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Is Ashwagandha an all-natural Aphrodisiac?

We know that as an adaptogen, ashwagandha can have a significant impact on managing stress by lowering our cortisol levels. We also know that stress can adversely affect sexual function in both males + females. So can this herb, rooted in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, be used to improve our overall sexual health? There have been a growing number of studies, a few summarized below, that prove the efficacy of this natural herb on the reproductive systems of both men and women.

♂ As men age, testosterone decreases.  Aside from lowering their sex drive and impacting muscle growth, other clinical implications include decreased bone mineral density. There is a growing body of research on ashwagandha supplementation for men's sexual health.

  • Study 1: Looking at the hormonal and vitality effects of ashwagandha in Males, saw a signifiant increase in testosterone.
  • In a 16 week controlled study with 57 men taking ashwagandha, the result was 14.7% greater increase in testosterone and 18% greater increase in DHEA-S. 
  • Study 2: Evaluating the use of ashwagandha to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility.
  • In this 90-day study, 46 infertile men were assigned to take the placebo or 675 mg of a high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract daily for 12 weeks.
  • The ashwagandha group saw notable and statistically significant increase in sperm concentration, sperm volume, and seminal motility, compared with the baseline group. 

♀ Healthy women can experience varying degrees of sexual dysfunction, where there are orgasm disorders and sexual difficulties, throughout their adult lives.

  • While ashwagandha is known to improve the body's physical and psychological condition, there are some fascinating studies that prove its efficacy improving sexual function in women.
  • In this pilot study, that looked specifically at ashwagandha improving women's sexual function, 50 (healthy) women with sexual dysfunction were allocated to take either 600 mg of ashwagandha (5% withanolides) or a placebo, daily for 8 weeks.
  • The results indicate that the group who supplemented with ashwagandha saw significant improvement, relative to the placebo group, on ratings of arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction. 

So maybe it's been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for 4000 years for reasons beyond just stress and anxiety ;). And perhaps Ashwagandha is the all-natural aphrodisiac we could all use a little more of.

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