Testosterone is a vital hormone that’s involved in both male and female sexual health. In this article, we’ll detail the best natural herbs for testosterone.
While testosterone is typically thought of as a male hormone, it is also important for women. For women, testosterone plays a key role in libido, energy levels, and maintaining physical strength.
For men, testosterone is responsible for sexual development, muscle growth and bone density, and sex drive. It’s also known to stimulate red blood cell production.
Symptoms of low testosterone levels include:
- Low sex drive
- Increased fat storage
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased sense of well-being
- Depressed mood
- General fatigue
- Moodiness and irritability
- Loss of muscular strength
Testosterone levels will naturally decrease as the body ages. Large drops in testosterone can lead to symptoms of low testosterone (also known as “low T”).
The American Urological Association notes that low testosterone affects 2.1% of men. However, this increases with age, with low T impacting an estimated 50 percent of men ages 80 years and over.
A variety of health factors can cause unexpected changes in the production of testosterone. These can include:
- Medication side effects
- Acute or chronic illness
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Excess estrogen (usually from an external or environmental source)
Treating the underlying causes may also help to manage the symptoms of low T. As always, talk with your personal physician if you’re concerned about low testosterone levels.
Read on to see about the best herbs for testosterone production.
Table of Contents
The Best Herbs for Testosterone
There are many herbs that are claimed to boost testosterone. In this article, we’ll review the best research-backed herbs for testosterone production.
1. Tongkat Ali
Clinical research has found that tongkat ali may be one of the most beneficial herbs for testosterone and sexual health.
In one 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial involving 45 male participants, researchers found that tongkat ali supplementation alongside daily exercise improved study participants’ sexual function and testosterone levels when compared to the groups treated with just exercise or a placebo.
In a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 109 men between the ages of 30 and 55 were either treated with 300mg of tongkat ali extract or a placebo. When compared to the placebo group, the group treated with tongkat ali showed significant improvements in physical functioning, quality of life, erectile function, libido, and sperm health.
One clinical study involving 76 men with low testosterone levels found that daily supplementation with 200mg of tongkat ali for one month improved testosterone levels and symptoms of male aging. By the end of the treatment, the percentage of men with normal testosterone levels went up from 35.5% to 90.8%.
In another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 105 men aged between 50 and 70 were given either a placebo or standardized tongkat ali extract for 12 weeks. Those given tongkat ali extract were given a dosage of either 100 or 200mg. When compared to the placebo, researchers noted that the groups treated with tongkat ali extract experienced decreases in fatigue and symptoms of aging while free testosterone, DHEA, and muscle strength increased. The group treated with 200mg of standardized tongkat ali extract had the the most effective results.
Finally, in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study involving young men between the ages 19 and 29, a 2-week supplementation of 600mg of tongkat ali was found to significantly improve levels of both total and free testosterone when compared to the placebo-treated group. It should be mentioned that tongkat ali did not affect luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones during this study.
Summary:Clinical human research shows that tongkat ali may promote sexual health by its ability to boost testosterone levels.
Shilajit is a tar-like substance that’s made up of decomposed plants that have been harvested out of the Himalayan mountains. It’s said to be rich in minerals and other nutrients.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit was known as a “Rasayana”, that is, a herb that works to rejuvenate the body, increase longevity, and helps to slow the aging process.
Various clinical trials have looked at the benefits of shilajit for men’s health, particularly for testosterone support.
A clinical trial was conducted with men aged 45-55 who took purified shilajit (250mg) over a period of ninety days. The researchers found that shilajit increased levels of total testosterone, free testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) compared to the group that received a placebo. The researchers also noted that gonadotropic hormones levels (LH and FSH) were well maintained in the shilajit group.
Another clinical trial showed that shilajit was able to increase sperm count. In this study, men with low sperm counts were given shilajit over the course of three months. The researchers found that shilajit helped to increase testosterone levels, sperm count, sperm motility, and FSH levels in 80% of the study participants.
A comparative study involving 63 men looked at the increase in muscular strength between men who took either 250mg or 500mg of shilajit daily. The researchers found that the group taking 500mg of shilajit daily had better strength outcomes.
Shilajit appears to be safe to consume. A safety study found that taking 2,000mg of shilajit daily for 45 days was safe. No significant changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or body weight was observed.
Summary:Initial clinical trials appear promising in regards to shilajit’s ability to boost testosterone. Further clinical research would be helpful for proving the mechanism of action.
Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic herb. It’s known as an adaptogen, which means that it can help to balance the body’s stress response.
In the Sanskrit language, the word “ashwagandha” means “the smell of a horse,” which indicates that this herb has the potential to impart the vigor and strength of a stallion.
Clinical research shows that ashwagandha may be able to improve physical performance.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving aging, overweight males found that ashwagandha helped to boost testosterone levels by 14.7%, compared to placebo, over the course of 16 weeks. The researchers noted that the study participants also had an 18% increase in DHEA-S (Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate).
In a clinical trial involving recreationally trained men, a daily dose of 500mg of ashwagandha was found to improve upper and lower-body strength. The researchers also noted that ashwagandha also helps to build muscle mass. They also noted that ashwagandha was well tolerated with minimal side effects.
Another clinical trial found that ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in testosterone levels. It was also found to aid in increasing muscle mass and strength.
A safety study found that moderate doses of Ashwagandha (~300mg daily) do not appear to be associated with any side effects or adverse reactions.
Summary:Clinical research suggests that ashwagandha may help to increase testosterone. It also appears that ashwagandha, when combined with resistance training, may help to increase muscle mass and physical strength.
4. Mucuna pruriens
Mucuna pruriens, also known as velvet bean, is a legume that grows in the tropics that has a long history of use for male health. It’s considered to be one of the best herbs for testosterone.
Various animal trials have shown that the alkaloid content in mucuna works to increase sperm production, testicular weight, and sexual activity.
A human clinical trial showed that mucuna helped to increase sperm concentration and motility in infertile men.
Another clinical trial found that M. pruriens helps to decrease stress and improve semen quality in infertile men.
One other study found that mucuna helped to regulate male hormone production. The researchers also noted that Mucuna pruriens helped to improve semen quality.
Summary:Mucuna seems to be effective in supporting male sexual function and hormone production, however (as in most cases), further research is warranted.
Cistanche is an adaptogenic herb that is thought to help boost testosterone levels.
Cistanche is part of the Orobanchaceae family of plants, it’s found growing in the deserts of northwestern China. In traditional Chinese medicine, cistanche is seen as a tonic.
Various animal studies have found that cistanche works to increase male sex hormone production (including testosterone).
It’s also worth noting that this plant has been used in various cultures for thousands of years to boost male health.
Cistanche is generally well tolerated and appears to be safe to consume for most individuals.
Summary:A variety of animal studies indicate that cistanche may promote the production of testosterone, but human studies are needed to confirm this finding.
Cynomorium is a parasitic herb with a long history of usage in traditional medicine for treating various male health complaints. It’s one of the more popular herbs for testosterone.
It’s theorized that cynomorium can work to increase the production of testosterone.
Animal studies have demonstrated that cynomorium can enhance blood plasma testosterone levels, promote sexual maturity, and increase sexual behavior in young male rats.
An animal study showed that cynomorium helped to improve serum testosterone levels. The researchers also found that this herb reduced protein degradation and increased physical endurance.
The toxicity of cynomorium has not been well studied. It should be noted that it was traditionally used as both a food and medicine. If a herb has been listed as a food source, that generally means that large quantities have been safely consumed.
Summary:Cynomorium is theorized to be helpful for increasing testosterone levels. While animal studies are promising, human clinical trials are needed to verify the efficacy of cynomorium for low testosterone.
In closing, decreased testosterone levels are a function of aging. If you have experienced a recent dramatic change in testosterone levels, please consult your personal healthcare provider.
If you are looking for natural ways to support your testosterone levels, the list above is a great place to start when it comes to looking for the best natural herbs for testosterone production.
This article contains some of the best herbs for increasing testosterone.
As with all herbs and supplements, it’s best to talk with your personal healthcare provider prior to making a change to your routine.
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Xiong, Z.Y., Ma, X.L., Sun, Y., 2011. Effect of Cynomorium songaricum Rupr. polysaccharide on testosterone content, substance metabolism and exercise capacity in rats of exercise training. Journal of Shanxi Normal University (Natural Science Edition) 39, 103–108.