Posted by ORGANIC INDIA USA on May 29, 2014
We get a lot of questions concerning the use of Shatavari compared to the popular herb Maca. Both are great herbs to support female reproductive health and have a variety of uses.
General Info about Maca
Maca's active constituents are alkaloids called macamides which work on the body through the hypothalamus and adrenal glands, hence its mood, energy, and hormone balancing effect. If you put Maca on a chart with Ashwagandha and Shatavari, it would fall somewhere in the middle of the these two. It is very similar to both, however it lacks some of the particular immuno-modulating properties of both Shatavari and Ashwagandha. Maca also does not contain the phytoestrogens or androgens that Shatavri and Ashwagandha have. The root of the Maca plant is also rich in zinc and copper which are both important for fertility.
General Info about Shatavari
One of the most interesting things about Shatavari is in the phytoestrogens it contains. Phytoestrogens are very controversial these days, but that seems to be because there is confusion in consumers minds about the difference between plant estrogens found in processed soy and plastics which have a very different effect on the body than the phytoestrogens contained in Shatavari. The phytoestrogens in Shatavari both balance hormone levels and bind to estrogen receptors and preserve them from damage caused by unnatural and toxic phytoestrogens contained in processed soy products, plastics and other chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc that people are exposed to on a daily basis. This is particularly confusing for many people because the same term is used to refer to estrogens contained in plants and in the toxins mentioned above. I compare the difference in these estrogens to the difference in the vitamins contained in a whole food vitamin supplement which contains an array of cofactors that are required for your body to be able to use the vitamins effectively and the vitamins in a synthetic vitamin supplement, where the synthetic version of the vitamins actually are toxic without those cofactors. It is the same thing with toxic estrogens and estrogens in a whole plant. However, a person with naturally excessive levels of estrogen may want to avoid taking Shatavari, and instead use Maca or Ashwagandha.
One of the more notable differences in Maca and Shatavari is the difference in the immuno-modulating properties. In fact, more modern research on Shatavari's immune enhancing properties has been done than on Maca. It appears that Shatavari is the winner in this department.
Which would be better – Maca or Shatavari? Is there a situation where one is preferred over the other? Can they be used together?
Q: General use examples for PMS – Menopause – Preg – Breastfeeding?
In closing: It is so hard for consumers to decide on which herb will be best suited to their needs with all of the available options. But one of the most wonderful thing about whole herbs is that they very rarely have a negative effect on the body, so my approach is to take an assortment of Rasayan Herbs (tonics) every day to keep my health at an optimal level. One thing that might help consumers need is to tell them that these herbs are really food for your body, and just as important as the meals they eat, so as with the foods on your plate, variety is a really good thing! And very worth the investment because when you have health you truly have wealth.