Ashwagandha Health Benefits For Women & Men | Ancient Ayurvedic Herb
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Oct 16, 2020
Ashwagandha has emerged as one of the most popular of all Ayurvedic herbal supplements in recent years. It is primarily used as a bodybuilding supplement for muscle growth, but the benefits of ashwagandha are much wider. The herb, which is classified as a rasayana or rejuvenator in Ayurvedic medicine has been used for millennia. However, its diverse therapeutic applications have only emerged in recent years. So, while you may have heard of the health benefits of ashwagandha for men and bodybuilders or athletes, you’ve only scratched the surface.
In the world of natural medicine, ashwagandha uses have expanded greatly and it is regarded not just as a bodybuilding supplement, but also as a natural immune booster, weight loss aid, adaptogen, and so on. We’ll take a closer look at some of the proven ashwagandha health benefits, especially in the context of male and female wellness.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Men
Improves Vitality and Sex Drive
The best known feature of ashwagandha is its testosterone boosting effect. This is known to help with muscle gain and fitness, but it also plays an important role in men’s sexual health and general health.
Testosterone levels in men are known to fall in men as a result of aging. This is associated with reduced sexual function and sex drive. At times, this can also affect younger men. In all of these cases, the testosterone boost from ashwagandha can help.
This is one of the reasons why ashwagandha supplementation improves sex drive and energy levels in men.
Helps Relieve Male Sexual Dysfunction
Male sexual dysfunction has become increasingly widespread and can adversely affect your relationships and self-confidence and self-esteem. For most men, the causes of erectile dysfunction are psychosomatic – this means that psychological factors like stress are most responsible.
As an adaptogenic herb that can lower stress and cortisol levels, ashwagandha is uniquely suited to relieve this problem. Studies have in fact shown that ashwagandha supplementation can improve performance, especially in men who are dealing with psychogenic erectile dysfunction.
Improves Male Infertility
While improvements in sex drive and sexual function are associated with the well-known benefits of ashwagandha – testosterone boosting and adaptogenic properties, it can also improve fertility levels in men. We just don’t understand how it does so.
Studies have shown that ashwagandha supplementation can cause an increase in sperm count and motility, which are essential for fertility. These improvements are observed in both fertile and infertile men.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
Helps Cope with Menopause
Menopause can come as sweet relief to some women, especially those who’ve struggled with bad PMS every month. Unfortunately, for many women it can bring its own set of problems with uncomfortable menopause symptoms like hot flashes, headaches, sleep problems, mood changes, and so on.
Because of ashwagandha’s long association with men’s wellness it is easy to overlook the potential benefits of ashwagandha for women. However, researchers have found that supplements containing ashwagandha can help improve quality of life in menopausal women, reducing the severity and duration of symptoms.
Improves Sexual Function
Ashwagandha has long been used as a natural aphrodisiac in Ayurved, but most people don’t realize that it can work in this manner for women, not just men. Sexual dysfunction is exceedingly common in women, with low libido, lack of orgasms, and poor lubrication making sex painful. Once again, ashwagandha can help in all regards.
A study that appeared in BioMed Research International observed improvements in all of these parameters among women who were put on ashwagandha supplements. The dosage strength was 300 mg and ashwagandha capsule benefits (in terms of improved arousal, orgasms, and lubrication) were visible within 8 weeks.
Boosts Fertility Levels
Infertility problems were uncommon some decades ago, especially in India. With our urban lifestyles and increased exposure to pollution this situation has changed and infertility is a growing problem. Ashwagandha has been shown to benefit women in this area too.
Traditional Ayurvedic formulations with ashwagandha for women’s fertility are now supported with some clinical evidence. As indicated in some studies, ashwagandha extract improves luteinizing hormone and follicular stimulating hormone balance. Additionally, adaptogenic effects can also lower stress, which is known to affect fertility.
Ashwagandha Health Benefits Overview
As pointed out, the health benefits of ashwagandha are not limited to male or female wellness and sexual function. Here’s a very brief overview of some of the proven benefits:
- In addition to promoting muscle gains, ashwagandha supplementation has been shown to improve body fat reduction when used with exercise.
- It can help lower blood sugar levels, enhancing protection against diabetes.
- Ashwagandha can lower cortisol levels and is effective at relieving stress, anxiety, and depressive disorders.
- Ashwagandha has been shown to increase natural killer cell activity, enhancing protection against infections and making it a staple ingredient in the best Ayurvedic medicines for immunity.
- The herb is regarded as cardio-protective because of its anti-inflammatory and lipid regulating effects, both of which have a role to play in heart disease.
- Research has also shown that ashwagandha’s antioxidants can protect against cognitive decline and dementia associated with aging and brain injuries.
- It may offer some cancer protection by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the body.
If you are considering ashwagandha supplementation, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. It is considered safe when used in the appropriate dosage. If you suffer from any preexisting condition and are taking other medications, you should first speak to your doctor. Because of the risk of contamination and low quality products it is also advisable that you only opt for Ayurvedic and herbal supplements from reputed brands.
- Mamidi, Prasad, and A B Thakar. “Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal. Linn.) in the management of psychogenic erectile dysfunction.” Ayu vol. 32,3 (2011): 322-8. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.93907
- Ahmad, Mohammad Kaleem et al. “Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males.” Fertility and sterility vol. 94,3 (2010): 989-96. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.046
- Modi, Mansi B et al. “Clinical evaluation of Ashokarishta, Ashwagandha Churna and Praval Pishti in the management of menopausal syndrome.” Ayu vol. 33,4 (2012): 511-6. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.110529
- Dongre, Swati et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study.” BioMed research international vol. 2015 (2015): 284154. doi:10.1155/2015/284154
- Nasimi Doost Azgomi, Ramin et al. “Effects of Withania somnifera on Reproductive System: A Systematic Review of the Available Evidence.” BioMed research international vol. 2018 4076430. 24 Jan. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/4076430