Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 29;2011:576962. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep138. Online ahead of print.


Stress has been reported to be a causative factor for male infertility. Withania somnifera has been documented in Ayurveda and Unani medicine system for its stress-combating properties. However, limited scientific literature is available on this aspect of W. somnifera. We undertook the present study to understand the role of stress in male infertility, and to test the ability of W. somnifera to combat stress and treat male infertility. We selected normozoospermic but infertile individuals (N = 60), further categorized in three groups: normozoospermic heavy smokers (N = 20), normozoospermics under psychological stress (N = 20) and normozoospermics with infertility of unknown etiology (N = 20). Normozoospermic fertile men (N = 60) were recruited as controls. The subjects were given root powder of W. somnifera at a rate of 5 g/day for 3 months. Measuring various biochemical and stress parameters before and after treatment, suggested a definite role of stress in male infertility and the ability of W. somnifera to treat stress-related infertility. Treatment resulted in a decrease in stress, improved the level of anti-oxidants and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of individuals. The treatment resulted in pregnancy in the partners of 14% of the patients.