Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub with some medicinal properties. While some people may recommend it for erectile dysfunction, there is no current evidence to support this.
Keep reading to find out more about the effectiveness of ashwagandha for ED, as well as the potential benefits and risks of taking it.
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, is a medicinal herb. It grows in India, the middle east, and certain parts of Africa.
The herb is becoming popular in the United States due to its potential health benefits, and as an ingredient in sports supplements to enhance endurance and fitness.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a person with a penis cannot get or maintain an erection to engage in sexual intercourse.
There are three main reasons for ED:
- Psychogenic: When the cause of ED is due to psychological reasons, such as anxiety, depression, guilt, or concerns regarding intimacy.
- Organic: Organic ED occurs due to physical problems relating to age or underlying health conditions.
- Mixed: This refers to ED due to a combination of psychogenic and organic factors.
Anecdotal evidence suggests ashwagandha could help people with ED achieve and maintain an erection.
However, there is currently no scientific research that demonstrates ashwagandha as a successful treatment for this condition.
In an older study of 95 males with psychogenic ED, some participants took ashwagandha root powder while others took a placebo. The researchers concluded there were no significant differences between the groups, meaning neither substance relieved ED.
The same research team repeated the study a few years later, only to find the same results.
As the same group performed these studies, more research is needed to definitively prove whether ashwagandha helps with ED.
Although ashwagandha may not help with ED, it does have proven benefits for other conditions. These include:
Testosterone deficiencies: Results from a study that examines ashwagandha’s effects in males aged 40–70 with overweight note it led to an increase in testosterone levels.
Knee pain: People with knee pain reported decreased pain and stiffness after taking ashwagandha.
It is usually safe for a person to take ashwagandha in small to medium doses. However, more research is necessary to examine the potential long-term side effects.
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not usually regulate Ayurvedic products such as ashwagandha. This means that these items can vary in quality, much more so than FDA-approved medicines and foods.
A person should speak with their doctor before they take ashwagandha supplements. Anecdotal evidence suggests the herb may exacerbate symptoms of diabetes, autoimmune diseases, or thyroid disorders. It may also interact with medications for these conditions.
To use ashwagandha products safely, people must always follow the dosage advice given by the manufacturer.
The most common ashwagandha products are pills or powders. People who take capsules usually take them with meals, while a person can add the powder to drinks or baked foods.
The dosage of ashwagandha in research examining its effects can vary. For example, one study investigating stress relief gave participants 240 mg of ashwagandha once a day. Another looked at muscle strength and recovery offered 300 mg of the herb twice a day.
If a person is unsure of how much ashwagandha to take, they should consult the product instructions or speak to a healthcare professional.
Certain triggers for organic ED mean that home remedies and potential supplements are unlikely to be effective. This is may be due to an underlying health condition. In these cases, a person will need to discuss treatment options with their doctor.
If a person experiences ED due to psychological or organic factors, such as age or overweight, they may want to try the following.
If a person’s ED is due to guilt, anxiety, or intimacy concerns, a sex therapist may be able to help.
Cock ring and penis pump
Cock rings can trap the blood in the penis to help people sustain an erection.
If a person cannot achieve an erection, a penis pump can help draw blood into the penis. People can use this device alongside a cock ring to attain and maintain an erection.
A 2017 article on ED treatment strategies without drugs or surgery suggests that penis sleeves may be a suitable method.
An external penile prosthetic, or penis sleeve, is a sex device that a person places over their penis. Research suggests they can help people with ED achieve orgasm.
An older study shows there is a possible link between obesity and ED. People with ED may therefore wish to maintain a moderate weight.
Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, is a medication that stimulates blood flow to the penis to help a person get an erection.
People should consult their doctor before they take medications for ED, such as Viagra or L-arginine.
Ashwagandha is a herb usually available in capsules or powder. Although anecdotal reports suggest it may help people with ED, there is no scientific evidence to support this.
A person with ED may want to discuss potential underlying causes with their doctor. If there is no underlying issue, a person can try alternative remedies for ED, such as Viagra or L-arginine.
Alternatively, if the trigger for ED is psychological, sex therapy may help.