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Animal study 'proves' androgenic effect of Safed Musli

Applied Nutriceuticals will be launching its new testosterone booster Alpha-X soon, according to a posting on [ 04-25-2009] Alpha-X contains a novel ingredient: an alcohol extract of the Indian herb Chlorophytum borivilianum. And you'd be forgiven for thinking that the devil had a hand it in it: researchers at the Dr. H. S. Gour University in India are about to publish the results of an animal study which shows that Chlorophytum borivilianum has androgenic and anabolic effects.

Chlorophytum borivilianum
Chlorophytum borivilianum is also called Safed Musli. The name is inaccurate though, as several plants in India go by this name. Traditional healers in India use extracts of the roots of Chlorophytum borivilianum – see photo above – as a libido enhancer. The researchers wanted to see if they could show the effect in male rats. The animals were given water extracts of Chlorophytum borivilianum, and alcohol extracts of Asparagus racemosus and Curculigo orchioides, orally. These plants are also known for their libido-enhancing effect in Ayurveda, the classical Indian system of medicine.

The experiment lasted thirty days. The rats were given a daily dose of 200 mg of extract per kilogram bodyweight. That sounds like more than it actually was: the extract had been diluted five hundred times with water.

In the tables below, Group 1 is the control group, which were given water with nothing added. Group II were given Asparagus racemosus, Group III Chlorophytum borivilianum, Group IV Curculigo orchioides and Group V were given injections twice a week of testosterone propionate.

The rats' weight increased, as a result of both the testosterone and the extracts. But from the study results it's impossible to tell whether that increase was in the muscle department.

Animal study 'proves' androgenic effect of Safed Musli

At the end of the four weeks the researchers measured the amount of glycogen in the muscles of the test animals. To their surprise they discovered that the animals that had eaten more fat [FC and FE] had a considerably higher glycogen level than the animals in the other diet groups.

Animal study 'proves' androgenic effect of Safed Musli

The testes of the rats that were given the plant extracts also increased in weight – as did the testes of the rats that were given testosterone injections. That's strange, as testosterone usually leads to a reduction in testes weight. Do they have a special kind of testosterone proprionate in India that we don’t know about? Dextrorotatory or something like that? Or – dare we say it – are the researchers pulling the wool over our eyes?

Animal study 'proves' androgenic effect of Safed Musli

After all, the extracts also had a growth enhancing effect on the prostate, a marker for androgenic effects.

Animal study 'proves' androgenic effect of Safed Musli

The researchers also brought the rats in contact with females and monitored their sexual behaviour. And bingo! The extract stimulated the animals' mating behaviour.

According to the test results, Chlorophytum borivilianum had a little more effect than the other herbs tested.

We defer judgement on this new miracle plant component. The study is of course promising – too bad we don't trust it.

Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print].

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