Longevity doesn’t just apply to physical and mental health, but sexual health as well. Botanical herbs are nature’s way of ensuring a fulfilling sex life no matter your age. Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for 3000 years. It’s been shown to help fight everything from cancer to heart disease, but the most recent research points to ashwagandha as an aphrodisiac, particularly for females with low libidos.
A recent study published in BioMed Research International showed that a highly concentrated ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract improved sexual function in females. Researchers assessed 50 women diagnosed with female sexual dysfunction, which is an umbrella term for conditions such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, female sexual arousal disorder, female orgasmic disorder, and combined genital and subjective arousal disorder. The women were separated into two groups: 25 women received 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day with food, while the other 25 women were given a placebo.
Researchers measured the following indicators before the study, and at 4-week and 8-week intervals:
- Sexual function (including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain)
- Sexual distress
- Sexual activity
- Response to therapy
- Tolerance to therapy
Compared to the placebo group, the women supplementing with ashwagandha demonstrated improved sexual function scores as evidenced by increased arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction. The ashwagandha group also showed improvements in sexual distress and reported an increased number of sexual experiences.
Researchers theorize that ashwagandha beneficially impacts sexual health due to the herb’s anti-stress mechanisms. The stress hormone cortisol inhibits the sexual response, and ashwagandha lowers cortisol levels, thereby encouraging healthy sexual function. Ashwagandha may also counteract the effects of androgen deficiency syndrome, which is thought to contribute to a lack of sexual desire in women.
Ashwagandha has been shown to help increase testosterone levels, which influences sexual function in both men and women.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha isn’t just an aphrodisiac. It possesses potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer properties.
- Its antioxidant action offers neuroprotective benefit, thereby helping to boost memory and brain function.
- As an anti-inflammatory agent made up of saponins, alkaloids, and steroidal lactones, ashwagandha suppresses the inflammation-provoking enzyme cyclooxygenase, and in doing so reduces pain and inflammation.
- According to a study published in Alternative Medicine Review, ashwagandha exhibits cancer-killing properties and reduces the side effects of chemotherapy without interfering in chemo’s effectiveness.
Ashwagandha has also been shown to help:
- Increase energy
- Lower stress
- Treat male infertility
- Fight diabetes
- Alleviate arthritis
- Tackle the symptoms of asthma
- Heal hypertension
- Wipe out bacterial infections
Ashwagandha is available in powdered form (easily ingested as a tea), dried form, fresh root, or extract. Botanical herbs are powerful and should only be consumed under the supervision of a licensed healthcare practitioner.
Pregnant women should not take ashwagandha. Be aware that ashwagandha does interact with certain medications, particularly those that treat hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
High doses of ashwagandha may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or nausea.