It is rare for one plant to be so versatile, yet Shatavari has enjoyed millennia of traditional use — especially for female patients — in Ayurvedic healthcare. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is one of the most powerful rejuvenating herbs in Ayurvedic medicine.
Native to India and the Himalayas, Shatavari is in the same family as common asparagus, and features small, uniform pine needles. The plant produces white flowers and blackish-purple berries. Shatavari has a well-deserved reputation among generations of healers as a plant capable of improving the health of both male and female reproductive issues.
Shatavari is a climbing plant, growing in low jungle environments throughout tropical and subtropical regions of India. It is both sweet and bitter, and particularly balancing to Pitta types, but recommended for all three doshas with the ability to address internal heat.
A Crowned Herb of Ayurveda
Fifth generation Bombay Ayurvedic physician Bharat Vaidya, M.D., said, “If Ashwagandha is the king of Ayurvedic herbs, then Shatavari is the queen, alongside Tulsi. In prakarsha Grihya-sutra — the sacred Hindu texts containing information on Vedic domestic rites and rituals for householders — the herb is regarded in the context of Mula vidhi, the fundamental rule. The ancient Taittriya Aranyaka mentions the herb Shatmula, believed to be Shatavari.”
Shatavari has been roughly translated to mean “100 spouses,” referring to its effects on fertility and vitality. Part of this amazing herb’s legacy, according to Ayurvedic philosophy, is its ability to promote love and devotion.
Shatavari has been roughly translated to mean “100 spouses.” Part of this amazing herb’s legacy, according to Ayurvedic philosophy, is its ability to promote love and devotion.
Dr. Vaidya, director of the Ayurved Sadhana school in Colorado, explained that Shatavari is extensively used for its tonic, immunomodulatory effects, and much more. The herb is an adaptogen, which means that it plays a role in regulating the body’s systems and improving resistance to stress. And it strengthens the immune system by enhancing the functioning of macrophages ― cells responsible for digesting potentially destructive organisms.
“In Kashyap Samhita [a treatise on Ayurveda attributed to the Indian sage Kashyap, one of the seven famed rishis and authors of the Rigveda, 1500-1200 BCE],” noted Dr. Vaidya, “Shatavari is indicated for Vyandhya roga [infertility].” But this is just a fraction of what this herb has been used for over the ages.
In India, without question, Shatavari is the most used herbal treatment for women. Ayurvedic consultant and teacher Dr. Shashikant Patwardhan noted that Shatavari is well known as a female rejuvenative and may be useful in cases of infertility, decreased libido, PMS pain, nursing mothers, menopausal symptoms, threatened miscarriages, menopause, balancing the female hormonal system, and leucorrhea.
Shatavari may also be useful for stomach ulcers, hyperacidity and diarrhea. “Dry and irritated membranes in the upper respiratory tract are soothed by this herb,” said Patwardhan, “making it possibly useful in cases of bronchitis and chronic fevers. It is believed to bring into balance all of the body’s fluids.”
The herb is contraindicated in cases of substantial fibrocystic breast issues, estrogen-induced fibrocystic changes, and other problems that should be discussed with a qualified physician. Ayurvedic doctors also note that Shatavari can mildly increase Kapha if taken in excess, so be careful not to ingest too much if you have a Kapha constitution.
Medical News Today noted that a review of studies published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, 2018, suggests that Shatavari may improve conditions such as hormonal imbalances and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In line with its traditional use as a treatment for female reproductive conditions, recent research suggests that a combination of herbs, including A. racemosus, may reduce common menopausal symptoms. A small-scale study tested the effects of herbal medicine on various menopausal issues in 117 women. After taking Shatavari along with three other herbs for 12 weeks, female participants reported a reduction in hot flashes and night sweats.
A study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease confirmed that Shatavari can help with female reproductive issues, including mood swings, PMS irritation, hot flashes of menopause, and the production of breast milk for nursing mothers. The same study reported that Shatavari is well deserving of its reputation as an Ayurvedic rasayana (lifespan promoter) for slowing the aging process, increasing longevity, imparting immunity, and improving mental function, vigor and vitality to the body and mind. It is also indicated for nervous disorders, dyspepsia, tumors, inflammation, neuropathy, and hepatopathy.
In addition, researchers have concluded that Shatavari may help with heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, inflammation of the urinary tract, and irritable bowel issues. These benefits come from Shatavari’s unique blend of bitter and sweet qualities and phytonutrients that feature nourishing, soothing, and cooling properties that help with many conditions when the body and mind are overheated, depleted, or out of balance. If you’re looking to balance your Vata and Pitta, Shatavari may be the place to begin.
Shashi Alok, Institute of Pharmacy, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India, noted that due to its multiple uses, the demand for Shatavari is high. But because of trends in destructive harvesting, combined with habitat destruction and deforestation, the plant is now considered endangered in its natural habitat.
This is where Organic India makes a difference. The company’s sustainable, organic approach to farming is an exception to the modern rule, and its Shatavari and other important Ayurvedic herbs are grown according to the most careful and harmonious bio-regenerative farming practices that support the integrity of the environment and the nutritious constituency of the plant.