A recent study suggests that taking Ashwagandha might benefit men with fertility problems.
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for hundreds of years. Traditional uses include reducing stress and promoting normal body functions.
In a recent small study, researchers randomly assigned 46 men with low sperm count to take 675 milligrams of Ashwagandha root extract or placebo in three doses daily for 90 days.
The researchers found that at the end of the 90 days, the men taking Ashwagandha has a 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume and a 57% increase in sperm movement compared to the beginning of the study. The men in the placebo group only had small improvements for these measurements.
The authors concluded that these findings support the traditional Ayurvedic use of Ashwanghanda to increase sperm count in men. Larger-scale studies are needed to further assess these findings.
In addition to Ashwagandha, many other integrative therapies have been studied for their potential to improve male infertility. Evidence suggests that carnitine and/or acetyl-L-carnitine may increase sperm movement and pregnancy rates. However, evidence is limited and more research is needed to determine appropriate dosing and duration.
Ambiye VR, Langade D, Dongre S, Aptikar P, Kulkarni M, Dongre A. "Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study" Journal of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013;2013:571420