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Previous research has found ashwagandha may improve sexual function in men, but a new study suggests women may experience similar benefits.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has long been thought to enhance sexual function, but a recent clinical trial published in BioMed Research International is providing new evidence that branded ashwagandha ingredient KSM-66 may improve sexual function and satisfaction in women specifically.
Researchers found that, compared to a placebo group, women consuming KSM-66 reported significantly higher improvements to sexual interest, arousal, lubrication, and in achieving an orgasm. Ashwagandha supplementation was also linked with an improvement in sexual satisfaction and a reduction in sexually related distress.
Ixoreal Biomed (Los Angeles), supplier of KSM-66, points out that the findings are especially noteworthy given the limited amount of previous research relating to ashwagandha and women’s sexual function.
“While there are other published studies demonstrating the effectiveness of ashwagandha in improving sexual function in men, this is the first study using a standardized, branded ashwagandha extract and demonstrating significant positive effects on sexual function in women,” says Kartikeya Baldwa, director of Ixoreal Biomed.
Baldwa also noted that, in previous studies, ashwagandha root has been found to act as a calming agent that may help bring hormone levels to appropriate levels. She suggested “these effects are perhaps responsible for the significant effects we see in this study.”
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 50 women aged 21–50. Subjects were randomized to consumer either 300 mg of placebo or ashwagandha twice daily for eight weeks. Researchers then assessed sexual function based on two psychometric scales-the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire and the Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS)-as well as the number of successful sexual encounters.
Women in the ashwagandha group were found to have significantly higher improvements to the FSFI total score and the FSFI domain scores for “arousal,” “lubrication,” “orgasm,” and “satisfaction” than the placebo group. The FSDS score and the number of successful sexual encounters were also significantly higher in the ashwagandha group than the placebo group.
Nutritional Outlook Magazine
Dongre S et al., “Efficacy and safety of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract in improving sexual function in women: a pilot study,” BioMed Research International. Published online October 4, 2015.