I am a male in 30's and been taking ashwagandha (withania s.) for 6 weeks every day 1 teaspoonful x3/day religiously. It's a really fantastic herb with antioxidants, antiinflmmatory, anticancer, memory and longevity enhancing properties, antistress and antianxiety and so on. Wonder herb! I am taking it as a powder form, I noticed one good thing I never previously had, --a calm, relaxed mind! No sedation! It's very calming!! However, just yesterday I dug out a study on PUBMED that is quite disturbing:
Asian J Androl. 2002 Dec;4(4):295-8.
Effect of Withania somnifera root extract on the sexua| behaviour of male rats.
Ilayperuma I, Ratnasooriya WD, Weerasooriya TR.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka.
AIM: To determine the effect of a methanolic extract of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal roots on sexua| competence of male rats.
METHODS: Male rats were orally administered 3000 mg.kg-1.day-1 of root extract for 7 days. Their sexua| behaviour was evaluated 7 days prior to treatment, day 3 and 7 of treatment, and day 7, 14 and 30 post-treatment by pairing each male with a receptive female.
RESULTS: The root extract induced a marked impairment in libido, sexua| performance, sexua| vigour, and penile erectile dysfunction. These effects were partly reversible on cessation of treatment. These antimasculine effects are not due to changes in testosterone levels or toxicity but may be attributed to hyperprolactinemic, GABAergic, serotonergic or sedative activities of the extract.
CONCLUSION: Use of W. somnifera roots may be detrimental to male sexua| competence.
PMID: 12508132 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Notice the words: "..partly reversable.." in RESULTS.
Another study also says: ..."Serum testosterone and FSH levels were lower in animals treated with plants extracts than controls..." PMID: 11282435
Another study points to ashwagandha as an herb that reduces sperm or kills sperm for fertility control: ..."This report reviews research on plant-derived agents that prevent sperm production if taken orally by the male or that incapacitate or kill sperm on contact if used vaginally by the female. It would be of great value to develop fertility inhibitors that are totally selective for reproductive systems and enzymes, and there is a possibility that a plant-derived drug may have this effect. Plants that have been studied for their fertility inhibiting effects in the male include: Aristolochia indica L. (Aristolochiaceae); Azadirachta indica A. Juss (Meliaceae); Balanites roxburghii Planch. (Zygophyllaceae); Calotropis procera (Ait) R.Br. (Asclepiadaceae); Carica papaya L. (Caricaceae); Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don (Apocynaceae); Dieffenbachia seguine (Jacquin) Schott. (Araceae); Ecaballium elaterium A. Richard (Cucurbitaceae); Gossypium species (Malvaceae); Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. (Malvaceae); Hippophae salicifolia D. Don (Elaeagnaceae); Leucaena glauca (L.) Benth. (Leguminosae); Lonicera ciliosa Poir. (Caprifoliaceae); Lupinus termis Forsk. (Leguminosae); Malvaviscus conzattii Greenm. (Malvaceae); Momordica charantia L. (Curcurbitaceae); Ocimum sanctum L. (Labiatae); Prunus emarginata Walp. (Rosaceae); and Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (Solanaceae)......." PubmedID: 12179631
I am scared to take this herb now after taking it for 6 weeks. I just realized that my libido is not so active for the last several weeks! I want to take it but for two reasons I have to abandon taking the herb and look for alternative herbs:: 1)Sperm/testosterone/libido problems 2) Increases T3 and/or T4 which may lead to thyrotoxicosis or later thyroid problem. I am thinking-- why risk? However, since I am a male, this is not my herb anymore, but for women who are hypothyrodic and/or exhibiting anxiety/sleep problems -it'a fantastic remedy with numerous benefits full of antioxidant, antiiflammatory, anticancer, GREAT calm/sress reliever, etc.
I also thought since ashwagandha is being mostly exported from India, and brings revenue (7000 tons/year export of this root -google in books section) it makes me think the GOV of India would not like to show 'ALL' scientific reports done on this herb and hide possibly harmful research.
It would be interesting to see other good comments here related to ashwagandha and if YOU are taking it now. SO far I know there are several researches who say ashwagandha inhibits sperm/fertility/FSH hormone problem, and others who say it it helps libido/sperm motility and growth.
I should caution you though, if you have taken the herb for less than a week, I don't want hear complaints, also if you are taking capsules at recommended mnfctr. doses, don't complain either-they put safe minimal doses to keep you safe, generally you have to double or triple of what the bottle says for the herb to be THERAPEUTIC and not prophylactic. If you give it time AND the RIGHT dose, you'll see effects especially WHEN stressful situations present themselves.