Does Ashwagandha Affect Birth Control?

In this article, we will look into the intriguing question of whether Ashwagandha, a popular adaptogenic herb with a myriad of health benefits, could potentially impact birth control effectiveness.
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) is a herb utilized in Ayurvedic medicine, an old form of Indian medical practice, also called Indian ginseng or winter cherry. The species is indigenous to India, Africa, and the Middle East, where it grows in hot or dry climates found in other parts of northern Africa and the Mediterranean.

Ashwagandha supports a healthy mind and body, it provides many benefits. It helps you relax while keeping you energized and keeps you balanced with a clear head and a sunny disposition [1]. Ashwagandha has been used to reduce stress and regular ashwagandha use may help reduce cortisol [1, 2].

Concerning physical performance, some research indicates that it can improve cardio function lead to quicker recovery from workouts [2], and potentially improve fertility, as a 2018 study indicated that it could increase sperm quality and quantity across several parameters that are believed to increase the likelihood of conception. [2]

Ashwagandha and birth control

Does Ashwagandha affect birth control?

Given current evidence, Ashwagandha is unlikely to interact with birth control. However, the herb has been shown to affect hormone levels and fertility in both women and men.

Ashwagandha in women has been shown to enhance sexual function and satisfaction, as well as quality of life [3], and has been proposed to ameliorate fertility through optimising hormone levels, improving ovarian function and promoting general well-being [1].

While these effects would of course influence fertility, they do not imply an interaction with contraception.

Additionally, there isn’t any specific research on Ashwagandha augmenting the effects of birth control, as a general rule, you should check with a healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen, especially if you are using hormonal birth control.

Furthermore, it should be noted that while Ashwagandha has long been used to enhance fertility, it should not be used as a substitute for birth control.

Risks associated with Ashwagandha and birth control

Ashwagandha is known to be safe, but there is limited research into its potential effects on birth control, or other types of hormonal contraceptives.

Additionally, Ashwagandha has been recommended to be avoided during pregnancy owing to toxic effects on the developing foetus. [4] Again, this is not directly related to birth control methods, but it does imply that women of reproductive age who are sexually active should exert caution when taking Ashwagandha, especially if they’re not practising a form of contraception.

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In conclusion, although Ashwagandha is mostly considered safe to use, its interaction with birth control is yet to be studied, so it would be advisable to consult with a doctor or pharmacist before starting any new supplements as it’s crucial to be aware of how it could potentially interact with other medications or supplements.

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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.