Fadogia Agrestis: 3 Potential Benefits & Safety

Fadogia agrestis is a medicinal herb with purported effects for testosterone and sexual function in men. However, despite traditional usage as an aphrodisiac, no human research provides evidence for these …

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Written by: Jack Cincotta, MS
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Medical Review: Lily Martin, ND
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Fadogia agrestis is a medicinal herb with purported effects for testosterone and sexual function in men. However, despite traditional usage as an aphrodisiac, no human research provides evidence for these claims. 

On top of that, Fadogia agrestis has significant toxicity concerns, such as liver and kidney dysfunction. 

This article covers key information about Fadogia agrestis and its components, theoretical health benefits, and concerns regarding safety and toxicity. 

WARNING:

At the Botanical Institute, we have concluded that Fadogia Agrestis may be unsafe for most individuals. We recommend looking at alternative herbs until the safety of Fadogia has been conclusively proven. We recommend looking into Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha, or Cistanche as alternatives.
fadogia agrestis health benefits

What is Fadogia agrestis?

Fadogia agrestis is a shrub native to Nigeria but found in a few other African countries. 

The main bioactive compounds in Fadogia agrestis seem to be saponins and various polyphenols. Below is a list of specific compounds isolated from Fadogia agrestis:

  • Glycosides
  • Coumarin
  • Flavonoids
  • Lignans
  • Phytosterols
  • Triterpenoids

While it isn’t definitive, it is suspected that the glycosides (a type of saponin) are largely responsible for the testosterone-enhancing effects of fadogia.

Is Fadogia agrestis Safe?

Fadogia agrestis has serious safety and toxicity concerns. 

For example, research has shown that Fadogia agrestis may negatively alter testicular function, which may modify the functional capacities of the male reproductive system. 

Other research has identified that Fadogia agrestis may cause structural damage to hepatocytes (cells in the liver) and nephrons (functional units in the kidneys), which indicates the potential for toxicity in the liver and kidneys, respectively. 

There is further evidence that Fadogia agrestis extracts, particularly in large doses, may damage the prostate, disturb testicular functioning, and impair aspects of fertility, such as sperm count and motility. 

The very benefits one seeks from Fadogia agrestis may be compromised due to the other effects of this substance.

Nonetheless, current work is being done to establish potentially safe usage amounts for Fadogia agrestis, but such a dose is currently unknown

For this reason, choosing a more well-researched, safer compound is likely better if one wants to potentially increase testosterone levels, such as Tongkat Ali or Shilajit

We have also put together an article going over the best herbs for boosting testosterone production.

health benefits of fadogia agrestis

3 Potential Benefits of Fadogia agrestis:

Based on research, Fadogia agrestis has the following potential benefits:

  • Increased Testosterone and Sexual Function
  • Pain Reduction
  • Anti-Diabetic Effects

However, no human studies have used Fadogia agrestis, so these benefits are not definitive. 

In fact, multiple human studies are needed using Fadogia agrestis before one can claim anything about its effectiveness or safety in humans.

1. May Benefit Testosterone & Sexual Function

In one study on male albino rats, administration of an aqueous extract of Fadogia agrestis stem led to significant increases in testosterone and various sexual behaviors. The researchers noted that in some cases, testosterone increased up to five-fold. But no studies have been done to confirm any testosterone-boosting effects in humans.

Another rat study found that male rats who were given an aqueous extract of Fadogia agrestis experienced a significant increase in sexual behaviors. Additionally, Fadogia agrestis increased antioxidant effects in rats. 

A third study found that Fadogia agrestis extracts increased antioxidant functions and nitric oxide pathways in rats, which appeared to help restore erectile function in male rats with erectile dysfunction. Increased blood flow from elevated nitric oxide and antioxidant effects likely caused this purported benefit.

2. May Reduce Pain

There was only one study done on the possible analgesic (pain-reducing) effects of Fadogia agrestis.

In this study done on rats, an aqueous extract of Fadogia agrestis stem offered significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, comparable to aspirin. The reductions in pain appeared to be due to the effect of Fadogia agrestis extract on the body’s sensory processing. 

3. Anti-Diabetic Properties

There was also one small study done on rats regarding possible anti-diabetic effects.

In the study, the researchers found that diabetic rats who received Fadogia agrestis extract showed a decrease in glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and other metabolic markers compared to the control group. 

History & Traditional Use:

Fadogia agrestis was used primarily in African medicine for analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and aphrodisiac effects. It was commonly used for erectile dysfunction and other problems related to sexual performance and libido.

Additional evidence shows that Fadogia agrestis may have also been used in traditional African medicine to reduce kidney pain, relieve fevers, and for its diuretic effects. 

Naming & Taxonomy:

Fadogia (Fadogia agrestis) is a flowering plant that belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which includes plants such as evergreen trees, shrubs, and herbs. This family is commonly known as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. 

Fadogia agrestis is a short, erect shrub typically one to three feet tall. It has yellowish stems and yellow-green, oblanceolate leaves with yellow-green flowers.

Fadogia agrestis vs. Other Herbs:

Fadogia agrestis is often compared with many other different types of herbs. We have put together a helpful article going over a common comparison.

Fadogia agrestis vs. Cistanche

Fadogia agrestis vs. Tongkat Ali

Conclusion:

Fadogia agrestis was used for many years in traditional African medicine, especially for its possible testosterone-boosting, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and fever-reducing effects. 

Today, it is regarded by some people as a powerful herb to boost testosterone, although this claim is not supported by human research. Moreover, none of the other purported benefits are backed by human data.

Additionally, Fadogia agrestis has many safety and toxicity concerns. So, due to the safety concerns and lack of human research, we do not recommend consuming Fadogia agrestis.

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About Jack Cincotta, MS

Jack has a Master of Science degree in Psychology and is also an AADP® Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and AFPA® Certified Holistic Health Coach. His passion is to help people develop optimal levels of health, particularly mental health.