Ashwaganda is increasingly becoming one of the most popular herbal supplements around the world, and it is no surprise given its remarkable health benefits. It is fairly well known in the world of men’s health.

Ashwagandha (latin name: Withania somnifera) has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and it is well-known for its rejuvenating and adaptogenic properties. It is effective in regulating hormones and the immune system, relieving stress, increasing energy levels and improving concentration.

Testosterone booster for men
Testosterone is mainly a male hormone, although it is also present in women at lower levels and is responsible for the same important health benefits. Levels of testosterone typically reduce with age, but it can also be affected by life.
The plant has been recognised for its fertility-boosting properties across multiple human studies. A study of 75 infertile men found those who supplemented with five grams of ashwagandha per day increased sperm count and motility and saw a significant increase in their T-levels. How? In reducing cortisol levels, ashwagandha shifts hormone production to anabolic hormones – including testosterone and DHEA.

Circumstances, such as chronic stress, at any age. Common signs of low testosterone include reduced sex drive, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat, loss of muscle and bone mass, and mood changes. Ashwagandha has gained a solid reputation for boosting testosterone, along with testosterone boosting foods for optimal results. Studies have shown that supplementation with ashwagandha in men led to a significant increase in testosterone levels, improved sperm quality, and higher antioxidant levels. In a recent study, overweight men aged 40-70, with mild fatigue, saw their levels of testosterone and DHEA (a testosterone precursor produced by the adrenal glands) significantly increase after taking an ashwagandha supplement for 8 weeks.

Reduces cortisol, a testosterone “stealer”
Cortisol, a stress hormone, is physiologically released in response to stress. This becomes problematic when stress is persistent and cortisol levels become chronically elevated. Both cortisol and testosterone are made from the same precursor in the body, therefore, if there is a high demand for cortisol it will have a negative impact on testosterone production. This explains how stress can affect your libido, energy, weight gain, and mood, as these are all health benefits of optimal testosterone levels. The good news is that ashwagandha can also reduce cortisol levels. A study showed that supplementation with the herb in chronically stressed adults significantly reduced their cortisol levels, compared to the control group. If you would like to discuss if cortisol is an issue and test your levels, please contact our naturopath.

Improves muscle mass and strength
Ashwagandha supplementation is also associated with an increase in muscle mass and strength. A clinical study with young men with little experience in resistance training, showed that taking ashwagandha daily for a period of 8 weeks combined with resistance training resulted in a significant increase in muscle mass and strength, when compared to the control group. In addition, subjects experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage, higher levels of testosterone and a greater decrease in body fat.

Clinical Studies on increased muscle mass and strength
Both the modern medical literature and traditional Ayurveda writings report many potential health benefits of the Ashwagandha herb (Withania somnifera, also known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry) under the rubrics of anti-stress effects, neuroprotective effects, immunomodulatory effects, and rejuvenating effects, via the herb's interplay with the nervous system, the endocrine system, the cardiopulmonary system, the energy production system and the immune system including analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, anti-diabetic, neuroprotective, immunoprotective and cardioprotective effects. This paper focuses on ashwagandha as an ergogenic aid and is the first to present the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on ashwagandha’s effects, as an adjuvant to a resistance training program, multifariously on muscle strength, muscle hypertrophy, muscle recovery and body composition. We add to the broader literature on ashwagandha’s effect on physical performance. This literature has only a small set of published papers, which is surprising because traditional Ayurveda explicitly advocates the use of ashwagandha toward “bala”, which means “strength” in the Sanskrit language.
Continue reading the clinical study

Soothes Anxiety and Stress
The key chemical ingredients in ashwagandha are withaferin A and withanolide A. These mimic GABA, an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter in your central nervous system and calms nervous activity, according to a rodent study by California State University.
And human studies have shown it can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. When researchers in India asked people with chronic stress to supplement with ashwagandha root, 69 per cent reported a reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared with 11 per cent in the control group.

Increases Brain Function and Memory
Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to boost memory in Ayurveda, “supported by research showing it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals”

Studies suggest it also has the power to improve other aspects of brain power. Adults who took 300mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily “significantly improved” general memory, task performance, and attention in one study. In a study of healthy men, the supplement brought about “significant improvements” in reaction time and task performance.