Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is one of the most well-known Ayurvedic herbs in the world and may offer benefits to infertility. One of the catalysts to infertility is stress. Stress can slow down a woman's reproductive system. By reducing the coristol Levels (stress hormone) the body is allowed to support the women's reproduction. Ashwagandha has been known to have positive effects on suppressing the deliverance of cortisol to the body giving itself a chance to allow proper function of the menstrual cycle, libido, and reproductive system. With all of the body's primary functions working, women will have better odds for proper fertility. (1)(2)
The use of ashwagandha has been used during pregnancy in Ayurvedic medicine. It was believed to give power, strength, and vitality to the mother and the fetus when taken in controlled portions. However, there are varied opinions on its use during pregnancy due to its ability to induce abortion in animals when given in very large doses. It is best to consult your doctor if you are pregnant and considering consuming Ashwagandha. (2)
Ashwagandha can enhance the endocrine system and enable the regulation of the thyroid and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for balancing the reproductive hormones and playing a very important role in the treatment of female infertility. Ashwagandha is also known to be very rich in iron. Females suffering from iron-deficient anemia might have problems with infertility and that may lead to miscarriages. (3)
Male infertility now accounts for around 50% of human infertility. The cause of male infertility is a number of cellular abnormalities manifesting at the molecular and biochemical levels. The result is a decreased quality and quantity of sperm in the semen. Ashwagandha has been described in Indian Ayurvedic medicine as the aphrodisiac. In some cases, it can be used to help with male sexual dysfunction and infertility. This study of the effects of ashwagandha on male infertility was performed to spike the spermatogenic activity of Ashwagandha root extract in oligospermic patients. (4)
There was a study that included 68 men with ages ranging from 22-40 years. In this study, twenty-one men in the group received 225 mg of encapsulated Ashwagandha root by mouth 3 times daily for 12 weeks. Another group of 25 men was given Placebo capsules that were taken orally 3 times per day. They were not allowed to take any other medication that would affect spermatogenesis during the study. (4)
The results of the study after 90 days were concluded by the participants who were given the ashwagandha root capsules to have increased the concentration of sperm from 9.6 to 25.6 corresponding to a 167% increase. (4)
The results of this study and the results of many similar studies are consistent in demonstrating that Ashwagandha improves sperm parameters in infertile men with hypogonadism. The statistically significant improvement in semen parameters, lack of adverse reactions and side effects, and not to mention the affordability in comparison to assisted reproductive techniques, should warrant consideration of Ashwagandha root as a naturopathic way to treat male infertility and more specifically when low testosterone or HPG dysregulation are contributory. (4)
Infertility can be affected by both males and females. Some of the contributing factors to infertility can be caused by stress, Hormone imbalance, and low testosterone to name a few. If you experience trouble with infertility, you may consider talking to your health professional to see if ashwagandha treatment would be right for you.