Does ashwagandha have benefits for men?

Ashwagandha does appear to have benefits for men specifically. These tend to centralize around testicular health and fertility while the antistress effects affect both sexes.


Ashwagandha and men

Ashwagandha is a herb that is traditionally used as a 'male supplement' and touted to increase vitality and virility of men, and second to that it has been at times recommended as a testosterone booster. A common inquiry is that, if it only benefits men, then why?

It seems that ashwagandha can influence the testicles, and by doing so promote fertility (at least in men that have abnormally low fertility and sperm quality); this has been demonstrated in a few studies[1][2] and it isn't known if it increases semen quality of men who are otherwise fertile. In the men who do see benefits to fertility, however, there is an increase in testosterone which is known to benefit one's mood when it is low and then normalized.[3]

While women do indeed have testosterone and can gain benefits through it, this particular mechanism of ashwagandha may require testicles to work and thus provide a difference in benefits of the herb based on sexual organs.


Is it only for men?

While it does have benefits for men, ashwagandha does affect women as well.

While there are no studies on whether or not ashwagandha affects female fertility (nor any convincing reason why it should) the benefits to anxiety,[4] stress,[5] and cholesterol[6][7] have been found in studies where men and women were both enrolled. Furthermore, while the exact mechanisms of ashwagandha are not fully known, it is shown that they do not only work via the testicles but can influence the organs that both sexes share.


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References

  1. Mahdi AA, et al Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility . Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2009)
  2. Gupta A, et al Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: A proton NMR study at 800MHz . J Ethnopharmacol. (2013)
  3. Mayor S Testosterone may improve sexual function and mood in older men with low levels . BMJ. (2016)
  4. Andrade C, et al A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera . Indian J Psychiatry. (2000)
  5. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults . Indian J Psychol Med. (2012)
  6. Agnihotri AP, et al Effects of Withania somnifera in patients of schizophrenia: A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled pilot trial study . Indian J Pharmacol. (2013)
  7. Raut AA, et al Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers . J Ayurveda Integr Med. (2012)