When it comes to testosterone-boosting supplements, it’s all about the ingredients.
Get the right nutrients and you’ll find that everything from your strength and muscle mass to your libido and energy levels are through the roof.
Make the wrong decision though and poor-quality supplements will leave you feeling sluggish, tired and wishing you’d spent your money elsewhere.
In this article we take a look at Ayurvedic herbs – a traditional and alternative type of medicine used for thousands of years.
Do Ayurvedic herbs help optimize hormone levels or do they promise more than they deliver?
Let’s find out…
What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Often referred to as Ayurveda, this type of traditional medicine goes back thousands of years.
It derives from the words ayur which means ‘life’, and veda which refers to ‘science and knowledge’.
Developed in India, Ayurvedic medicine is a alternative health care system still used today in parts of the east.
The key concepts and ideas behind this ancient, holistic Indian therapy includemental and spiritual connection between the body and mind.
Ayurveda focuses on how the body connects with the universe and environment, and uses the bioactive compounds found in herbs and plants to boost health and wellness. It’s main goal is to help you live a longer and healthier life without illness and disease.
This method of alternative medicine has been used to treat everything from cognitive disease to cancer, and from vascular disorders to menopausal issues.
Because it was developed before standard medicine, Ayurveda covers many different health disorders.
Some treatments also claim to help restore low testosterone and regulate male health too.
Testosterone and Health
Testosterone is a natural, anabolic steroid hormone released from your testes. It is responsible for regulating masculinity and male health once you reach puberty.
This primary male hormone maintains your androgenic characteristics by facilitating body hair growth, a deep voice, square jaw and an assertive personality. It also regulates anabolic effects too by stimulating protein synthesis, muscle mass and strength.
Lastly, testosterone is pivotal in the development of sex characteristics, helping you maintain a healthy libido and sex drive, sperm count and testicular-prostate health.
The effects of low testosterone
As you reach the age of thirty, the amount of male hormones you produce begins to decrease. By 45, as many as 40% of men have testosterone levels that are too low to maintain health.
By 60, most men have low T.
Hypogonadism as it’s called in the clinical world, refers to testosterone levels that fall below the 240 ng.dL lower threshold.
This disorder can have a drastic effect on your health if you don’t fix it.
- Muscle and strength loss
- Increased belly fat and man boobs
- Loss of energy, stamina, sex drive and libido
- Increased risk of long-term illness from metabolic, vascular and cognitive disease
- Risk of all-cause mortality – early death
The Ayurvedic Medicine and Testosterone Link – Does it Work?
Within the guidelines of Ayurveda are a small number of natural herbs that claim to be able to restore your libido and have a direct effect on your testosterone levels.
Thankfully, you don’t need to rely on the thoughts and feelings of old Indian sage’s to tell you whether or not these herbs will help you. That’s because most of them have now been studied clinically too.
Here are the main ones you need to know about.
From the nightshade family, ashwagandha is a short, perennial shrub with dark green leaves and flowers that are a vibrant, bright red color.
Used for hundreds of years as an Ayurvedic tonic, this herb has long been thought to have adaptogen quality – it has an effect on your adrenal glands and hormones.
Ashwagandha is said to boost strength and male virility.
But when it comes to its effects on testosterone, this Ayurvedic herb might leave you disappointed.
Current research shows that ashwagandha might increase testosterone concentrations slightly .
However, this was seen in a group of infertile men who had extremely low levels to start with and took as long as 6 months to have an effect.
The only study showing any real improvements in testosterone levels used a group of healthy but unfit men who took 300 mg of the herb twice a day . Even then though, their hormone levels only increased by 15% – not a huge amount compared to other testosterone-boosting nutrients.
This was over a 12-week period too, so took a while to have an effect.
Verdict:Ashwagandha might help with infertility but probably won’t boost testosterone levels much.
This mineral-based compound looks like tar and its name derives from the Sanskrit for ‘rock like’.
It is a waxy, dark-colored substance found in the Himalayas and has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years.
High in zinc, fulvic acid and magnesium, shilajitis essentially compressed plant matter. It is claimed to ramp up energy levels and balance blood sugar levels.
Much like ashwagandha, shilajit doesn’t appear to be an effective testosterone booster in the scientific literature.
In fact, the science behind it is so weak that a clinical review published in theJournal of Ethnopharmacology suggested that shilajitlacks scientific evaluation and systematic documentation– essentially, there’s currently no evidence to say it actually benefits you at all.
Verdict:Clinical analysis currently can’t find any benefit to shilajit, including its effect on testosterone.
As a South Asian herb sometimes referred to astulsi,holy basil is considered to be the ‘elixir of life’ in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, it’s even been mentioned in the ancient text Charaka Samhita.
Rich in bioactive compounds, holy basil is high in a number of flavonoids, as well as ursolic acid, eugenol andβ-Elemene.
When it comes to health, holy basil might have a positive effect on stress, blood sugar and body composition.
It could also have anti-carcinogenic properties too.
There are a surprising lack of studies when it comes to holy basil and testosterone – and this makes it difficult to assess exactly how effective it might be.
There are currently no human studies using the herb that look at male hormone levels.
Verdict:Holy basil has some health benefits but as an understudied adaptogen herb, it’s difficult to know whether or not it will boost your testosterone levels.
This spiny, yellow-colored plant contains chemical compounds called steroidal saponins – the same bioactive ingredients found in the high-quality testosterone-boosting supplement red Asian panax ginseng.
Much like other Ayurvedic herbs, tribulus has adaptogen properties and has been said to reduce stress and speed up physical and cognitive recovery.
Goat’s head, as it’s often called, is said to:
- Increase strength, power and lean mass
- Boost libido, virility and stamina
- Elevate testosterone levels
Tribulus was thought to be so potent during the 1970s that it was used commonly with Bulgarian weightlifters who wanted an extra edge.
The problem is though that it’s both understudied and underwhelming when it comes to clinical evidence.
Studies using athletes show that tribulus doesn’t boost muscle mass or strength – even with a 450 mg dose .
And other trials show that the steroidal saponin-based herb didn’t increase exercise performance in a group of competent weightlifters either .
What about testosterone?
The only human study of any value suggested that tribulus terrestris had neither a direct nor indirect effect on hormone levels, and that at best it was an ineffective treatment .
Verdict:Although it’s been used by weightlifters in the past, tribulus doesn’t seem to have any beneficial effect on strength, muscle mass or T levels.
Is There a Better Option?
Unfortunately it looks like Ayurvedic medicine isn’t only alternative, but ineffective.
Relying on these herbs and plants to boost your testosterone levels is sure to leave you disappointed.
TestoFuel contains natural ingredients that have been proven to elevate testosterone in even the most robust clinical trials.
It doesn’t rely on folklore, but instead is formulated with clinical evidence in mind.
- Increase primary hormone levels
- Boost strength, muscle mass, endurance and athleticism
- Increase confidence and assertiveness
- Ramp up your libido and sex drive
- Ahmad, MK et al.Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males.Fertil Steril. 2010; 94(3): 989-96
- Mahdi, AA et al.Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009
- Wilson, E et al.Review on shilajit used in traditional Indian medicine.J Ethnopharma. 2011; 136(1): 1-9
- Rogerson, S et al.The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplement ation on muscle strength and body compositino training in elite rugby leauge players.J Strength Cond Res. 2007; 21(2): 348-53
- Antonio, J et al.The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition andexerciseperformance in resistance-trainedmales.Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Jun;10(2):208-15.
- Neychev, VK et al.The aphrodisiac herb Tribulus terrestris does not influence the androgen production in young men.J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;101: 319-323