Coined as the “Queen Of Herbs”, Shatavari has been used for centuries as a hormone balancer and a general tonic to uplift female health and libido. Being a powerful adaptogenic herb, it not only relieves one from physical and emotional stress but also manages diabetes mellitus, prevents high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and helps in the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections, oedema, infertility, depression and cancer.
Shatavari in Sanskrit means “the plant with hundred roots” owing to the roots of this natural herb that are enriched with medicinal properties and are regularly used in the preparation of various ayurvedic formulations. Some scriptures also mention the plant as “one with hundred husbands” since the plant is extremely beneficial for enhancing women health and promotes libido in women.
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What is Shatavari?
This female-friendly herb, which is obtained from the roots of the Asparagus racemosus tree belongs to the Liliaceae family. It was botanically first discovered in the year 1799 and was considered as one of the essential Ayurvedic herbs imbued with extensive health benefits and a staple ingredient in many Ayurvedic formulations.
The plant is native to Australia, Africa, China, India and certain parts of Asia. It is usually branched, woody, spinous climbing shrub that grows to height or length of 1-2 metres. Although the plant prefers well-drained, fertile clayey-loamy to sandy-loamy soil, it also thrives well in rocky, gravelly soils. The plant is also found growing in thickets, forests, moist places, shady places, scrubby jungles, forest borders, hilly slopes, fallow lands and plains from the coast.
The plant usually characterizes bell-shaped, scented, racemose white flowers with a pink tinge, which generally blooms from June to July. These flowers are followed by three-lobed globose berries that are initially green when raw but turn blackish-purple as they ripen and have an unusual bitter-sweet taste. The seeds embedded within are brittle and black in colour. As the name signifies, this plant has hundreds of roots in a fusiform manner that are succulent, tuberous and spindle-shaped. Leaves are usually pine-needle shaped and are shiny green in colour and the stem is woody and sparsely covered with curved spines. The roots having medicinal properties are light ash coloured on the outside and milky white inside and have longitudinal wrinkles throughout the surface.
Just like the name suggests, Shatavari is an absolute remedy for almost 100 types of diseased conditions. Be it regularising female hormones, managing menopausal symptoms, enhancing milk production, preventing blood clots, maintaining a healthy heart, treating rheumatism, relieving depression, enhancing mood, and aiding in weight loss, this incredible root powder does it all.
Common Names Of Shatavari
The herb is known by different names in different parts of the world. Some of the common names of the plant include Asparagus-fern, Indian Asparagus, Sataver White, Sparrow Grass, Satawari, Buttermilk Root, Water Root, Climbing Asparagus, Sataver Yellow, Wild Asparagus, Wild Carrot and Mang Tay.
The holistic science of Ayurveda knows the plant by the names Shatapadi, Dveepika, Satamuli, Satavirya, Vari, Sukshmapatra, Indavari, Peevari, Madabhanjani, Bahusuta, Rushyaprokta, Narayani, Atirasa, Dveepishatru, and Urdhvakantaka.
Names In Other States
In the Indian subcontinent, the Queen Of Herbs as Sahanspal, Satavar, Satawari, Sahansarmuli, Shatavri, Shatavir, Satmuli, and Sootmooli, in Hindi, Kilavari, Thanni vuttaan kodi, Shadavaree, Sadha valli, Sathaavari, Kadamoolam, Tuviputturu, and Tannir-vittan in Tamil, Shatamul in Bengali, Challa gaddalu, Ettavaludutige, Challagadda, Pilligaddalu, Phillitaga, Pilligaddal, Pilliteegalu, Shatavri, and Abiruvu in Telugu, Chatavali in Malayalam and Challagadda, and Hiranyasringi in Sanskrit.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Shatavari
Ayurveda, the holistic science of herbal remedies has extensively mentioned this herb time and gain in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include, Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Jvara (useful in fever), Kasahara (Relieves cough, Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Prameha (manages diabetes), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Rasayani (rejuvenates the whole body), Balya (improves muscle strength), Gulmajit (useful in abdominal tumours), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Chakushya (treats eye problems), Garbhaprada (treats infertility), Vamanopaga (treats emesis), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Pandu (treats anaemia), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Medhya (improves intelligence), Varnya (improves complexion), Kshayajit (treats tuberculosis), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Kanthya (improves voice), Arsha (treats piles), Krichra (treats painful micturition) and Pushtida (good for nutrition).
What Are The Chemical Components Of Shatavari?
Shatavari, the cure of hundred diseases, is blessed with an abundance of phytochemicals that not only strengthens the immune system but also shields the body against a vast number of infections and promote overall health and well-being. The active constituents present in Shatavari also help in treating carcinogenic conditions. These chemical components that bestow the plant its medicinal properties include steroidal saponins known as shatavarins, oligosaccharides, mucilage, isoflavones, alkaloids, flavonoids like rutin and quercetin and sterols such as sitosterols.
Apart from the bioactive components, the plant parts are also imbued with an excellent source of healthful nutrients and minerals such as manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, potassium, selenium, calcium, and magnesium. Besides containing vitamins like Vitamin A and ascorbic acid, the plant also shoes presence of essential fatty acids like gamma-linolenic acid that hold high significance in treating conditions like hypercholesteremia, heart disease, depression, diabetes and arthritis.
This guggulu preparation having the main ingredient as Shatavari is generally used for pacifying the aggravated Vata Doshas, stimulating the neuromuscular functions, strengthening the muscles, revitalizing the nerves and treating conditions like paralysis and hemiplegia.
1 Part Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
1 Part Giloy (Guduchi) – Tinospora cordifolia
1 Part Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) – Withania somnifera
1 Part Padmaka (Padmakh) – Prunus cerasoides
1 Part Pippali (Long Pepper) – Piper longum
1 Part Saunf (Fennel Seeds) – Foeniculum vulgare
1 Part Ajwain (Carom Seeds) – Trachyspermum ammi
1 Part Sonth (dried ginger) - Zingiber officinale
1 Part Gandha Prasarini – Paederia foetida
1 Part Gokshura – Tribulus terrestris
1 Part Rasna – Pluchea lanceolata
1 Part Kachur (Zedoary) – Curcuma zedoaria
12 Parts Shuddha Guggulu - Commiphora wightii
Cow’s Ghee (according to requirement)
Powder all the herbal ingredients separately.
Keep it under direct sunlight to remove the presence of moisture.
Sieve it properly to remove impure solid particles.
Now add some amount ghee in a mortar and pour the purified guggulu in it.
Use the pestle to convert it into a fine powder.
Add the remaining powdered herbal ingredients one by one along with the addition of ghee.
Keep mixing everything until a semisolid consistency is reached.
Use your palms to roll out Vatakam or laddoo of this herbal mixture.
You can store it in glass jars like a cool dry place for future use.
How To Take Shatavari Guggulu?
Take 1 -2 vatakams twice a day with an equal amount of water or warm milk on an empty stomach, or 1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.
Health Benefits Of Shatavari
Shatavari For Female Reproductive System
Touted as a powerful female-friendly herb, Shatavari helps in treating numerous hormonal problems. Not only does it help in treating endometriosis (i.e. inflammation of the lining of the uterus) but also maintains hormonal levels within the blood, strengthens the female reproductive organs and enhances maturation of the eggs into follicles. Being a powerful uterine tonic, regular use of this formulation or consuming foods that improve fertility may be very helpful when an individual is trying to conceive. Also Read: Top Most Fertility Foods
Shatavari Enhances Libido
Boasted for being a natural aphrodisiac, Shatavari helps in reducing mental stress and anxiety and stimulates the hormones for increasing libido in both men and women. It also increases virility and stamina in men.
Shatavari For Male Reproductive System
Although Shatavari is mostly used for the female reproductive system, it is also beneficial towards improving men’s health. The root powder has powerful spermatogenic properties that are extremely useful for treating teratospermia (i.e. abnormal sperm shape), oligospermia (i.e. low sperm count), hypospermia (low volume of semen), asthenozoospermia (i.e. sperm motility), and enhances spermatogenesis (i.e. sperm production). Being a natural antioxidant, it improves the production of male hormones like testosterone and luteinizing hormone. It also treats conditions like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Shatavari For Lactation
Coined as a powerful galactagogue, Shatavari holds high significance in lactating women to boost the secretion of milk from the mammary glands. This is extremely beneficial towards the young ones since breast milk is ideal for their nourishment and strengthening their immune system. It not only heals the new mom after childbirth but also helps in improving the production of breastmilk for feeding the newborn. One such potent herbal formulation is Shatavari Kalpa.
Shatavari Kalpa is an ancient ayurvedic concoction of shatavari and elaichi that not only enhances the production of breast milk but also reduces pain, fatigue and general weakness in the mother. It bestows energy and overall nourishment to the new mom and effectively balances the Pitta and Vata doshas. Apart from the new mom, this formulation can also be taken by women of all ages to improve immunity and stamina during their menstruation, post-natal period and also during pregnancy.
Each 10 gm of the formulation contains:
4 g Shatavari - Asparagus racemosus root
0.05 g Elaichi/ Cardamom - Ela Elettaria cardamomum
5.95 g Sharkara or Sugar
Wash both elaichi and shatavari under running water.
Keep it under the sun for 4-5 days until all the moisture content gets removed.
Grind both of them together into a powder.
Pass the powdered herbs through sieve no.100 to get a fine mixture.
Melt sugar in a large bottom vessel.
Add the powdered herbs to it.
Allow it to cool and then roll them into small granules.
Dry the granules completely.
Store in a container in a cool dry place for future use.
Pharmacological Actions Of Shatavari Kalpa
Anti-inflammatory: Reduces pain and inflammation during menstrual flow and also after a sudden abortion.
Antioxidant: Neutralize the free radical damage on the skin due to harmful sun rays.
Carminative: Prevents the formation of gas thereby treats flatulence and abdominal distension.
Estrogenic: The presence of estrogenic compound or phytoestrogen in Shatavari effectively balances estrogen levels, stops bleeding, and supports the restoration of the endometrium.
Galactagogue: This action promotes lactation in women when taken in prescribed doses.
1-2 teaspoon preferably with warm milk, twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening or as directed by the ayurvedic practitioner or doctor.
Shatavari For Hormone Regulation
Shatavari is known for its influence on the adrenal glands. Imbibed with phytoestrogenic bio-active components, Shatavari is crucial in keeping the hormonal balance, battling menstrual cramps, and providing relief from mood swings, depression, insomnia, hot flashes, sweating etc during the menstrual cycle. A prescribed amount of root powder not only helps women beat PMS symptoms but also facilitates hormone regularisation in women trying to conceive.
Other Benefits Of Shatavari:
Promotes Cardiac Functioning
Shatavari is one such ayurvedic herb that has been found to have a positive effect on the heart. Being a natural antioxidant and a cardio-protective herb, it plays a crucial role in treating a host of heart ailments. It relaxes the cardiac system, by soothing the mind, which is extremely advantageous for patients suffering from arrhythmias and palpitations. It is also beneficial in strengthening the heart muscles, dropping cholesterol levels in the blood and preventing lipid accumulation, which in turn reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart blocks, heart attacks, blood clots, etc. Also Read: Top 10 Superfoods For A Healthy Heart
Shatavari is known as an excellent digestive herb. The anti-flatulent property of the root powder of this climber reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus preventing flatulence, bloating and abdominal distension. It also reduces indigestion, increases appetite, and promotes better absorption of nutrients in the body. The abundance of fibre in the root powder makes this a potent remedy for constipation and other digestive issues. Also Read: Digestive Disorders: 7 Ways To Improve Gut Health
Mix 1 tbsp of the root powder in warm water and add a pinch of honey to it. Drink it once regularly to treat indigestion.
Treats Wounds And Ulcers
The powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties of shatavari roots play a key role in treating different types of ulcers like peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, canker sores, or mouth ulcers, etc. The bioactive composites in the plant encourage tissue regeneration and the juice extracted from the leaves is also used for dressing wounds.
The excellent hypoglycaemic property of shatavari plays a significant role in alleviating the blood sugar level of the body. The production of insulin from the pancreatic β-cells becomes active on taking shatavari root powder. It helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels. Also Read: Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Remedies Respiratory Troubles
Shatavari is considered as an absolute remedy for all sorts of respiratory troubles. Owing to its prevailing anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, the root powder holds high significance in treating the common cold, cough and flu symptoms. It also thins and loosens rheum deposits within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus. It is also beneficial in treating bronchitis and asthmatic conditions. Daily intake of this herb fortifies the lung tissues and augments lung health.
Prevents Anxiety and Depression
Being a potent mood enhancer, Shatavari is beneficial for treating different types of psychotic problems like depression, dementia, etc. It stabilises the Vata and Pitta doshas in the body which in turn keeps the serotonin level under control and helps to reduce various symptoms of anxiety which includes uneasiness, restlessness, cold hands, and feet, etc. The potent antidepressant properties of the herb also help in calming the mind, reducing irritability and improving energy and stamina. Also Read: Anxiety Attacks? Here’s How You Deal With It
Aids In Weight Loss
The wealth of flavonoids in shatavari, helps the body shed excess weight faster. Being loaded with dietary fibres and essential nutrients, when taken regularly, shatavari not only satiates the hunger pangs but also prevents overeating, hence playing a crucial role in one’s weight loss regimen.
Effect On Doshas
Shatavari, the queen of herbs, is sanctified with Madhura (i.e. sweet taste) and Tikta Rasa (i.e. bitter taste) and Guru (i.e. heavy) and Snigdha Guna (i.e. unctuous or oily quality). It inherently portrays Shita Virya (i.e. cold potency) and Madhura Vipaka (i.e. sweet metabolic taste). Being heavy and oily, it appeases the Pitta (fire and air) doshas and Vata doshas (i.e. air) whereas having a sweet metabolic taste and cold potency, the herb often aggravates the Kapha (earth and water) doshas. Owing to the essential properties and doshas, the herb has a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) which are Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids). Also Read: Introduction To Ayurveda: Learn About Vata, Pitta And Kapha Doshas
The ayurvedic properties help in portraying the following main prabhabs on the body which are, Tridoshahara (i.e. corrects the imbalance of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), Kshayapaha (i.e. improves exhausted body tissues and treats chronic respiratory conditions like tuberculosis), Kshataksheenahara (i.e. helps in wound healing), Pittasrahara (i.e. good for bleeding disorders like rectal bleeding, nasal bleeding and menorrhagic conditions), Stanyada (i.e. enhances lactation) and Shukrala (i.e. improves sperm quality and motility.
The effective therapeutic dosage of Shatavari may vary from person to person depending upon the age, body strength, effects on appetite, severity, and condition of the patient. It is firmly recommended to consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner as he or she would evaluate the patient’s indications, past medical conditions and prescribe an effective dose for a specific period.
Churna or Powder: or ¼ to ½ tsp consumed twice a day, mixed with milk, juice, or warm water.
Arishta or Aqueous Tincture: 1-2 tsp, twice a day
Vati or Tablet/ Capsule: 1-2 vatis, twice daily
Kashayam or Juice - 2-3 tsp once a day
Avaleha or Paste: ¼ - ½ tsp
Although the plant has been reported being extremely beneficial in treating umpteen health conditions, it is still necessary to consume its prescribed amount. An excess of it may lead to certain complications. People having an allergic reaction to the asparagus plant family should avoid consuming Shatavari formulations. These allergic reactions can be in the form of rashes, itchy eyes & skin, dizziness, fast heart rate or worsening of asthma symptoms.
Since time immemorial, Shatavari, “the Queen Of Herbs” has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures as an ultimate remedy owing to its enormous health benefits. This incredible medicinal herb is classified as an adaptogen and helps in normalising stress and anxiety. Being a potent aphrodisiac, it improves libido, treats various infertility issues and improves the reproductive health in both men and women. It also ensures better functioning of the heart, controls diabetes, treats eye problems, aids in digestion and thus improves overall stamina and body immunity.