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Testosterone is a vital hormone primarily produced in the testes in males and in smaller amounts in the ovaries of females. It is an androgen, a class of hormones that stimulate or control the development and maintenance of male characteristics. Testosterone regulates a variety of body functions such as muscle mass and strength, bone density, fat distribution, and sex drive. It also plays a significant role in sperm production in males. From puberty onwards, testosterone levels gradually rise, peaking in early adulthood, then slowly decline with age. Insufficient or excessive testosterone levels can lead to health issues. Low testosterone can cause low energy, reduced muscle mass, infertility, and mood changes. On the other hand, high testosterone can lead to aggressive behavior, acne, and risks to heart health. Therefore, maintaining a balanced testosterone level is crucial for overall well-being.
Testosterone in Ayurveda
When we analyze texts of Ayurveda, acharyas describe testosterone or androgen in total as “Shukra dhatu “. Shukra dhatu is the 7th dhatu or tissue as described in Ayurveda physiology. Shukra dhatu is responsible for all reproductive functions that happen in human beings. It helps in the production of healthy semen, sperm and is the reason for a well-built muscular body. Any cause which reduces the quality and quantity of shukra dhatu can reduce T levels.
Causes of Low Testosterone.
Testosterone levels can be influenced by a variety of factors.
The testosterone level in blood starts reducing as age advances .Usually, it starts between 35 to 45 years of age. Irrespective of age andropause in men sets in as the level of this hormone starts dipping.
According to Ayurveda, in men, as age advances, the quality and quantity of shukra dhatu start decreasing. This is evident from reduced muscle mass, loss of strength, plummetted libido, setting of impotence, reduction in quality of erection etc. These symptoms are described as “shukra kshaya lakshanas“.
Injury to testicles
Testicles are prone to injury as they are suspended outside the abdomen. Injury to both testicles can reduce the production of androgens or male hormones Overheating testicles can also reduce testosterone.
This condition is described as beejopaghata in Ayurveda. Beeja means testicles and apaghata is injury or trauma. Whenever there is an injury to the testicles, vata dosha gets imbalanced. Imbalanced Vata affects shukra dhatu and reduces its quality.
Certain Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions like Klinefelter syndrome, pituitary disorders, and HIV/AIDS can significantly lower testosterone production. Injuries or infections impacting the testes can also result in diminished testosterone production.
Obesity plays a critical role in testosterone levels as excess body fat can interfere with hormone regulation, leading to a decrease in testosterone. In tandem, low testosterone levels can further enhance weight gain, creating a vicious cycle.
Diabetes, especially Type 2, is often associated with low testosterone. This can be attributed to the complex interplay between insulin resistance, inflammation, and hormone regulation.
Chronic stress is another factor that can lower testosterone levels. During stress, the body produces high levels of the hormone cortisol, which can negatively impact testosterone production.
Poor nutrition, especially diets low in protein, healthy fats, and essential micronutrients can affect testosterone production. For instance, deficiency of Vitamin D, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to lower testosterone levels.
Lastly, certain lifestyle factors like lack of sleep, sedentary behavior, alcohol, and drug abuse can further deplete testosterone levels. Overall, a combination of healthy lifestyle, balanced nutrition, and stress management can support healthy testosterone levels.
According to the principles of ayurveda the causes mentioned above, diminish the quality and quantity of shukradhatu. It is explained as follows in Sanskrit verse.
Symptoms of low testosterone or hypogonadism
Low testosterone in men, often referred to as hypogonadism or “low T,” can manifest through a variety of physical and psychological symptoms due to its significant role in regulating several bodily functions.
Diminished sexual function and infertility.
Physically, men may experience diminished sexual function, such as reduced sexual desire, fewer spontaneous erections, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or male infertility. Erectile Dysfunction is known as klaibya in ayurveda.
Low stamina and energy
Low testosterone can also cause physical changes such as increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density, which can make one more susceptible to fractures. Other symptoms may include fatigue, hot flashes, and loss of body hair. Men experience low stamina and energy
Reduced cognitive function
In terms of cognitive function, low testosterone can result in difficulties with memory and concentration. Men might also experience disturbances in sleep patterns, including insomnia or increased sleepiness.
Mood swings and depression
Psychological symptoms can be equally distressing. Low testosterone can lead to mood swings, increased feelings of depression, low self-motivation or a general sense of decreased well-being.
According to ayurveda acharyas, the symptoms of diminished shukra dhatu are as follows.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Low Testosterone or Hypogonadism.
Various Ayurvedic treatment methods described by Acharya Charaka, Sushruta, and also in Vatsayana Kamasutra, to boost stamina and energy in men, also help to boost testosterone. In this article herbs, foods, treatments, and medicines used to boost testosterone are explained.
Ayurveda has always understood the importance of sexual health and hence the eighth among the eight specialties was dedicated to sexual and reproductive health under the banner of Vajeekarana Therapy . Vaji is a stallion symbolized by its strength, stamina, sexual potency, and performance. Karana is to create. Vajikarana is to impart regular forceful dynamic sex with orgasm and ejaculation of quality semen in the required quantity. Vajeekarana makes a man sexually attractive with a masculine physique, virulent potency, and sustained strength similar to a strong fully grown potent 8-year-old horse. All these objectives of Vajeekarana correlate with a healthy HPT axis and desired androgen levels in men.
Ayurveda categorizes components for reproduction as Rutu, Kshetra, Ambu, and Beeja. Rutu is both the season and age of the man. Men below 17 and above 70 years of age are not supposed to do Vajeekarana. The man who opts to increase his sexual virility should undoubtedly have control over his senses and desires. Kshetra is the whole body and the reproductive system.
Man has to be systemically and sexually healthy, which is achieved through Vajeekarana. Ambu is nutrition. The body, mind, and sperms are to be nourished for a healthy sexual life. Healthy aphrodisiac or vajikarana food and medicines consumed after detoxifying the body to assimilate them is the purpose Ambu. Men can undergo regular detox for erectile dysfunction to keep up their male hormone levels. The final and most important component of sexuality is Beeja. Beeja is sperm. Low or altered male hormone levels directly affect sperm count and motility. Hence it is very important to follow a healthy lifestyle, mindful eating, and use ayurvedic medicines that improve testosterone health, and thereby sperm quality is important for sexual health in men. Usually, brisk walking is recommended as the best way of exercising to improve this men’s hormone.
These medicines are to be taken strictly under medical supervision with proper adjuvants and diet patterns. Indiscriminate and unmonitored use will lead to disastrous side effects.
Ayurveda considers Shukra or sperm as the essence of all other body tissues. Detoxification and nourishment of all other body tissues and training the mind to be in a happy contentment state are vital to having an enjoyable sex life and healthy progeny. Adaptation to the Ayurveda lifestyle is a definitive answer to the sexual and fertility problems not only by men but by couples. The world is looking towards Ayurveda for men’s health solutions.
Exercises and Frequent Sex
Testosterone increase will enhance sex drive, energy, strength, stamina, and muscle size. Here are some Natural Ayurvedic recommendations to increase testosterone levels:
Exercise and Lose Fat
If you are too fat, then your testosterone level will be naturally low. Increased weight or obesity leads to increased estrogen levels. Increased estrogen lowers testosterone levels. Hence try to shed excess fat. Do not fast or skip meals to shred excess fat. Studies have shown that weight loss increases testosterone in men. Once again poor eating habit reduces testosterone level. Losing 2 kgs of weight per month is always ideal.
Texts of Ayurveda recommend including vyayama or exercises in ayurvedic daily routine or dinacharya, to keep the sexual energy up. A daily brisk walk for 45 minutes is the easy and best exercise.
After exercises take a good amount of rest and sleep. Relax and try to distress. Yoga and meditation help to reduce stress levels.
Have More Sex:
Sex triggers your body to produce more testosterone. When you get aroused you are signalling your sex organs to perform so they start taking action to follow that order. This is great news. Inform your partner/s to step up the action. The hotter the better. Even Ayurveda recommends maithuna or sex to slow down the aging process. For this Ayurveda acharyas recommend Vajikarana Therapy.
Perform sex frequently, especially in the morning. Frequent sex reduces weight and increases testosterone levels.
Ayurvedic testosterone booster Herbs
Texts of Ayurveda recommend many herbs which help to nourish shukra dhatu and boost its quality and quantity. Healthy shukra dhatu boosts T-levels.
Shweta Musali or Safed Musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum L.)
Scientific studies have proved that Safed Musli has shown a significant increase in semen volume, sperm count, sperm motility, percent normal sperm morphology, and semen liquefaction time . Statistically, significant improvement was observed in serum testosterone. (Sudipta Kumar et al. 2013). Safed Musli is a small, annual herb and its root tuber is used for its versatile beneficial effect on male sexual health. The herb has the active ingredient stigmasterol which has the ability to boost this male hormone. Safed Musli is widely promoted as herbal Viagra.
Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris) Puncturevine is A tropical terrestrial spinous herb that is a member of the Dashamoola family. It is used in Ayurveda to boost male performance, energy, and stamina, increase sperm count, improve muscle mass, promote male libido, and enhance vitality in men . The fruit is aphrodisiac and contains sterols like sitosterol and campisterol. The herb is effective in normalizing the gonadotropins released from the pituitary that stimulates production of male hormones.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera )
An evergreen nightshade tropical herb is named so as the fresh roots smell like a horse and they are proven to bestow the strength, stamina, and sexual vigor of a stallion. Ashwagandha extracts increased levels of DHEA-S and testosterone (Adrian L. Lopresti, et al 2019) . Studies are there to establish the effectiveness of Ashwagandha in increasing sperm count, the volume of ejaculation, sperm motility, and vigor. It has an important role in HPT Axis by acting upon luteinizing hormone and ensuring sexual hormone balance in men.
Kapikacchu (Mucuna Pruriens):
Muccuna or kapikacchu , A tropical legume climber is an aphrodisiac and brain tonic. Seed pulp powder is used with milk as a testosterone booster and to improve its related functions . Care should be taken in handling the plant as the seed pods cause severe itchiness in contact with the skin. It indirectly also influences sexual function by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Vidarikand A tropical tuberous climber vine is proven to show a significant increase in sperm density and sperm motility along with an increase in the size of the testis, and epididymis (GK Mahajan et al. 2015) . The tuber root contains β-sitosterol which boosts testosterone levels in men. The tuber is a general tonic and is rejuvenating ante-aging adaptogenic, the properties essential for optimal androgen levels.
Shilajit (Asphaltum punjubianum):
Shilajit, The herbo mineral medicine from the Himalayan rocks above 16,000 feet Shilajit contains 85 trace minerals, amino acids, and an array of nutrients. The zinc and selenium in Shilajit boost this hormone. Shilajit reduces stress, elevates mood, and makes sex life contented .
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Cardamom, The “queen of all spices,” cardamom is rich in α-terpinyl acetate, a hormone regulator that regulates testosterone and increases muscle mass. The constituent Glutathione, an antioxidant, breaks down free radicals that affect general health and lead to low male hormone levels .
A predominantly Chinese herb with the active compound Icariin is famous for stimulating men’s hormone production, in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, and in the enhancement of sexual endurance. The name relates to the habit of goats eating weeds before the mating season.
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus):
Shatavari, The thorny creeper is best known as a female aphrodisiac. It is useful in men too. It helps in reducing the excess ammonia levels formed during hectic sexual activity thereby taking away fatigue.
Ayurvedic Foods to boost testosterone levels:
Milk is the foremost drink to boost sexuality and has been recommended by Kamasutra, the treatise on sexuality. Other aphrodisiac foods, additives, and supplements include ghee, sugar, honey, dates (khajur), walnuts, seasoned rice, black gram (urad dal), wheat, sesame, butter, saffron ( Kesar ), garlic, drumstick (moringa), kida jadi, (fungus found on caterpillar larvae), pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, and goat meat soup.
Ayurvedic Milk Preparations for Shukra Dhatu
Herbs like ashwagandha, gokshura (Tribulus), safed musli, Kapikacchu (mucuna), etc help to strengthen shukra dhatu. Shukra dhatu is the main tissue that nourishes the male reproductive system. This in turn help to increase the male hormone testosterone level. Ayurvedic preparations like ashwagandha ksheerapaka or moon milk (ashwagandha milk), safed musli with milk, etc are the best milk preparations to boost testosterone levels.
These herbs are boiled in milk and consumed daily to strengthen shukra dhatu and maintain energy and stamina. To prepare these milk recipes you can use a single herb or a mixture of herbs after consulting a qualified ayurvedic physician.
Aphrodisiac drink from Kamasutra:
Coarsely powder 10 g each of cinnamon, green nutmeg, 5 g of pepper, 2-3 cloves, and 15 strands of saffron. Blend 20 g of fresh ginger into a paste. Add 100 ml of jaggery or a sugar candy syrup. Allow the mixture to infuse and ferment in a warm environment for 3 days. Filter the potion and store it in an air-tight glass bottle. Fill only up to 2/3rd of the bottle. Take 10 ml of this 15 minutes before dinner as a testosterone booster for increased sexual vigor and fertility.
Milk fortified with Vitamin D:
Fortified milk supplies a good amount of vitamin D which is needed in the synthesis of this male hormone . Texts of Ayurveda recommend milk to increase shukra dhatu in men. As mentioned earlier shukra dhatu in men represent testosterone. Milk and milk products are the best foods available in India which naturally help in building testosterone. Milk is also recommended in the diet for Vajikarana Therapy .
Ghee or clarified butter :
Ayurveda acharyas emphasize the consumption of pure desi cow ghee or clarified butter, as it is a healthy fat that supports the production of the hormone. Ghee is eulogized as shukrala or the one which improves shukra dhatu. 2 teaspoons or 10 ml of ghee per day ( spread over a day ) is the recommended dosage. Ghee can be consumed along with hot rice during meal time or with hot milk before going to bed. If you are going to consume milk at night to boost T, you can as well boil the milk with ashwagandha powder or safed musli ( shwet musli) powder. These two herbs are praised as vajikarana herbs or aphrodisiac herbs.
Curd or Yogurt :
Unsweetened Curd or dahi or yogurt is recommended by Ayurveda vaidyas to improve male hormones. Various research suggests that foods that act as probiotics help to boost levels of male hormone . Curd is also known as Dhadhi and is recommended for men who have low body weight and energy. Curd is enriched in nutrients that can be easily absorbed by the digestive system. This food is also praised as a probiotic. This can be used as shukra dhatu enhancing food which in turn helps as stimulating food to boost testosterone. Curd should be consumed only in the daytime. Take care not to add honey to curd or boil curd. Do not use curd at night. Use dahi regularly to boost male hormones and strengthens shukra dhatu to improve testosterone levels.
Beans are plant-based protein foods and are heart-healthy. They are rich in Vitamin D and zinc. Thus beans are great foods that can be included in a testosterone-boosting diet. Black beans, kidney beans, and white beans can be used regularly. Beans are superfoods that support the production of male hormones.(Do not consume soya beans if you want to boost testosterone level). Text of ayurveda highly recommends black gram or urad which has the scientific name vigna mungo for men who have low sexual energy and stamina. Many research point toward the effectiveness of this bean in boosting male hormone and libido.
Grapes are eulogized as an aphrodisiac (“Vrishya”) by Ayurveda acharyas. Eating a bunch of grapes daily helps to boost sperm motility and testosterone level. Dry grapes or raisins are also very helpful for men to improve their masculinity.
Red grapes brim with anti-oxidants. These are not only tasty snacks but also boost T and sperm health. When a man has a low testosterone level, his estrogen component will be elevated. The bio-molecules present in red grapes help to shun the activity of estrogen in men and aid the rise of the male hormone testosterone . The skins of red grapes contain phytochemical resveratrol, which helps in boosting sperm health.
Pomegranates are power-packed with antioxidants. Recent research has shown that increased consumption of pomegranate helps to boost testosterone levels . Apart from this texts of Ayurveda describe pomegranates as “Shukrala” or the fruit which increases the quality and quantity of semen.
As said earlier pomegranates are a storehouse of antioxidants. Various studies show that antioxidants help to relieve oxidative stress of the male reproductive system and improve its function. This fruit also contains anti-estrogenic substances. Pomegranate juice is also known as red viagra, which helps in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. This juice is recommended by naturopaths to improve sperm count and motility.
In ancient times garlic was used by warriors and sportsmen to boost their energy levels and reduce fatigue. Garlic contains sulfur and other organic allyl derivatives like alliin, allicin, S-allyl cysteine, and diallyl disulfide. Research shows that allicin, one of the allyl derivatives, can increase energy levels and decrease the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The stress hormone cortisol causes fatigue.
Studies have shown that garlic when supplied with protein supplements boosts testosterone levels . Ayurveda vaidyas opine that garlic can be a natural herbal home remedy for erectile dysfunction.
There are many controversial statements about nuts boosting testosterone levels.
According to one study, nuts like almonds and walnuts may increase SHBG levels. SHBG binds with free testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, making hormones. This lowers testosterone levels in the body.
But according to the principles of Ayurveda, each person has a different prakruti or constitution. The food that one eats may be medicine for them and the same food may act as poison for others. But consumption should be in moderation.
One study has shown that moderate consumption of walnut improved male reproductive health . Also, another study shows that almond supplemented diet can boost levels of T in the blood .
Other nuts like brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and tiger nuts help to boost male hormones. These are storehouses of micronutrients like zinc, selenium, boron, magnesium, and other minerals. They also contain testosterone-boosting monounsaturated fats and directly stimulate testosterone production.
Consume these daily to increase the testosterone level. Use the unsalted version of these. Consume 5 numbers of each of these nuts per day.
Sunflower and sesame seeds are high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and Zinc. These ayurvedic oils are needed to boost testosterone levels. Sesame oil is strongly recommended in the texts of Ayurveda for its invaluable medicinal properties. When sesame oil is processed with aphrodisiac herbs it makes the best oil for pennis massage in erectile dysfunction.
Egg yolk contains cholesterol and Vitamin D. Both these nutrients are very essential for testosterone production. Men can safely eat one egg per day. But never attempt to eat more than three eggs a day. Even egg albumin contains proteins that help to build muscle mass and also aid in reducing body fat.
Tuna is a sea fish food that is rich in Vitamin D . This is needed for the synthesis of the T – hormone. One serving of tuna helps in supplying vitamin D sufficient for a day. Tuna is also rich in proteins, low in calories, and good for the heart. All these facts can help to boost testosterone levels. Consume this in moderation. Three servings per week will suffice. Too much seafood may increase mercury levels in the body.
Oysters are mollusks found in seawater. People consume this as seafood. These contain plenty of nutrients like Zinc, D-aspartic acid, Dopamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, etc which may help in boosting testosterone and libido in men.
Zinc is a vital nutrient needed for the synthesis of male hormones. Oysters are rich in this nutrient and help to bolster the levels of male hormones and healthy semen .
Increase your dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts have all been shown to dramatically reduce estrogen levels, thereby raising testosterone.
Avocados are high in both vitamin B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B6 will increase male hormone production while folic acid is key in sustaining a high metabolic rate.