The Effects of Herbs on Testosterone

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Testosterone, or male sex hormone, plays an integral part in many body processes and sports performance as well as men's sexual health.

Velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) seed extract showed significant increases in both serum and testicular testosterone levels among Wister male albino rats after 8 weeks of supplementation.


Testosterone, an androgen (male sex hormone), is produced primarily in the testes. This hormone plays a key role in sexual activity, sperm production, muscle maintenance and bone density maintenance - as well as fatigue and loss of libido.

Hypogonadism occurs when low levels of testosterone decrease significantly - however fenugreek seeds can help restore and maintain normal testosterone levels by helping restore and sustain them over time.

Fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum-graecum) extract is widely known to boost male sexuality and decrease symptoms associated with male aging, including hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, energy loss and body fat changes.

Furthermore, taking it can result in urine emitting an aromatic scent caused by sotolon chemicals present within it - this adds another unique aspect to taking this supplement!

Early research suggests that taking 500 mg of standardized fenugreek seed extract daily for three weeks might improve sexual ability and interest among older men who have lost their drive, as well as healthy younger men.

This could be the result of its nitric oxide-enhancing properties increasing blood flow to increase libido.

Research also indicates that taking 250 mg of soluble fenugreek powder daily might help some men bench press more weight during an exercise session, without increasing overall lift volume at the gym.

Furthermore, these supplements might prevent a drop-off in testosterone after intense workouts.

Ashwagandha, another herbal remedy with testosterone-boosting potential, has been demonstrated in studies to increase concentrations of testosterone.

A systematic review conducted by researchers revealed that fenugreek seeds, ashwagandha root and leaf extracts and horny goat weed all increased testosterone levels among men.

However, due to underpowered levels within this study there weren't statistically significant differences between groups so their effects warrant further investigation.


Ashwagandha has long been used as a natural libido enhancer and may increase testosterone levels, according to research studies.

Ashwagandha may improve sperm count and motility while increasing muscle strength - all while potentially decreasing stress and increasing energy.

One study followed 43 overweight men ages 40-70 for eight weeks taking either placebo or ashwagandha extract daily; those taking the latter reported an 18% greater increase in DHEA-S, an important hormone involved in testosterone production, while experiencing improvements in arousal, lubrication and orgasm satisfaction.

Ashwagandha root has many traditional uses in Ayurvedic medicine, including treating snake bites and scorpion stings as well as debilitation from old age.

Furthermore, it can act as an aphrodisiac that can assist with insomnia, nervous breakdowns and psychological problems; additionally it acts as an anthelmintic, diuretic and sedative.

Ashwagandha may even help to protect against oxidative stress that leads to low testosterone levels.

Ashwagandha contains withanolide glycosides that may be responsible for many of its therapeutic benefits, such as reducing stress levels and improving mood as well as strengthening immunity.

These compounds have numerous physiological benefits such as helping alleviate sleeplessness.

No matter how extensive the research on ashwagandha may be, it is still recommended that before adding this herb to your diet.

It's especially important if pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any autoimmune conditions; furthermore it would be wise to check with a healthcare provider regarding any supplements or herbs you are considering as they could interact with certain medications; such as sedatives, anti-seizure drugs, or thyroid hormone medications (like ashwagandha can interact).


Longjack (Eurycoma longifolia Jack, more commonly referred to as tongkat ali) has gained widespread interest as an ingredient in men's supplements due to claims it increases testosterone, reduces stress levels and boosts fertility.

Furthermore, this herb has long been utilized as an aphrodisiac in Southeast Asia as well as helping boost energy levels.

A meta-analysis of five randomized controlled trials, researchers employed  dosages between 100 mg and 600 mg daily for up to six months as part of supplementation regimens versus placebo.

Supplementation increased serum testosterone levels significantly more in participants who had hypogonadism than in controls.

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Other herbs that show promise

There are also further herbs that show some promise to help alleviate low testosterone. These include:

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto can help treat many conditions associated with low testosterone levels in men, such as hair loss, urinary tract issues and an enlarged prostate.

Saw palmetto may increase testosterone by blocking its conversion into dihydrotestosterone; additionally it may reduce erectile dysfunction while stimulating hair growth; similarly it may boost female libido and reproductive performance.

Saw palmetto trees (Serenoa repens) produce berries with an abundance of fatty acids, phytosterols, carbohydrates, amino acids and polysaccharides, such as the anti-inflammatory compound known as daidzein that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Furthermore, this herb is packed full of vitamin A, beta-sitosterol and other hormone-acting sterols. Saw palmetto supplements can be found in tablet form, liquid or tea form making it a highly desirable dietary supplement choice.

Native Americans traditionally used saw palmetto berries to treat urinary tract and reproductive problems, and today its extract is available as both pills and herbal remedies.

While generally considered safe to take, individuals with medical conditions that inhibit its effects should consult with their healthcare provider prior to taking this supplement.

Low testosterone levels have been linked with various health concerns, including decreased muscle mass and bone density, as well as an increase in fat deposits on the chest.

Men experiencing decreased fertility and reduced libido may experience decreased fertility; men experiencing difficulty focusing due to low testosterone may experience difficulty with concentration which could have detrimental repercussions for both their careers and social lives.

Asian Red Ginseng and Testosterone

Ginseng has long been revered as a natural way to promote overall health and enhance sexual function. Additionally, many sources claim it to offer testosterone boosting properties, including improved sexual function.

Studies demonstrate the power of ginseng to strengthen positive and negative feedback signals from your adrenal glands to your pituitary and hypothalamus glands, increasing resilience against stress while improving cognitive health.

One research study even suggested regular supplementation may even help increase testosterone levels - promising news for men suffering with low testosterone levels!

Panax ginseng reigns as the king of all ginsengs, with Korean red ginseng being one of the most potent varieties available. Korean red ginseng's root has been shown to increase blood flow by increasing levels of nitric oxide - and ultimately stimulating testosterone production by encouraging more androgens into your system.

Red ginseng may help ease symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue and vaginal dryness.

According to studies, taking red ginseng may also increase sex drive and satisfaction among postmenopausal women by blocking conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which directly affects sexual drive.

Furthermore, gonadotropin secretions from pituitary glands has been known to help balance androgen levels more effectively than previously known.

Forskohlii Root Testosterone

Coleus forskohlii has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, with its roots containing forskolin serving to increase testosterone levels in men while improving body composition.

A recent study conducted by researchers explored its effect on body fat and bone mass of overweight/obese men; researchers administered 250mg twice daily of 10% forskolin extract while giving control group members placebo pills - those taking forskolin experienced significant decreases in percentage body fat, fat mass, as well as an increase of 33% serum free testosterone when compared with control group counterparts taking placebo pills compared to control group.

Researchers hypothesize that forskolin acts as a cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) stimulator, stimulating protein kinase A (PKA).

PKA helps increase androgen receptors and testosterone utilization.

Furthermore, forskolin stimulates production of fatty acids from triglyceride stores resulting in reduction of excess body fat while increase in lean muscle mass; potentially contributing to changes in body composition and resting metabolic rate as a whole.


Testosterone, part of the androgen family, is a critical steroid hormone in men that plays an integral part in male reproductive and sexual function.

Furthermore, testosterone plays a significant role in normal development as well as growth of secondary sexual characteristics like muscle and bone growth as well as maintaining a healthy body composition.

This study sought to analyze the effects of herbal supplements on total serum testosterone concentrations among male participants using randomized controlled trials.

An extensive literature search was performed across PubMed, Scopus and Cochrane databases to identify studies on the effects of herbs on testosterone levels.

For inclusion, only studies that were double-blind placebo controlled with sufficient sample sizes were considered in this review.

Final selection contained 31 studies; those using fenugreek seed extract, longjack root extract, ashwagandha root and leaf extracts and forskohlii root extract had the strongest evidence for increasing calculated testosterone concentrations. 

Panax ginseng and maca had limited support from one study while no evidence was shown by other herbs for increasing testosterone.

Further research must be conducted to ascertain whether herbal supplements can increase or alleviate symptoms associated with low testosterone.

Thus providing meaningful health-enhancing benefits by measuring concurrent changes in mood, quality of life and physical performance as well as changes in markers associated with inflammation or oxidative stress as well as clinical outcomes.

Ideally the supplements would contain standardized and replicateable herbal extracts with information regarding concentration of active ingredients.

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