KGMU docs’ study on ayurvedic herb provides a new ray of hope to infertile couples

Ashwagandha or Withania Fruit

Ashwagandha or Withania Fruit

A new study of Ashwagandha by doctors in King George Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow reveals that the herb could also be a blessing for infertile men or couples unable to conceive.

Georgian Khabar / RNI, Lucknow:

Asvagandha (Ashwagandha), more commonly referred to as amukkuram, winter cherry or Indian Ginseng, has been used since times immemorial in Ayurveda for anti-stress adaptogenic action that leads to better physical fitness, acts to calm the mind and promote sound, restful sleep. It is said to promote the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis and resist stress. It is also said to prevent or minimize imbalances that may lead to disease, whether from poor diet, lack of sleep, mental or physical strain, or chemical toxins in the environment.

Although Ginseng and Ashwaganda are botanically unrelated, at a basic level of perception they seem to impart similar benefits — vigour and strength. Hence, Ashwagandha has often been called the Indian Ginseng. The two are quite different in their chemistry and in the health benefits that they provide.

During recent years, an increasing interest has been seen in many countries in Europe and particularly in US, in studying the knowledge embodied in Ayurveda. Ashwagandha, in particular, has aroused enormous interest and even the Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre has acknowledged its potential benefits for cancer treatment. But while the world is coming to our doorsteps to study the healing and rejuvenating secrets of Ayurveda, many of our own physicians in India who have been trained in the Western system of medicine do not seem to acknowledge the virtues of Ashwagandha.

Not anymore! A team of researchers belonging to King George’s Medical University (KGMU) has gone a step further and concluded that this miraculous herb not just inhibit the ageing process, fight stress and enhance endurance but have for the first time carried out detailed scientific study on its ability to cure male infertility.

Prof Abbas Ali Mahdi

Prof Abbas Ali Mahdi

The team, headed by Prof. Abbas Ali Mahdi, senior professor and head of biochemistry department in KGMU, has concluded that almost everything that Ayurveda has to say about this herb can be backed by hard scientific evidence. In fact, they have gone a step further to conclude that Ashwagandha is capable of rebooting sperm production in men who suffer from infertility to near normal levels, making it possible for them to have children.

The researchers randomly recruited 180 male patients from those undergoing treatment for different forms of infertility at KGMU. Their semen and blood samples were analyzed and matched with that of 50 healthy volunteers. While a third of these patients remained infertile despite having normal sperm volume and motility, another group had such low levels of sperm production that pregnancy was impossible. The third group had both the volume as well as the number of motile sperms extremely low. The three groups were asked to take a dry powder of Ashwagandha root continuously for three months. Their blood and sperm samples were subsequently tested.

A key member of the research team, Ashish Gupta is now a biochemist at SGPGIMS. Gupta informs that towards the conclusion of the study all patients showed remarkable improvement so much so that nearly 15 per cent of the couples went on to conceive naturally within months after the treatment, whereas others too showed remarkable improvement in the measured parameters.

Informs Prof. Mahdi: “Ashwagandha is a veritable storehouse of useful substances, including alkaloids, essential and non-essential fatty acids and amino acids. Flavonoids of W. somnifera (scientific name for Ashwagandha) possess potent anti-oxidant activity treatment with the herb counteracts the formation of free radicals in infertile men.”

Adds Ashish Gupta: “It is apparent that W. somnifera (Ashwagandha) has the ability to repair sperm DNA damage and retain its chromatin integrity.”

Prof Abbas Ali Mahdi, who has over 25 years of research experience with 140 publications and more than 400 citations besides possessing nearly 25 years of teaching experience, says that the study suggests that greater attention need to be paid towards studying the wisdom in Ayurveda and judging it on scientific parameters. Prof. Mahdi is well-known for another study to understand the mechanism of action of Mucuna pruriens in the treatment of male infertility. “This study will go a long way towards giving a new ray of hope to men who have been unable to father a child due to diminished levels of sperm production,” says he.

Real News Intl. News Network in collaboration with Georgian Khabar