Does Ashwagandha Increase Testosterone?

Ashwagandha is one of the most commonly used herbs in Indian medicine. It has a number of benefits associated with its use. One of the most commonly associated benefits is increased testosterone, but how effective is Ashwagandha, and does it actually have any effect on testosterone? Let’s find out:

What Is Ashwagandha?

There are many different names that Ashwagandha goes by. Withania Somnifera is the scientific term, but it is also known as Indian Ginseng. It is called Ashwagandha in Indian because Ashwa means horse and gandha means smell. Apparently, it smells strongly of horse! There are a lot of studies that look into the effectiveness of Ashwagandha but they are often not particularly good studies. Because of this it is difficult to say whether a benefit truly exists or not. Some benefits seem to be better backed up by science than others. Regardless, this plant has been a popular medicine in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

Does Ashwagandha Increase Testosterone?

To be clear, there have only been a handful of studies on whether Ashwagandha increases testosterone or not. The most well-known study in this area was done on rats rather than people. There just isn’t enough evidence either way to say for sure.
  • A study on (diabetic) rats [1] was published in the International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine in 2009. It found that Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) led to an increase in testosterone, progesterone, and luteinizing hormone.
There have been a few studies with humans instead of rats. Most of these studies have been on men who suffer from infertility. Why does this matter? Often, men who are infertile suffer from very low testosterone and therefore respond to testosterone boosters in a way that fertile men don’t.
  • A 2010 study by Ahmad et al found that Ashwagandha led to increases in testosterone and Luteinizing Hormone in men suffering from infertility [2].
  • A 2009 study by Mahdi et al found that Ashwagandha helped improve semen quality in men with stress-related fertility issues [3].
  • A 2015 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at fertile men [4]. The study found that Ashwagandha increased testosterone, and was “associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength”.
This last study is perhaps the most interesting. The previous studies all had a big asterisk next to them as they were on infertile men. After reviewing the evidence, it appears that Ashwagandha has a positive effect on testosterone. More evidence using humans is definitely needed, but the studies that we do have seem to point to a small yet significant improvement.

Other Benefits Of Ashwagandha

Despite the fact that Ashwagandha is often used in testosterone boosters, it is for another reason that Ashwagandha is so popular in Indian medicine. There is a decent amount of scientific evidence that it can reduce anxiety.
  • A 2012 study by Chandrasekhar et al found that Ashwagandha root led to reduced stress and anxiety [5].
  • Other studies have seen a significant decrease in cortisol.
This is interesting because high cortisol levels can lead to reduced testosterone. Could it be that the calming effect of Ashwagandha could be responsible for the increase in testosterone reported by the studies we looked at earlier? This comes with:
  • Lowered stress
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • A reduction in depression (often related to anxiety)
  • And a reduction in fatigue.
It appears that there is evidence that Ashwagandha can help men to boost testosterone, reduce anxiety, stress, and improve mood. There may also be an improvement in cholesterol.

Final Thoughts On Ashwagandha For Testosterone

On the surface, Ashwagandha looks like a seriously good supplement ingredient. It does appear to increase testosterone as well as function as an effective anxiety treatment. There are people posting positive reviews about it too: Ashwagandha is often found in testosterone boosting supplements and rightfully so. There is definitely enough evidence to justify its inclusion which is why all of the top test boosters on the market seem to contain it. If you are suffering from low testosterone, anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, or elevated cortisol, then Ashwagandha is definitely worth a try.
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