Shatavari or Indian asparagus (Asparagus racemosus) is a climber with woody stems and leaves that resemble pine needles. Though this plant shares the same genus (Asparagus) with the edible asparagus (Asparagus Officinalis), both are different species. Native to India, Shatavari is a plant that is widely popular in the country, as a herbal medicine. In fact, the benefits of Shatavari have long been identified by the Indians, and it is one of the highly-valued herbs used in 'Ayurveda'.
It is the roots of these plants that are used for medicinal purposes. The Shatavari plant has numerous lengthy, tuberous roots with tapering ends. It is said that even a single plant can produce around hundred roots, which are slightly sweet in taste. The roots are dried and used for treating various medical conditions, especially those relating to the female reproductive system. It is mainly used as a rejuvenating herb for females. The Sanskrit meaning for Shatavari is 'hundred roots ('shata' for hundred and 'vari' for roots'). It is also interpreted as, "she who possesses a hundred husbands", indicating the herb's use in promoting female reproductive health. The plant is also known as 'bahusuta', which means many children. This name also indicates the herb's efficacy in boosting fertility.
For Female Health
- Shatavari is claimed to be beneficial for maintaining hormonal balance in females, by regulating the rate of hormonal secretions in the body.
- It nourishes the female reproductive organs and also enhances fertility. It is used for treating irregularities in ovulation and menstruation.
- Being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, Shatavari is said to be useful for reducing inflammation of the reproductive organs during menstruation.
- The herb is also used for providing relief from menstrual pain and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It also aids in controlling blood loss during menstruation.
- The herb is said to be good for women with low estrogen levels, as it contains phytoestrogens. Shatavari is used to increase sexual desire and to counter conditions, like vaginal atrophy.
- According to the exponents of this herb, it can enhance production of breast milk in nursing females. It is one of the popular galactagogues that has been used for a very long time.
- Gastrointestinal Health: Shatavari has long been used as a digestive tonic. It aids in the process of digestion, and at the same time reduces inflammation caused by conditions, like Crohn's disease and ulcers.
- Stress Relief: Shatavari benefits include its use in combating stress. It is believed that the herb is useful for protecting the body from the damage that can be caused by stress and anxiety.
- Male Fertility: When it comes to infertility problems, the use of this herb is not limited to females. Shatavari is recommended for males who have problems like low sperm count and loss of libido.
- Nutrition: Shatavari is also known for its nutritive and immunity-boosting properties. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. So the herb is also recommended as a tonic.
- Anti-microbial Agent: The herb is also found to be useful for preventing vomiting and diarrhea caused by bacteria like, E. coli and dysenteriae. Studies show that Shatavari shows a strong antimicrobial activity, and works against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria, like Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, etc.
To conclude, very little research is done on Shatavari, its therapeutic properties, and possible side effects. Though the herb is considered safe, it would be advisable to consult a qualified herbal practitioner, and use it as per his/her instructions. You may also seek the opinion of your doctor, before starting any herbal treatment.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.