Shatavari, also known as the “queen of herbs” is considered as a panacea for various female reproductive system related disorders. It is an all time and all weather herb for nourishment, cleansing and smooth functioning of the reproductive organs of a woman throughout the various phases of her life- puberty, adulthood, pregnancy, childbirth and then menopause. Here are few key facts about shatavari herb:
Original (Sanskrit) Name – Shatavari
Other names – Indian Asparagus, Asparagus roots
Taste – Bitter, Sweet
Quality (nature) – Oily, Heavy
Potency – Cold (it acts as a coolant)
Impact on doshas – Reduces pitta, reduces vata, increases kapha
Parts used – Roots and leaves
Its major constituents include saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, polysaccharides and proteins with traces of B complex vitamins and minerals like Zinc and calcium. Saponins and flavonoids stimulate the body’s natural ability to release hormones. Minerals, vitamins and other phytochemicals make it a suitable dietary supplement for the whole family.
Health Benefits of Shatavari
1. Balances all Bodily fluids
Shatavari has a unique property of balancing all the body fluids. It moisturizes the dried up membranes ( inner linings) surrounding various internal organs – mouth, throat, intestines, lungs, vagina. Hence, it helps in healing various digestive, respiratory and female reproductive system related disorders.
2. Promotes Fertility in women
Sometimes, excessive release of oxytocin hormone causes unwanted contraction of the uterus which results in miscarriage. Shatavari contains saponins which has anti-oxytocin effect that can prevent uterine contractions. It eliminates the problem of vagina dryness and helps in maintaining optimum vagina pH to create the suitable environment for fertility by increasing sperm motility.
3. Promotes Lactation
Shatavari is also known as Mother root in some parts of the world due to its ability to increase the flow of breast milk. It stimulates the production of prolactin hormones to promote lactation. Not only it improves the flow, but, it enhances the nutritional profile of breast milk as well.
4. Regulates the Menstrual Cycles
Shatavari benefits in regulating menstrual cycles and normal ovulation. Being a diuretic in nature, it helps in the release of extra water during monthly periods.
5. Relieve Post Partum (after childbirth) issues
A potent post partum health tonic- increases lactation, improves sleep quality, helps in the smooth involution of the uterus and other genital organs to check bleeding.
6. Relieves Menopause Symptoms
Shatavari is rich in phytoestrogens which mimics estrogens. During menopause, when the level of estrogen falls, these phytoestrogens would come to rescue and minimize various menopause symptoms.
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant nutrients which impart estrogen like action on the female body.
7. Tonic for Digestive Health
It contains mucilage, a gelatin type substance which coats the mucous membrane (inner lining) of mouth, throat, stomach and the intestines to reduce any inflammation and irritation. Hence, it acts as a lubricant for the whole digestive system to treat disorders such as Stomach ulcer, hyperacidity and bowel Inflammation.
Chemically, mucilage is polysaccharides (water soluble fiber) which is easy to digest and non toxic in nature.
8. Promotes Healthy Body Immunity
Being a stress relieving herb with deep nourishing qualities, it is an ideal herbal supplement for the whole family. Promotes good digestive system and a healthy body immunity.
9. An Herbal Adaptogen- Fights Stress and Anxiety
A herb is defined as an adaptogen when it possesses the capability to resist the harmful effects of the long term stress resulting out of any physical, chemical or biological activity. They are known as adaptogens because they adapt their function very intelligently as per the specific demand of your body. Adaptogens are used in one or more of below conditions:
- Intensive physical or mental training
- Radiation Therapy
- Chronic illness
- Chronic stress
Being an adaptogen, it is a stress-fighting herb. It helps the body to cope up with long term stress and anxiety by nourishing and cleansing the nerves to regulate your immune system.
By minimizing the issues related to female reproductive system throughout the female life, it significantly lowers down the stress and anxiety related to these problems.
During the menstrual cycle, symptoms such as headache, stomach pain and irritating behavior are quite common. Shatavari, fortified with stress relieving properties, calms down the nerves and relieves these unwanted symptoms.
10. A potent Antibiotic
Shatavari possesses broad spectrum antibiotic properties to neutralize pathogens (disease causing microbes) to treat various disorders including typhoid, diarrhea and cholera.
In a research study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, March 2013- Shatavari exhibits potent anti-microbial properties with no or very little side effect.
In a research study published in the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, volume 6, 2013- Shatavari possesses significant antipyretic properties. The study attributed this property to saponins and flavonoids content of this herb.
How to Consume Shatavari Herb?
Generally, shatavari is purchased either in powder form or tablet form. Obviously, powder form is preferred over tablets because it is the purest way of consuming this amazing herb. Also, the per dosage cost would be less in powder form.
- Powder form- Start with one quarter to half teaspoon of shatavari powder with warm milk. You may add honey (or sugar) in the milk to taste. For enhanced shatavari benefits, some Ayurveda doctors recommend saffron milk and shatavari. Take it twice a day after meals. Gradually, increase the dosage to one teaspoon twice a day.
- Tablet form- If the taste of this herb is a turn off for you or you are looking for a more convenient option, opt for shatavari tablets.
Other herbal preparations containing shatavari inlcudes:
Shatavari Ghrita (medicated ghee product)
Shatavari Gulam (herbal jam)
How Much to Consume?
Daily dosage varies widely as per the health condition and requirement. To improved lactation and/or smooth functioning of the reproductive system, dosage up to 6 to 8 grams per day is administered. As a general dietary supplement, 1 to 2 grams per day is recommended.
Good to Know
Natural/ herbal products takes time to show results. Hence, regular intake for several weeks would bring safe and long lasting results. Making healthy, positive changes in the diet and lifestyle are pre-requisite to get the maximum benefits of natural herbs.
Shatavari Side Effects and Precautionary Measures
Generally, shatavari is safe for people of all ages and sex.
Being a part of asparagus family, shatavari should be avoided if you are allergic to asparagus. If you experience skin rashes or difficulty in breathing, you may be allergic to asparagus.
Shatavari can have a diuretic effect. Hence, if you are taking diuretic medicines (to get rid of excess water and salt from the body), shatavari can interfere with those medicines.
Shatavari herb is rich in phytoestrogens. Women with estrogen sensitivity should be cautious in consuming shatavari. Breast tenderness, weight changes (mostly, increase in weight) and sometimes, enlargement in breast size can occur. Hence, do keep a close watch on your weight and breast size. Although, in most of the cases, the impact of phytoestrogens would be quite mild and goes unnoticed. Still, doctor’s consultation is advised if any of the above mentioned symptoms persists.
At last, but not the least, if you are dealing with any particular health condition- particularly related to heart or kidney, do consult your physician before consuming shatavari.
Always use shatavari herb supplements of a reputed brand. Mild variation in color, aroma and taste may occur due to batch variation.