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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 576962, 9 pages
Original Article

Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility

1Department of Biochemistry, C.S.M. Medical University, Lucknow 26003, India
2Endrocrinology Division, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow 226001, India
3Department of Urology, C.S.M. Medical University, Lucknow 226003, India

Received 21 November 2008; Accepted 17 July 2009

Copyright © 2011 Abbas Ali Mahdi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stress has been reported to be a causative factor for male infertility. Withania somnifera has been documented in Ayurveda and Unani medicine system for its stress-combating properties. However, limited scientific literature is available on this aspect of W. somnifera. We undertook the present study to understand the role of stress in male infertility, and to test the ability of W. somnifera to combat stress and treat male infertility. We selected normozoospermic but infertile individuals (N = 60), further categorized in three groups: normozoospermic heavy smokers (N = 20), normozoospermics under psychological stress (N = 20) and normozoospermics with infertility of unknown etiology (N = 20). Normozoospermic fertile men (N = 60) were recruited as controls. The subjects were given root powder of W. somnifera at a rate of 5 g/day for 3 months. Measuring various biochemical and stress parameters before and after treatment, suggested a definite role of stress in male infertility and the ability of W. somnifera to treat stress-related infertility. Treatment resulted in a decrease in stress, improved the level of anti-oxidants and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of individuals. The treatment resulted in pregnancy in the partners of 14% of the patients.