Ashwagandha and the Menstrual Cycle: Does Ashwagandha Influence Periods?

In this article, we will take a close look at Ashwagandha, a common herb in Ayurvedic medicine, and its potential impact on the menstrual cycle. We will look into the properties of Ashwagandha and how it may influence hormonal balance and menstrual cycle regulation. The article also discusses the scientific research supporting these potential benefits.
Greta Daniskova

Greta Daniskova

Greta is a BSc Biomedical Science student at the University of Westminster, London.

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What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is one of the most common herbs in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha is native to India and is now cultivated worldwide in dry, hot climates, including those found in northern Africa and the Mediterranean. As the scientific name indicates, Withania Somnifera, the root of the plant is used – often it is dried and then ground into a powder. This makes it a typical addition to beverages, although it is also available in capsules, tablets or as a liquid extract [1].

Ashwagandha is a foundational adaptogenic herb, prized for its potent ability to assist the body in lowering stress states. It is said to promote energy enabling better functioning and avoiding the ups and downs of life that arise from internal and external stresses. The use of this botanical goes back at least 2,000 years, and modern research is beginning to tease out some of its health benefits [1].

What does Ashwagandha do?

Ashwagandha has also been linked to a host of supposed health benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and the modulation of several neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, which could result in the management of the symptoms of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and addictive disorders [2].

In addition, ashwagandha may improve athletic performance and recovery from workouts [3]. It may also increase sperm quality, potentially increasing the chance of pregnancy [3].

What is the Menstrual Cycle?

With each menstrual cycle, the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary, ovary and endometrium work together as a coordinated dynamic system, priming the body for the possibility of pregnancy every single month [4]. Although perhaps not so obvious, menstruation is a natural part of a healthy monthly cycle for a person with a uterus and ovaries [5].

The menstrual cycle is divided into four phases: the menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal phase. In each cycle, an egg develops and emerges from either of the two ovaries. The uterine lining (also known as endometrium) is built up and prepared to receive the baby if pregnancy occurs. At the end of each cycle, if not pregnant, the uterine lining is shed, identified by menstruation (or menstrual period, alternatively defined as the bleeding during the period) [6].

The purpose of the menstrual cycle is to prepare the body for pregnancy. Every month, the body readies itself for pregnancy by thickening the lining of the uterus and growing and releasing an egg from one of the ovaries. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels fall, signalling the body to begin menstruation. During menstruation, the uterus sheds its lining, which is passed out of the body through the vagina along with some blood [5].

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A complex hormonal system with positive and negative feedback and changes in the sensitivity of peripheral tissues controls the menstrual cycle. Regular, pulsatile hypothalamic secretion of luteinising hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH), which liberates follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH), is essential to the function of the system [7].

Does Ashwagandha influence the Menstrual Cycle?

Ashwagandha, a well-known herb in Ayurvedic medicine, has been found to have potential benefits on the menstrual cycle.

One of the benefits of Ashwagandha that is unique to this herb is the ability to maintain prenatal hormone levels. It has been reported to balance reproductive hormones namely serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and gonadotropin hormones thereby maintaining a proper pattern of fertility and libido. This hormone balance could also be linked to a proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol [1].

Some of its phytoestrogens go to work to fix a too-high or too-low oestrogen level to help put the cycle back in sync. Endometriosis and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), both more common in women with short cycles, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which often accompanies longer cycles, are implicated in many irregular menstrual cycles and respond to Ashwagandha by making the cycle more regular [1].

In a study of women going through perimenopause, supplementation with an Ashwagandha root extract increased overall quality of life related to menopause and reduced physical, psychological and urogenital symptoms. Throughout 8 weeks, the women took 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily [1, 8].


In conclusion, it can be noted that Ashwagandha exhibits positive effects/benefits regarding the Menstrual Cycle. However, it’s worth noting that although Ashwagandha might have constructive impacts on the menstrual cycle, further research is required to better understand its impact and potential side effects. It is always wise to seek the guidance of a trusted healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen.

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Greta Daniskova

Greta Daniskova

Greta is a 2nd-year student currently pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster in London. Currently, in her second year of undergraduate studies, she exhibits a keen interest in the dynamic field of healthcare. With a focus on understanding the intricacies of human biology and disease mechanisms, Greta is driven by a desire to contribute to advancements in medical research and patient care.