Ashwagandha is a highly valued herb in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine and it has been used for thousands of years for a wide variety of conditions. Ashwagandha is prized for its stimulating effects on fertility. Let’s take a look at four ways ashwagandha contributes to male fertility.
Improve Your Body’s Response to Stress
Stress can interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm. Severe or prolonged emotional stress can affect your sperm count. Ashwagandha demonstrates remarkable stress and anxiety-relieving properties. It’s known as an adaptogen, meaning it provides the body with what it needs to adapt to physical and psychological stressors. Plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the body’s functions even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use. This contributes to enhancing overall vitality and health. Most adaptogens are stimulating, but ashwagandha is unique because it’s calming and restorative. This makes it effective for a wide range of stress and immune-related fertility issues.
Infertility can result from an abnormality affecting other hormonal systems including the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. A study of mice given ashwagandha root extract for twenty days showed a significant increase in T4 hormone, indicating that ashwagandha has a stimulatory effect on the thyroid gland. Along with ashwagandha’s antioxidant activity, this makes ashwagandha a potentially useful tool in the natural treatment of hypothyroidism.
Ashwagandha is rich in antioxidants which seek and destroy the free radicals implicated in aging and numerous disease states. Antioxidant levels play a critical role in the health of not only all of the cells that make up the body, but those of sperm and egg health as well. Increasing antioxidant levels has been shown to improve sperm and egg health.
One study compared the parameters of men’s semen at baseline and after taking ashwagandha for 90 days. The average sperm concentration rose corresponding to a 167% increase in sperm concentration in the men treated with ashwagandha root. Take a look at a summary of the study here.
As you can see, ashwagandha covers many key areas that play a role in reproductive health.
Ashwagandha is a tonifying herb that may need time to build up and taken long term. Taking it once, you probably won’t feel it. It will take time. I recommend taking it daily to obtain the desired effect. I have found around 3 grams (½ teaspoon) is a good amount mixed in warm milk. Please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss whether Ashwagandha is right for you.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods