Does Ashwagandha Have Benefits For Female and Male Fertility?

Q&A "Does Ashwagandha Have Benefits For Female and Male Fertility?"

Should I take it or skip it when TTC?

The Quick Take

Today, we have very little high-quality research on this topic. The science is slightly further along for male fertility than female fertility, but in both cases, there is not a strong enough case to recommend supplementation.

This is a good example of a place where you can choose to supplement with Ashwagandha if you'd like (and if your doctor approves), but it's likely not going to be a game changer for your chances of conceiving.

If you're hoping to save money, you can skip this supplement with no guilt.

The Long Answer

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an ancient herb native to India, the Middle East, and North Africa. It has a medicinal history, including as a fertility rememdy, in Ayurveda that dates back centuries.

Let's start with what we know about male fertility: in our evidence ranking, the science we have on Ashwagandha for male fertility is "early" evidence, meaning there are only a handful of good studies on the topic (1, 2, for example). What we know so far is that Ashwagandha supplementation may improve sperm count, motility, and morphology among individuals with idiopathic male infertility (aka. an unexplained reduction of semen quality). However, more high-quality evidence is needed to establish the potential effects of Ashwagandha and whether it has desirable outcomes on pregnancy and live birth rates.

When it comes to Ashwagandha and female fertility, the current high-quality scientific research unfortunately does not point to a recommendation on this topic for egg health (despite it being a major ingredient in supplements marketed as "hormone balancing" — read more about our take on the science behind various "hormone balancing supplements" here.

It's also important to talk to your doctor about any "contraindications" of this ingredient. For example, here is what the NIH says about the health conditions that, if you have them, you might want to avoid this supplement: "There is evidence that ashwagandha might interact with some medications, including those for diabetes and high blood pressure, medicines that decrease the immune system response (immunosuppressants), sedatives, anti-seizure medications (anticonvulsants), and thyroid hormone medications." You can read more here).

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