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Is Ashwagandha Natty? (Or Is Ashwagandha a PED?)

If you’re wondering whether Ashwagandha is natty, then you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, I explain whether Ashwagandha is considered natural in bodybuilding, whether or not it’s a performance-enhancing drug, if you’re allowed to take Ashwagandha in natty bodybuilding competitions, and more.

Is Ashwagandha Natty?

Yes, Ashwagandha is considered a natural supplement. It’s currently not prohibited by the 3 large sport’s governing bodies – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the NCAA.

ashwagandha plant

What Does Natty Mean?

‘Natty’ is a slang term used by bodybuilders to describe something/someone as natural.

But depending on which bodybuilder you speak to, natty can mean different things.

Some people think that no supplements are considered natty.

But to me, this makes no sense.


Well, many supplements like amino acids and caffeine are natural found in food and drink.

So you can’t really call something unnatty if it’s part of what humans consume on a daily basis.

On the other hand, most people agree that to be natty, you don’t take any banned PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs).

I.e., your physique is achieved solely by diet, resistance training and supplements that are approved by the world anti-doping agency.

Is Ashwagandha a PED?

Ashwagandha is not a PED.

It’s a natural herb that provides many benefits, although it’s unlikely to significantly improve your physical performance when working out.

Is Ashwagandha a Steroid?

When discussing steroids in the bodybuilding community, people are usually referring to anabolic steroids, like Deca, Dianabol and Anadrol.

These are synthetic versions of male testosterone, which help increase size and strength.

While Ashwagandha itself isn’t a steroid, it does contain some steroid compounds, such as withanolides.

These work differently to anabolic steroids though in that they can suppress adrenal function.

Is Ashwagandha a Drug?

Well, it depends on how you define the word drug.

According to

A drug is a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.

So by their definition, you could argue that Ashwagandha is a drug since it enhances mental well-being.

(Ashwagandha may help reduce anxiety.)

Whereas define a drug as:

A chemical substance, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behaviour and often addiction.

By this definition, Ashwagandha is not a drug as it doesn’t have psychoactive properties.

Is Ashwagandha a Banned Substance?

Ashwagandha isn’t banned by the 3 large sport’s governing bodies – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), or the NCAA.

Does Ashwagandha Increase Testosterone?

Some research suggests that Ashwagandha may help boost testosterone levels.

For example, a study of 75 infertile males showed that Ashwagandha supplementation increased seminal testosterone levels.

It’s important to note, however, that the increase in testosterone is only marginal – if it significantly increased testosterone, like anabolic steroids do, then it’d likely be banned by the natural bodybuilding governing bodies.


In summary:

  • You can take Ashwagandha in natural bodybuilding competitions as it isn’t banned by the leading governing bodies.
  • Ashwagandha can increase testosterone levels, but only by a small amount.
  • Ashwagandha isn’t an anabolic steroid, although it does contain some natural steroid compounds.

That’s all for Ashwagandha being natural, but can Ashwagandha cause gynecomastia? Or does Ashwagandha show on a drugs test?

Thanks for reading!