green ashwagandha flower

Ashwagandha for Hormones

Ashwagandha is a popular herb known for its ability to support hormone balance.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of ashwagandha for hormones, particularly in reference to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), high cortisol, anxiety, low sexual desire, and menopause.

Ashwagandha for Hormones

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Adaptogens are herbs, roots, and other plant substances that help your body respond to stress and improve overall well-being. You may also see ashwagandha named as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng. The literal meaning of the word ashwagandha is “smell of horse”. This name stems from the belief that a person taking the herb may improve stamina, strength, and energy.

Let’s review a few benefits of ashwagandha for hormones.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Up to 70 percent of women with PCOS have some degree of insulin resistance. This happens when cells resist insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels after a meal. Insulin resistance can lead to many common PCOS symptoms like difficulty losing weight, weight gain, and irregular periods. 

Fortunately, one review study found that treatment with ashwagandha significantly reduced blood sugar, hemoglobin a1c, and insulin levels (1). Read more about the benefits of ashwagandha for PCOS.


Cortisol is a stress hormone that is naturally produced by the body in varying amounts throughout the day. Typically, cortisol levels should be highest in the early morning hours and lowest right before falling asleep. However, chronic stress can cause unbalanced cortisol levels and lead to unwanted symptoms, like insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.  A large study found that individuals taking ashwagandha extract reported improved sleep and increased mental alertness in the morning (2). This effect was strongest when taking at least 600 milligrams (mg) of extract per day for at least eight weeks.

Ashwagandha for Menopause

Ashwagandha adapts to the body's specific needs, helping to regulate hormonal fluctuations. This is particularly beneficial during perimenopause and menopause when estrogen and progesterone levels decline. While more research is needed, one small randomized study found that women taking 300 mg of ashwagandha twice per day reported significantly less perimenopause symptoms, like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and brain fog (3). 

Related article: Perimenopause Fatigue


Low sexual desire affects nearly 27 percent of women in their reproductive years and up to 53 percent of postmenopausal women (4). While the root causes of this symptom varies depending on the individual, many research studies show that ashwagandha can improve desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction in women (5, 6). Ashwagandha may also improve sexual desire in men. Men with lower sexual desire taking 300 mg of ashwagandha twice per day had higher testosterone levels and greater improvements in sexual desire than men taking a placebo (7).


A group of research studies revealed that ashwagandha can notably decrease anxiety scores, sometimes by more than 50 percent (8). Interestingly, ashwagandha might offer benefits comparable to the widely used anxiety medication lorazepam (Ativan) but without the associated side effects (9). This herb is believed to alleviate anxiety through its ability to lower cortisol levels and mimic the effects of the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Read more about anxiety and hormone balance.


Thyroid hormones help to regulate everything from metabolism to your menstrual cycle. Low levels of thyroid hormones can indicate a condition called hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, one in eight women will develop thyroid problems during their lifetime (10). However, substances in ashwagandha may support thyroid health by increasing the secretion of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) by the thyroid gland. Plus, it may also decrease the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is often elevated in people with hypothyroidism (11).

Ashwagandha Dosing

Studies evaluating ashwagandha for hormones show the most benefit when taking about 300-600 mg twice per day. One study looking at the safety of ashwagandha found that doses up to 1,250 mg/day were well tolerated and safe (12). However, ashwagandha is not recommended or safe during pregnancy.

You can find Ashwagandha in our Root Shop. We suggest starting with one capsule (650 mg) once per day. While many people experience immediate benefits when taking ashwagandha, studies show most benefit when people took ashwagandha for at least 8 weeks. 


Feel calm & relaxed with this powerful adaptogenic herb

Key Takeaways

As women navigate the complex landscape of hormonal changes, incorporating ashwagandha into their wellness routine may offer a holistic approach to hormonal balance. Ashwagandha may support individuals with PCOS, anxiety, hypothyroidism, and low sexual desire. The adaptogenic properties of ashwagandha also help to support healthy stress levels which may further improve overall well-being and reduce stress-related symptoms. 

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