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Ashwagandha: the 3,000-year-old testosterone booster

In Ayurveda, the word ojas denotes vitality and stamina, especially in men. In modern medicine, testosterone is recognized as the primary androgen, i.e., the hormone of maleness. The link between these two is becoming increasingly clear through research. And ayurvedic medicines like ashwagandha that increase ojas are undoubtedly linked to testosterone levels.

Ashwagandha (or Withania somnifera in scientific nomenclature) loosely translates to “horse essence ” indicating that it gives you horse-like power. Ashwagandha supplements are available as capsules, tablets, or even in its powdered form to be consumed with milk or honey. In ayurvedic theory, the root (mula) of ashwagandha belongs to Rasayana and balya, the strength-enhancing and rejuvenating categories of medicines respectively. As the demand for strength and stamina supplements increases, ashwagandha is an excellent natural choice.

The research behind the efficacy of ashwagandha is limited but promising. Studies have found significantly increased testosterone levels in subjects who took ashwagandha capsules over the control groups that received a placebo. Other studies that measured strength in weight training and bodybuilding found that ashwagandha may even boost muscle formation and body strength. What’s more, the side effects experienced were no different from the placebo groups. This means that ashwagandha is not linked to any specific side effects apart from gastric discomfort in a small percentage of participants. Of course, consumption must be moderate. The short- and long-term effects of excess ashwagandha consumption are not known.

Why is this even more relevant now? Modern urban lifestyles have caused an epidemic of problems. Infertility, lack of libido (sex drive), poor sexual stamina and erectile dysfunction are rampant. One can see fertility clinics and sexologist clinics mushrooming across major Indian cities. But bringing testosterone levels within the optimum range (300 to 1,000 nanograms per decilitre) can address most of these issues in men. Consuming testosterone directly or taking erectile dysfunction pills like sildenafil (Viagra) is risky and requires medical supervision. Ashwagandha supplements, on the other hand, can be a self-administered first line of treatment.

As with many ayurvedic medicines, ashwagandha treats a range of issues. Concepts like ojas and bal in the Charaka Samhita have a mental component as well as a physical one. It is no surprise then that ashwagandha is also an adaptogenic plant. This means that it relieves and manages stress. For those prone to anxiety and lack of mental peace, ashwagandha may alleviate these problems. It could, for some patients, be a natural and holistic alternative to psychiatric medication like benzodiazepines.

In summation, ashwagandha’s role as a booster of virility and stamina has been known for at least three millennia in traditional Indian medical systems like Ayurveda and siddhi. Its specific action of boosting testosterone levels in men has been discovered in recent times, and in limited sample sizes, but with very interesting and promising findings. Testosterone can be boosted naturally, and this is one effective way of doing it. All related conditions like erectile dysfunction, poor libido and sexual stamina are likely, though not guaranteed to improve with optimum testosterone levels.


  1. helps with anxiety, no more side effects than placebo
  2. After eight weeks, the group that took the ashwagandha supplement showed a greater increase in strength when performing bench press and leg extensions
  3. Functions of testosterone: Erections, stamina, sex drive ayurvedic theory and forms of Ashwagandha


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