Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is a versatile herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Increased testosterone and sperm count, improved erectile dysfunction and improved sexual desire are some of the purported benefits of Ashwagandha for men.

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen because it is believed to help the body adapt and deal with stress. Although some research supports most of the benefits of Ashwagandha for men, this is not the case for erectile dysfunction.

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

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Men’s Health Benefits

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

Here’s a look at what the research has to say about the benefits of Ashwagandha for men and their sexual health.

Boost testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone in men that is associated with libido. It also affects how men store body fat, bone and muscle mass, and sperm production.

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase 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 reduced fatigue.

Another study found that men taking ashwagandha during a weightlifting program had five times higher testosterone levels than men who didn’t take the supplement, improving both muscle mass and strength.

Improved libido

Ashwagandha has aphrodisiac qualities, increasing sexual desire.

Ongoing stress is a common cause of low libido and poor sexual performance. Research shows that ashwagandha provides stress relief, which can affect libido and the ability to relax enough to increase desire and pleasure.

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

Increase in fertility

Ashwagandha can help boost fertility in men. Research shows that ashwagandha is effective in increasing both sperm count and sperm motility (movement) in men with infertility.

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

Dyserection

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

Although there is strong anecdotal evidence for this, the science is lacking. Very few studies have investigated the use of ashwagandha in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Existing research does not show much promise for this use of the herb.

One study aimed to use ashwagandha to improve psychogenic erectile dysfunction, a type of erectile dysfunction associated with concerns about sexual performance and sexual anxiety. The results showed that ashwagandha provided no relief.

Another follow-up study confirmed the same findings that ashwagandha appears to offer no benefit in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Ashwagandha Side Effects

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

  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Who should not use Ashwagandha?

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

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid status
  • autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scheduled for surgery or are recovering from recent surgery

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

Buy and use Ashwagandha

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

Over-the-counter ashwagandha products are available in doses ranging from 150 milligrams to 2 grams. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right dosage for you, depending on what you plan to take it for.

Ashwagandha is traditionally taken as a powder mixed with honey, milk or tea. The herb has a bitter taste, which is why some people choose to take it in capsule form.

Take ashwagandha with food to avoid stomach upset.

When buying ashwagandha, look for products that are sourced from organic ashwagandha and made with non-GMO ingredients. Reputable vendors will come with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) showing that 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, especially 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 erectile dysfunction.

Talk with your doctor before using ashwagandha because it may interact with other medications you are currently taking.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best ashwagandha dosage for low testosterone?

    Between 2 and 5 grams of ashwagandha per day can effectively increase 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 it actually helps erectile dysfunction is uncertain.

  • How fast does ashwagandha work?

    Ashwagandha is not a magic bullet for erectile dysfunction. You need to take the herb for several weeks before you 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, since the herb affects the body in a similar way to drugs that cause such symptoms, this requires further investigation.

  • Can ashwagandha make you gain weight?

    No, ashwagandha should not make you fat. On the contrary, it can promote weight loss.