Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition. In the United States, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that 30 million men are affected by ED.
Although ED approved medications like Caverta available, several people may choose to use natural methods and herbal supplements. Ashwagandha, a herb that’s used in Ayurvedic medicine, is one such supplement that you might have heard of.
The current scientific evidence does not support its use for ED, while ashwagandha may have some potential health benefits, including for male sexual health.
To learn more about ashwagandha and ED, as well as the possible benefits and side effects of the herbal, keep reading.
What are the traditional and current uses of ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is used as a Rasayana, or a type of therapeutic preparation that is used to improve general health, increase energy levels, and promote longevity, in Ayurvedic medicine.
Ashwagandha is considered a herb or aphrodisiac used to improve sexual desire, enjoyment, or performance. Although scientific evidence does not support the use of the herb for ED, low libido may be effective.
Ashwagandha has also been used in traditional medicine for:
- skin conditions like boils and ulcers
- parasitic worms
- snake bites
- enhancing fertility
What benefits does ashwagandha bring?
There has been clinical research conducted on the possible health benefits of ashwagandha. But a lot of this study has been performed on animals or in a test tube (in vitro).
While further analysis is needed, current results indicate that ashwagandha can do the following:
- reduce inflammation
- ease pain
- boost energy
- decrease stress or anxiety
- improve sleep
- enhance memory
- lower blood sugar
- inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells
Is there research for ED on Ashwagandha?
Overall, there has been a very small amount of research on the effectiveness of using ashwagandha for ED. Let ‘s discuss what so far it means.
A 2002 study looked at the effect that an extract of ashwagandha had over a week on male rats. The researchers found that increased ED as well as lower sex drive and efficiency were actually experienced by the rats.
A 2011 study examined the use of ashwagandha for a particular type of ED called psychogenic ED, which is mainly correlated with sexual distress and sexual performance issues.
In the analysis, for 60 days, 86 males with psychogenic ED received either ashwagandha or a placebo. Overall, ashwagandha offered no more relief than a placebo for ED. These results were verified by a 2014 follow-up study by the same research group.
Ayurveda and ED
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical practice that combines natural therapies with dietary and lifestyle practices. By achieving harmony in the environment and the mind, body, and spirit, it helps to cultivate wellbeing and longevity.
Vajikarana and ED
In Ayurveda, eight different realms exist. A particular field of health focuses on each domain. Conditions such as ED are addressed under Vajikarana ‘s domain, which focuses on sexual health and reproduction.
A variety of formulations that aim to improve sexual function are used by Vajikarana. These formulations may have a number of various natural ingredients and are thought to function by working on the hypothalamus and limbic system of the brain.
Ashwagandha can be used in certain Vajikarana formulations. The following are more examples of plants that may be used in Vajikarana:
- Saccharum officinarum, a kind of sugarcane
- Piper longum, a variety of pepper
- Mucuna pruriens, a tropical bean
- Asparagus racemosus, a variety of asparagus
- Pueraria tuberosa, a type of kudzu
Other ED supplements
Other herbal supplements that may be helpful for ED are available. These include Ginseng Panax and Yohimbe Pausinystalia. In order to show evidence of their efficacy, side effects, and protection, further research is needed.
What is ashwagandha?
In India and Southeast Asia, ashwagandha is a type of herb that grows naturally. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s also used.
Ashwagandha, called Indian ginseng, or winter cherry, can also be seen. Withania somnifera is its scientific name.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the root of the plant is usually used. The leaves and flowers can, however, be used as well.
Ashwagandha extracts may have as many as 35 different chemical components. A particular active ingredient has not been determined so far.
Does ashwagandha have side effects?
Ashwagandha is considered to be healthy overall. Some of the side effects of ashwagandha that are widely mentioned include:
- nausea and vomiting
- skin rash
Such side effects that are less common are:
- giddiness or hyperactivity
- dry mouth
- stuffy nose
- decreased appetite
Who should avoid taking ashwagandha?
Before using ashwagandha, talk to your doctor if you have:
Diabetes. Ashwagandha can lower sugar levels in the blood.
hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Ashwagandha can increase thyroid hormone levels.
Stop taking ashwagandha if you have the following:
Are pregnant or breastfeeding. Ashwagandha can be harmful to a developing fetus in high doses. There are no studies available at present on the protection of ashwagandha during breastfeeding.
Are taking sedatives. Since ashwagandha itself is often used as a sedative, if you are taking drugs such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or anticonvulsants, stop using it.
They have prostate hormone-sensitive cancer. The levels of the hormone testosterone in the body may increase with Ashwagandha.
What to know when looking for ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is traditionally prepared as a powder. Then you will make the tonic you would drink with this powder.
You will also today see ashwagandha offered as an oral pill or tablet. Some can prefer to take ashwagandha one or three times a day; however, precise guidelines for dosing differ with the product.
Ashwagandha is a herb used as an ingredient of Ayurvedic medicine. Studies have shown that it can have many health advantages, such as reducing anxiety, encouraging better sleep, and reducing inflammation.
Though ashwagandha is considered an aphrodisiac, there is currently no scientific research supporting its use in ED.
Generally speaking, Ashwagandha is healthy and has a few significant side effects. If you consider ashwagandha as a supplement, before using it, discuss its possible benefits and risks with your doctor.