Ashwagandha for sex: is it good?
Low libido, hormone imbalances, and arousal issues have sent many seeking out remedies to help relieve these bedroom frustrations. With drug recalls, adverse side effects, and the desire for better health and well-being, many have turned to plants and herbs for centuries to help improve sex and intimacy.
This article will help you learn more about ashwagandha and whether or not it’s suitable for sex.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an herb from the Solanaceae family grown in Yemen, India, and Nepal. It’s an adaptogenic herb, which means it promotes health by helping your body resist the damages of stress and disease. Though it’s scientifically known as Withania somnifera, its other names are winter cherry and Indian ginseng.
Ashwagandha is famous for its use in anxiety relief, difficulty concentrating, adrenal fatigue, and stress management [source]. For 3000 years, it has been a highly sought-after herbal remedy [source].
The bioactive compounds inside ashwagandha include alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins, which are responsible for ashwagandha’s health benefits [source][source]. Bioactive compounds like these are antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer, and help protect health [source].
Benefits of ashwagandha for sex
It may combat stress
Many believe that if you’re stressed out, you should simply have sex. But for others, it’s just not that easy. Research has found that stress negatively impacts sexual activity [source]. Men and women may feel less motivated to have sex when stress hits. Not being able to perform well when your partner wants to play can lead to even more stress and even depression.
Ashwagandha has traditional use as a stress relief remedy.
In a 2019 study, 60 adults took daily doses of ashwagandha extract or a placebo for two months. Taking ashwagandha reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and increased testosterone in men [source]. Multiple studies have confirmed that ashwagandha has healthy benefits to stress because it lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can wreak havoc when too high or low [source][source].
Ashwagandha may boost sex hormones
If you’re over 30, your testosterone levels begin to take a slow dip of 1% each year [source]. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that needs to stay at healthy levels for good sexual function. Though it’s mainly associated with males, females also have testosterone.
A 2016 animal study found that rats with poor functioning sex hormones had increases in estrogen and testosterone after eating ashwagandha for three weeks [source]. In addition, studies report that ashwagandha may increase testosterone levels in women, which helps female sexual dysfunction [source].
It might enhance reproductive health in men
In a 2018 study, 100 men with fertility problems were split into two groups⸺one taking ashwagandha capsules and the other taking a prescription drug. The study reported that the ashwagandha improved sperm count by 12.5%, sperm movement by 21%, and sperm structure by 25.5% (source).
Furthermore, recent research studied 75 infertile 75 fertile men who took ashwagandha powder every day for three months. The results showed that the herb improved sperm count and sperm movement and helped improve vitamin E, C, and A levels, which can help promote fertility [source].
Ashwagandha may cause sexual breakthroughs in women
Many women struggle with sexual dysfunction, whether struggling to achieve orgasms or battling low sex drives. A 2015 study split 50 women with sexual dysfunction into two groups⸻one, one taking ashwagandha capsules and the other receiving a placebo for eight weeks.
Compared to the placebo group, the women taking the ashwagandha saw significant improvements in arousal, orgasm, lubrication and had more successful sexual experiences [source].
Is ashwagandha good for sex?
Studies show that ashwagandha helps reduce stress, a major factor in couples' sexual arousal, desire, and enjoyment. It’s also clear that the adaptogenic herb may boost sex hormones which helps combat sexual dysfunction and helps sex to be more satisfying. Taking ashwagandha was positively associated with improved reproductive health in men and helped women reclaim their sexual health by improving arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and sexual experiences.
Though more research on ashwagandha is needed, there’s evidence that it’s good for sex. Is ashwagandha good for sex? Yes.
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Gaby McPherson MS, RDN, LDN
Gaby is a full-time freelance writer, specializing in evidence-based health, nutrition, and wellness articles, as well as creating engaging content for health brands. Her clients have been Healthline, Ovia Health, Happiest Baby, Once Upon a Farm, EatingWell, and more. She’s very passionate about reproductive and family health. When she’s not writing, Gaby spends her free time dancing to the Encanto soundtrack with her beautiful preschooler.