In our book, Sex & Fertility: Natural Solutions, we describe the herb ashwgandha as a herb that “helps to restore sexual chi, or energy . . . . [that] is used for reduced levels of energy, including sexual energy, nervous tension, stress and anxiety.” We say that it is “especially useful for sexual problems that are related to nervous tension.” In the Ayurvedic tradition of healing, ashwagandha is used as an aphrodisiac.

Science has now added to the reproductive benefits of ashwagandha: it can improve sperm measures in infertile men. . . .



Low sperm count is a common cause of infertility in men. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study gave 46 infertile men either a placebo or 225mg of highly concentrated ashwagandha root extract a day for 3 months. The ashwagandha was standardized for at least 5% withanolide.

Sperm concentration improved by 167% versus 29% in the placebo group; sperm motility improved by 57% versus 9% in the placebo group; seman volume improved by 53% versus 20% in the placebo group. Testosterone went up by 17% in the ashwagandha group but by only 4% in the placebo group; lutenizing hormone went up by 34% in the ashwagandha group but by only 8% in the placebo group

The authors hypothesize that the improvements in sperm concentration and motility are due to the increase in testosterone (Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013;2013:571420).

A second study produced very similar results. In this study, 180 infertile men were given 5g of ashwagandha a day for 3 months. Sperm concentration, motility and free radical damage improved significantly. There were also substantial improvements in seminal plasma metabolites and enzymes. Testosterone and luteinizing hormone went up; folicle stimulating hormone and prolactin went down: all positive hormonal changes for fertility.

The authors concluded that ashwagandha “can be used as an alternative . . . therapy for the treatment . . . of male infertility” (J Ethnopharmacol 2013;149(1):208-214).


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