Ashwagandha, also known as withania somnifera is a prominent herb in Ayurveda used for decreasing stress while restoring stamina and energy.
In Traditional Indian Medicine or Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is also known to enhance sexual virility and vitality. It is commonly recommend to men dealing with sexual dysfunction and other symptoms of declining testosterone levels.
Best of all, these traditional uses have recently been backed by a surprisingly large amount of scientific evidence.
How it Works?
Ashwangahda as a few mechanisms that contributes to its testosterone boosting, libido-boosting effects.
Starting off, studies have found that men who supplement KSM-66 Ashwgagandha have significantly greater increase in testosterone levels up to 95 %. This increase in testosterone also resulted in a significantly greater decrease in body fat percentage, significant increases in muscle strength on the bench-press exercise and a great reductions in exercise-induced muscle damage as indicated by the stabilization of serum creatine kinase - just some of the hallmark effects of optimal test levels. 1
Another way in which ashwagandha boosts testosterone levels is by inhibiting cortisol levels. Ashwagandha is known to have anti-stress effects, acting as an adaptogen herb. In study, it was found that ashwagandha reduced cortisol levels by as much as 30 percent. This is beneficial to test levels because cortisol can "steal pregenolone" causing a progesterone and therefore testosterone deficit In this way, ashwagandha indirectly, but powerfully boosts testosteorne levels. 2
Lastly, ashwagandha directly increases sex hormones and gonadotropins like testosterone, progesterone and luteinizing hormones. 3
The Science Explored
Now that we understand some of Ashwagandha's testosterone enhancing mechanisms, let's explore a few more studies that go to verify this fact.
One of the first studies to discover Ashwagandha's testosterone boosting effects was on sexually addicted. male rats. In the study, testosterone deficient mice where given an specific extract of Ashwgandha, known as KSM-66, and significant increase in sex steroid hormones was observed. 4
Not only did the extract increase testosterone around the range of 14-40%, it also improved in sperm quality and fertility.
The Bottom Line
If you are suffering with low testosterone levels, there may be many causes. Supplementing with a synthetic testosterone may not only be toxic, but does not address the root causes. However, ashwagandha supplementation has been clinically verified to be associated with significant increases in testosterone levels as well as many biomarkers of healthy T-levels like muscle mass, strength, and fertility levels. This strongly suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be useful for safely, and naturally optimizing testosterone levels.
Keep in mind that all of these studies were done using a strain-sepcific ashwagandha extract known as KSM-66.