If infertile men take one capsule containing Ashwagandha – Latin name Withania somnifera – every day for a couple of months, their testosterone level rises by 17 percent and their sperm cell concentration increases by 167 percent. Doctors at Mahalaxmi Clinic in Mumbai, India write about it in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The reports from India will not be a complete surprise to faithful readers of this modest web magazine. They already knew that 5 g Ashwaganda a day boosts testosterone levels by forty percent in human studies, and that animal studies have shown that Ashwaganda even has an anabolic effect. [J Ethnopharmacol. 1994 Dec;44(3):131-5.]
The most important active ingredients in Ashwagandha are withanolides, a few of which are shown above.
The extract that the researchers used was KSM-66 Ashwagandha, produced by the Indian company Ixoreal Biomed. KSM-66 Ashwagandha consists of 5 percent withanolide.
The 25 men in the experimental group took 1 capsule a day containing 225 mg extract for a period of 90 days. A control group of 21 men took a placebo.
During the 90 days the amount of sperm cells per ml increased by 167 percent in the experimental group. The amount of sperm increased by half, and the sperm motility increased by 60 percent.
The testosterone level of experiment group increased by 17 percent and the LH level by 34 percent in the same period.
The sperm quality and hormone levels also improved in the control group, but not as much as in the experimental group.
“Ashwagandha amplifies the body’s ability to self-regulate its key systems, thereby achieving its effects in a more natural and safe way”, says Kartikeya Baldwa, the director of Ixoreal Biomed in an interview with NutraIngredients-USA.com. [nutraingredients-usa.com 23-May-2014]
“The effect of ashwagandha on testosterone production is similarly integrative and organic. We should not expect KSM-66 to produce substantial testosterone increases in males with already very high testosterone levels or in females, because such increases would be counter to the natural state of balance in such individuals. Indeed, pilot data for another clinical study in progress indicate that KSM-66’s effect on testosterone in females is not substantial.”
Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been described in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac that can be used to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility. This pilot study was conducted to evaluate the spermatogenic activity of Ashwagandha root extract in oligospermic patients. Forty-six male patients with oligospermia (sperm count < 20?million/mL semen) were enrolled and randomized either to treatment (n = 21) with a full-spectrum root extract of Ashwagandha (675?mg/d in three doses for 90 days) or to placebo (n = 25) in the same protocol. Semen parameters and serum hormone levels were estimated at the end of 90-day treatment. There was a 167% increase in sperm count (9.59 ± 4.37 × 10(6)/mL to 25.61 ± 8.6 × 10(6)/mL; P < 0.0001), 53% increase in semen volume (1.74 ± 0.58 mL to 2.76 ± 0.60?mL; P < 0.0001), and 57% increase in sperm motility (18.62 ± 6.11% to 29.19 ± 6.31%; P < 0.0001) on day 90 from baseline. The improvement in these parameters was minimal in the placebo-treated group. Furthermore, a significantly greater improvement and regulation were observed in serum hormone levels with the Ashwagandha treatment as compared to the placebo. The present study adds to the evidence on the therapeutic value of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), as attributed in Ayurveda for the treatment of oligospermia leading to infertility.
PMID: 24371462 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3863556