Low sperm count is the most common cause of infertility in men. In many cases, low sperm count can be explained by problems such as varicocele, sexually transmitted infections, hormonal imbalances, chromosomal abnormalities, and other factors; however, surveys show that 30 percent of male infertility is caused by unexplained sperm deficiencies (Idiopathic oligospermia). Diet plays a significant role in the formation of sperm so dietary changes along with herbal remedies can help to increase sperm count naturally.
Milk & Honey to Increase Sperm Count: The Ayurvedic Approach
According to Ayurveda, vata dosha is the principle that governs movement in the body – the sub-dosha vyana vata is responsible for the ejaculation of sperm from the body. Since vata governs the downward motion in the body, vata imbalance can lead to problems related to the pelvic region and the elimination of waste from the body.
In order to balance vata, foods that have the opposite qualities should be consumed. The attributes of vata include dryness, lightness, coldness, and roughness so foods with opposing qualities will help to balance vata. Honey has a warming energy that helps to offset vata’s tendency to be cold and it is also heavy and smooth which makes it ideal for vata imbalances. Cow milk is the most sattvic (pure, vital, energy-containing) and nourishing of foods and balances vata. Therefore, a glass of warm milk and honey on a daily basis will help to balance vata and improve reproductive problems such as low sperm count which are related to this type of dosha imbalance.
Milk & Honey to Increase Sperm Count: Scientific Evidence
Ayurveda is over five thousand years old but it is only in the last couple of decades that science has begun to uncover the evidence for many of these ancient remedies. Several studies show that the intake of dairy products, specifically low-fat milk has a positive relation to sperm concentration. One study found that men who had the highest intake of milk (up to 2 cups / day) had 33 per cent higher sperm concentration than men with the lowest milk intake (less than half a cup / day). Furthermore, men in the high milk intake group had approximately 10 per cent higher sperm motility as compared to men in the low milk intake group. Similar studies on the effect of honey on male fertility found a correlation between honey intake and testosterone levels. Since testosterone levels play a vital role in sperm production, honey can help to improve sperm concentration. Honey may also help to treat problems related to sustaining an erection as it has a high content of nitric oxide which improves vasodilation.
Ayurvedic Remedies to Increase Sperm Count
Ayurvedic texts provide several natural remedies for male infertility. Scientific studies and tests have proved the efficacy of several male infertility herbs which is why these herbal supplements have been gaining recognition. Some of the best natural remedies for low sperm count include:
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that is recommended for several health problems including stress, impotency, and rheumatism. Ashwagandha has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help to improve male fertility as well performance. A recent study found that ashwagandha root extract can significantly increase sperm count in oligospermic patients. The study found that men who were given ashwagandha root extract for 90 days had a 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume, and 57% increase in sperm motility. The participants also experienced a significant improvement in serum hormone levels including serum testosterone levels.
Shilajit is an Ayurvedic herb that is often recommended in cases of low libido, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction as it helps to improve vigor and stamina. A natural mineral that exudes from rocks in the Himalayan mountains, the substance has been classified as a rasayana or rejuvenator in classical texts like the Charaka Samhita. Early Ayurvedic recommendations like these are now supported with modern evidence. A study on the effects of shilajit on men with low sperm count found that shilajit capsules improved total sperm count by 61 per cent and increased motility by 17 percent as compared with baseline values.
Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris)
Gokshura helps to increase libido and improve erectile dysfunction as well as increase sperm count and sperm quality. The main active components of Gokshura are saponins but this plant also contains several biologically active compounds including unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, tannins, flavonoids, and alkaloids. Studies show that Gokshura increases the number of progressive motile spermatozoa as well as enhances total sperm motility. This makes gokshura one of the most effective herbs for male infertility, as sperm motility is just as important a factor as sperm count.
While the seemingly futile wait for successful conception can put you under significant stress and frustration, its important that you remain patient and also control those stress levels. After all, stress has an adverse effect on fertility and sperm count. You should also keep in mind that herbal treatments and home remedies require consistency and time to yield results, as do diet and lifestyle modifications. If you continue to experience problems and find that there is no improvement in your situation, it would be best to consult your health care provider to find out about other treatment options.
- Afeiche, Myriam C et al. “Dairy Intake and Semen Quality among Men Attending a Fertility Clinic.” Fertility and sterility 101.5 (2014): 1280–1287.e2. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.
- Meo, Sultan Ayoub et al. “Role of Honey in Modern Medicine.” Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences 24.5 (2017): 975–978. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.
- Ambiye, Vijay R. et al. “Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM2013 (2013): 571420. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.
- Khaleghi, Sara et al. “Tribulus Terrestris Extract Improves Human Sperm Parameters In Vitro.” Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 22.3 (2017): 407–412. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.