Ashwagandha root extract may boost testosterone levels, sexual function in men

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© eskymaks / Getty Images
© eskymaks / Getty Images

Related tags ashwagandha adaptogenic herbs adaptogens sexual wellness botanicals

Supplementation with the branded ashwagandha root extract KSM-66 may significantly increase testosterone levels and boost sexual function in men with lower sexual desire, says a new study.

Data published in the Health Science Reports​ indicated that eight weeks of supplementation with the ashwagandha root extract led to a 17% increase in serum testosterone, compared to a 2% increase in the placebo group.

“This clinical study clearly demonstrated that people who took the ashwagandha root extract had an 88.5% greater probability of improving the total DISF-M sexual health function score,” ​added the authors. ​DSIF-M refers to the derogatis interview for sexual functioning-male questionnaire.

“The ashwagandha root extract also increased their abilities to perform better in all the five DISF-M domains, such as sexual cognition, sexual arousal, sexual behavior, orgasm, and sexual desire,” ​they said.


According to a monograph from the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), the herb has a history of use in ayurvedic medicine that dates back as much as 4,000 years to the teaching of renowned scholar Punarvasu Atreya, and in subsequent works that make up the ayurvedic tradition. The name of the herb derives from Sanskrit, and means “smells like a horse”, which refers to the strong smell of the root which is said to be redolent of horse sweat or urine.

According to HerbalGram’s​ Herb Market Report, sales of herbal supplements with Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera​) hit $31.7 million in the US Mainstream Multi-Outlet Channel for 2020, an increase of 185% over the previous year. An additional $13.5 million in sales were reported from the Natural Channel (an decrease of 1.2% from 2019).

The study adds to the ever-growing body of data supporting the potential benefits of Ashwagandha, which already include supporting a healthy response to stress, cognitive function, sleep, metabolic wellness, adrenal function, sports performance, and more.

Study details

The new randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 50 men with lower sexual desire. The men had an average age of 35. Divided into two equal groups, the men were assigned to receive either 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract or placebo capsules twice daily for eight weeks.

Data revealed that, while testosterone levels increased significantly more in the ashwagandha group, no changes in prolactin levels were recorded in either group. Prolactin is a hormone that has been linked to erectile problems in men.

The DSIF-M questionnaire – a subjective self-assessment – revealed that men receiving the ashwagandha supplements had a 40% increase in total DISF-M scores, compared to 25% in the placebo group.

“This difference represents an 88.5% probability of superiority of the ashwagandha root supplement compared to the placebo,” ​stated the researchers.

“The findings of this study support ashwagandha root extract's aphrodisiac effect on sexual well-being in adult men. The mechanism by which ashwagandha helps to improve male sexual health could be due to an increase in serum testosterone,” ​they concluded.

Source: Health Science Reports
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/hsr2.741
“Effect of standardized root extract of ashwagandha (​Withania somnifera) on well-being and sexual performance in adult males: A randomized controlled trial”
Authors: S. Chauhan, et al.


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