Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), the ayurvedic rasayana or rejuvenator, has been widely studied for its health benefits, particularly for its ability to improve semen quality. But can it be just as beneficial for women? Researchers are just now starting to study how this herbal remedy can improve female sexual function, fertility, and vitality. It may just have the power to help with every step of the baby-making process, from conception to pregnancy to postpartum recovery.
1. Improves Sexual Function In Women
Many couples experience fertility issues, some brought on by stress or metabolic problems, others simply exacerbated by the pressure of trying to get pregnant fast. Other sexual problems in women, including difficulty reaching orgasm, are often ignored or overlooked as well. Ashwagandha has been used to help with some of these concerns as it can improve both physical and psychological health. One particular study used the herbal remedy on a group of women to assess sexual function, including satisfaction, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm. They found that the oral administration of the herb significantly helped boost women’s sexual function compared to those in the placebo group.1
2. Rejuvenates The Reproductive Organs
Ashwagandha may also help keep the female reproductive organs strong and healthy. When taken as a tonic or oral herbal remedy, it can regulate hormones, improve your response to both psychological and physical stress, and keep your reproductive system working optimally.2
3. Regulates Hormones
Ashwagandha has been shown to improve function of the thyroid gland, which directly affects female fertility through the regulation of reproductive hormones. A healthy thyroid typically means a healthy reproductive system as well.3 Ashwagandha’s effect on stress also has a positive effect on women’s hormonal balance, since the stress hormone cortisol is a major dampener of sexual health and libido and reduces progesterone levels.
4. Suppresses Toxicity In The Reproductive Organs
Ashwagandha doesn’t just help boost fertility, it can also counter the effects of exposure to metals like lead, which can inhibit reproductive ability. One study done on rats that had consumed lead through water found that ashwagandha reduced toxicity in the female reproductive system.4
5. Helps Treat Undeveloped Uterus/Cervix
Conception can especially be a challenge for women with an undeveloped cervix or uterus. Ayurveda suggests the use of a combination of herbs, including ashwagandha, to help treat the problem.5
6. Boosts Mood
The power of the mind shouldn’t be underestimated, especially when it comes to fertility. Unfortunately, many women experience daily stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha can help calm the mind and balance your moods, both of which can help support a more fulfilling sex life.6
Risks Of Consuming Ashwagandha During Pregnancy
There are varying viewpoints on using ashwagandha during pregnancy. Some specialists believe that the strength and vitality it helps confer on the mother as well as the growing fetus make this a supplement you should take when pregnant. Post-partum, it can help the woman regain her strength, ease symptoms of stress, and even stimulate milk production.
However, due to its ability to bring on menstruation, it is generally avoided in large quantities when a woman is pregnant for the possible risk of causing an abortion. Ayurvedic practitioners usually suggest limiting the intake to under half a teaspoon of the powder daily, or a teaspoon at most.7
|↑1||Dongre, Swati, Deepak Langade, and Sauvik Bhattacharyya. “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study.” BioMed research international 2015 (2015).|
|↑2||Buhrman, Sarasvati. “Ayurvedic approaches to women’s health.” Protocol J Botanic Med 1, no. 4 (1996): 2-7.|
|↑3||Panda, S., and A. Kar. “Withania somnifera and Bauhiniapurpurea in the regulation of circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in female mice.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 67, no. 2 (1999): 233-239.|
|↑4||Saritha, S., P. Reddy, and G. Reddy. “Partial recovery of suppressed reproduction by Withania somnifera Dunal. in female rats following perinatal lead exposure.” International Journal of Green Pharmacy 5, no. 2 (2011): 121.|
|↑5||Sharma,M.,G.P.Sharma,and M.S.Meena. “ROLE OF TRADITIONAL AYURVEDIC HERBS IN GYNECOLOGICAL DISORDERS A DEMAND OF 21ST CENTURY”. International Journal of Applied Ayurved Research ISSN: 2347-6362.|
|↑6||Bhattacharya, S. K., A. Bhattacharya, K. Sairam, and S. Ghosal. “Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study.” Phytomedicine 7, no. 6 (2000): 463-469.|
|↑7||Ashwagandha. Integrative Medicine. Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center.|