Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males

Fertil Steril. 2010 Aug;94(3):989-96. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.046. Epub 2009 Jun 6.


Objective: To investigate the impact of Withania somnifera roots on semen profile, oxidative biomarkers, and reproductive hormone levels of infertile men.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Departments of Biochemistry and Urology, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow, India.

Patient(s): Seventy-five normal healthy fertile men (control subjects) and 75 men undergoing infertility screening.

Intervention(s): High-performance liquid chromatography assay procedure for quantization of vitamin A and E in seminal plasma. Biochemical parameters in seminal plasma were estimated by standard spectrophotometric procedures. Estimation of T, LH, FSH, and PRL in blood serum by RIA methods.

Main outcome measures(s): Before and after the treatment, seminal plasma biochemical parameters, antioxidant vitamins, and serum T, LH, FSH, and PRL levels were measured.

Result(s): Withania somnifera inhibited lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content and improved sperm count and motility. Treatment of infertile men recovered the seminal plasma levels of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E and corrected fructose. Moreover, treatment also significantly increased serum T and LH and reduced the levels of FSH and PRL.

Conclusion(s): The treatment with W. somnifera effectively reduced oxidative stress, as assessed by decreased levels of various oxidants and improved level of diverse antioxidants. Moreover, the levels of T, LH, FSH and PRL, good indicators of semen quality, were also reversed in infertile subjects after treatment with the herbal preparation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Gonadal Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / drug therapy*
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Lipid Peroxides / analysis
  • Lipid Peroxides / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / analysis
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Powders / administration & dosage
  • Prolactin / analysis
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Semen / cytology
  • Semen / drug effects*
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Semen Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Withania* / chemistry


  • Gonadal Hormones
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Plant Extracts
  • Powders
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone