The Ashwagandha Testosterone Connection: The Ayurvedic Herb at a Glance
By Tyler Woodward
Very few people are familiar with the ashwagandha herb despite its well-documented benefits. In fact, its very name elicits a confused look. Among its many benefits, recent research revealed a strong ashwagandha testosterone connection. For men in their 30s and beyond, this is an herb that warrants your attention.
What Is Ashwagandha?:
Ashwagandha is an herb rooted in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. In Sanskrit, the name translates to “the smell of a horse.” The name was chosen because the herb is reportedly so powerful that it can restore the vitality of an aging stallion. You may also hear ashwagandha referred to by its formal — and equally difficult-to-pronounce — name: withania somnifera.
The herb is traditionally taken as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body relax in response to physical and emotional stressors. Its origin dates back to 5,000 years ago. Of course, the scientific research behind this potent tonic has only emerged in the past two decades or so. Nevertheless, the results validate the positive experiences felt by generations of people spanning from the days before Jesus and Buddha.
In centuries past and in modern times, people use ashwagandha for:
- Strengthening their immune system
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Joint inflammation
- Intestinal parasites
- Increasing testosterone
The Ashwagandha Testosterone Link:
In one study, men who received an ashwagandha supplement had significantly higher testosterone levels compared to the placebo group after an eight-week trial. That’s not all; subjects also engaged in strength training and had their performance and muscle mass gains measured. The ashwagandha group outperformed the placebo group in these following parameters:
- Greater strength gains in bench presses and leg extensions
- Increased muscle mass in the chest and arms
- Greater reduction in exercise-induced muscle damage
- Greater decrease in body fat percentage
This study is significant because not only did the trial show an increase in testosterone, but subjects also exhibited all the parameters associated with testosterone elevation.
Ashwagandha Lowers Cortisol
The ashwagandha testosterone link may also be indirect. One study found that ashwagandha reduced cortisol levels by as much as 30 percent. As you may know, cortisol is the dreaded stress hormone. We even dedicated an entire post on lowering cortisol naturally because it is that detrimental for your testosterone levels and health in general. It ranks up there with inflammation as being a major health destroyer.
Ashwagandha Promotes Sleep
Another indirect pathway ashwagandha raises testosterone is by promoting sleep. A Japanese study from the University of Tsukuba found that the herb significantly improved non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
The importance of sleep is incredible. When you don’t sleep well or only get a fraction of the recommended eight-hours, the effects are far more intense than a cranky morning. Your testosterone levels take a major dive. The inverse, by the way, is also true. Just as poor sleep causes low testosterone, low testosterone also leads to sleepless nights. It’s a vicious cycle where one feeds off the other, resulting in an endless loop that goes on indefinitely until you take corrective action.
Ashwagandha Improves Sex Drive
Improved libido is one of the commonly reported positive effects of a testosterone boost. Another study confirmed that ashwagandha supplementation increased gonadotropin, a hormone needed for testosterone production. The gonadotropin also elevated levels of progesterone (a precursor of testosterone). Low progesterone levels have also been linked to diminished libido.
With all this talk on ashwagandha and testosterone, one would suspect the herb is mainly used for treating male problems. This is untrue, however. One study revealed ashwagandha was effective for treating female sexual dysfunction.
Where To Get Ashwagandha:
It’s unlikely you’ll find ashwagandha in root or herbal form in western countries. This is where supplementation comes in. It’s actually not uncommon to find ashwagandha as an active ingredient in natural testosterone supplements for men. In fact, it’s a core ingredient in our own Testro-X. Of course, you’ll also find ashwagandha as a standalone supplement.
In any case, if you’re seeking out this herb, we recommend looking for the designation KSM-66. This essentially means the product contains the highest concentration full-spectrum extract. In other words, it retains most of its constituents. It also has a withanolide concentration of 5 percent or higher. Withanolides refer to a class of over 300 naturally-occurring flavonoids, which attribute to many of ashwagandha’s benefits.
We recommend researching even further and determine the precise testing method. Try to verify if the withanolide content is tested using the trustworthy HPLC analysis. This produces far more accurate results over the less reliable and outdated gravimetric analysis. You don’t need to understand precisely how each method works. Just know that gravimetric measurements can overestimate withanolide content by a factor as high as three.
Ashwagandha Is a Proven T-Boosting Herb:
Ashwagandha certainly doesn’t have the name recognition of more prominent herbs like ginseng, ginger or lavender. However, relative obscurity doesn’t equate to ineffectiveness. The ashwagandha testosterone connection is very real. This is why we firmly stand behind this compound as one of the best, albeit unknown, natural testosterone supplements for men.
Citations and Sources
1. Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha S, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:43. [PubMed]
2. Rahmati B, Ghosian M, Khalili M, Enayati E, Maleki M, Rezaeei S. Effect of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal on Sex Hormone and Gonadotropin Levels in Addicted Male Rats. Int J Fertil Steril. 2016;10(2):239-244. [PMC]
3. Dongre S, Langade D, Bhattacharyya S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:284154. [PMC]