It is estimated that 43% of women experience some degree of sexual dysfunction.1 However, despite its high prevalence, many women do not seek treatment, oftentimes out of shame or embarrassment to open up about their intimate struggles.
While ashwagandha has previously shown to boost sexual health in men, its benefits for women have not been extensively studied. As such, this trial was conducted to assess safety and efficacy of ashwagandha for improving sexual function in women.
The trial recruited 50 women, between the ages of 21 and 50. They were diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions: hypoactive sexual desire disorder, female sexual arousal disorder, female organismic disorder, or combined genital and subjective arousal disorder.
Half of the participants received high concentration ashwagandha root extract capsules (300 mg twice a day), while the other half were given placebo capsules containing starch. All women also went through a counseling program. The treatment period lasted for eight weeks.
Using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) Questionnaire and the Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS), researchers evaluated women's sexual function before and after the trial.
It was shown that women taking ashwagandha extract capsules had significant improvements in the FSFI scores in comparison to those in the placebo group. The changes were most noticeable in the arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction scores.
The FSDS scores as well as the number of successful sexual encounters also substantially improved among women taking ashwagandha.
Interestingly, notable reductions in female sexual dysfunction were seen in both groups, suggesting that the counseling program was a beneficial tool even for women not taking ashwagandha supplements.
What Does this Mean?
As shown by the results of this clinical trial, ashwagandha may improve sexual function in women. Researchers suggest that the herb exerts its beneficial effects by reducing stress as well as promoting hormonal balance (mainly that of testosterone), both of which are linked to female sexual dysfunction.
While there were no adverse effects reported in this study, more clinical trials are necessary to further evaluate the use of ashwagandha for sexual dysfunction in women.
Other herbs that may help relieve sexual dysfunction include maca, fennel, celery, and ginkgo.
- BioMed Research International, Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract un Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study, 2015
Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Sexual Dysfunction. Retrieved June 30, 2022 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9121-sexual-dysfunction