not take ashwagandha if any of the following apply to you:

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid condition
  • Autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scheduled for surgery or are recovering from a recent surgical procedure

Talk with your healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha. They will review your medical history and any medications/supplements you are taking to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Buying and Using Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha supplements are available 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.

Over-the-counter 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 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. 

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 low testosterone?

    Between 2 and 5 grams of ashwagandha per day may effectively 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. But whether that actually helps erectile dysfunction is uncertain.

  • How quickly does ashwagandha work?

    Ashwagandha is not a quick fix for erectile dysfunction. You need to take the herb for several weeks before you may notice an improvement in the quality of your erections.

  • Can you just stop taking ashwagandha?

    Ashwagandha is considered safe to take for up to 12 weeks. Withdrawal symptoms are not noted in the medical literature. However, given that the herb affects the body in a way similar to drugs that do cause such symptoms, this needs further investigation.

  • Can ashwagandha cause weight gain?

    No, ashwagandha should not cause weight gain. If anything, it may promote weight loss.

14 Sources
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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