Shatavari can mean ‘one hundred roots’ (literally ‘one hundred below’) but is commonly referred to as ‘the woman who has a hundred husbands!’. As this name suggests, it is a renowned tonic for the female reproductive system. It is considered as a uterine tonic building fertility, regulating the menses and supporting lactation.
Shatavari is part of the Asparagus family and is native to tropical and subtropical India but can be found in parts of Africa. It grows in the wild and is also cultivated. The plant is a thorny perennial with striated leaves and is a climber that can grow up to 2m in height with extensive branching. The leaves are delicate and soft but needle-like in shape. Its roots are full, juicy and tuberous and can reach lengths of 1m. Shatavari flowers are white, incredibly small, fragrant and profuse. It is happy growing in humid jungles, shatavari can also thrive in extremely arid conditions. Its capacity to capture and store moisture in dry soils is quite astonishing. It is the tuberous roots that are valued for their medicinal properties.
All around the world the actions of traditional medicines were understood by their immediate sensory impacts. Click on each of shatavari’s key qualities below to learn more:
Shatavari is a renowned tonic for the female reproductive system and contains natural precursors to female hormones that help to balance hormones, enhance fertility, promote conception and reduce menopausal and menstrual symptoms. Shatavarin and Sarsapogenin are the two key constituents in Shatavari. They act as pre-cursors to sex-hormones and are responsible for Shatavari’s oestrogenic activity, but are not phyto-oestrogens. Shatavari contains steroidal glycosides such as diosgenin which influence a strong anti-inflammatory effect, particularly within the reproductive and the digestive systems. This plant is also classed as an adaptogen and contains a proportion of immune stimulating polysaccharides making it particularly nutritive and tonifying to a weakened immune system exacerbated by stress.
The primary use of this plant is as a tonic to the female reproductive system. It can tonify the uterus, giving it strength and nourishment. This in combination with shatavari’s ability to actively enhance the libido, make it an excellent fertility tonic that ensures a healthy and full term pregnancy.
Shatavari is able to balance oestrogen levels in the female reproductive system supporting hormone dominant conditions but also supporting a woman through changes in their menstrual cycle, pre-menstrual tension and the hormonal changes that occur during the menopause.
Shatavari actively stimulates the production of prolactin in breast feeding women, increasing milk flow.
Shatavari contains strong anti-inflammatory constituents that have an affinity for the urinary, reproductive and digestive systems. The plant is also characteristically mucilaginous making it an excellent remedy for hot, dry and irritated mucous membranes. Shatavari is considered as an effective diuretic, making it particularly suitable for clearing congested heat from the kidneys and urinary system. Shatavari will, therefore, help treat inflamed conditions such as cystitis, vaginal dryness but also gastric reflux.
Shatavari is an adaptogen and has an action upon the pituitary gland and the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis). It has a regulating effect throughout the body and is particularly nourishing to a weakened and depleted immune system.
Gynaecology: Shatavari is the foremost female uterine tonic. It is primarily used as a menstrual regulator in dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia and menstrual irregularity. As the pitta dosha moves in both the blood and the artavasrotas, the cycle is often disturbed by excess heat; this heat can condense the blood (due to dehydration), cause it to move too quickly (due to its catalytic activity), cause it to overflow (due to its ‘rebellious’ nature) and cause inflammations (due to its irritating tendency). Its affinity for shukra dhatu tonifies female fertility; the unctuous properties increase the reproductive fluids, enhancing both conception and uterine strength. It can also be used to help prevent miscarriage. Shatavari is very useful in menopausal symptoms with hot flushes, irritability, irregular memory and dryness.
Lactation: The nourishing effect of shatavari on rasa dhatu makes it specific for increasing milk flow and quantity during breastfeeding.
GIT: The unctuous, bitter and sweet qualities of shatavari soothe inflammation of the mucus membranes with high pitta in conditions such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, dysentery with bleeding, inflammation and pain. It is specifically active against Entamoeba histolytica. Shatavari is good for conditions of gastric hyperacidity (amlapitta) with sour reflux and burning in the stomach as it is a cooling anti-inflammatory. Its demulcent properties also make it specifically useful for healing bleeding ulcers and gastritis.
Lungs: Where there is inflammation from dryness and heat, Shatavari increases moisture. It is commonly used in dry coughs, sore throats and haemoptysis.
Male fertility: Shatavari can help improve a low sperm count and irregularity.
Urinary & Kidney: Shatavari is useful in dysuria with hot and smelly urine and haematuria.
Anabolic: Shatavari’s rasayana properties increase mamsa dhatu building body mass, muscle tissue and nourishing the blood. It nourishes the ojas and can enhance immunity in the treatment of cancer.
Nerves: Shatavari nourishes majja dhatu and calms the nerves. It specifically nourishes the brain and reduces vata disorders; spasms, pain and insomnia.
In India, the fresh roots of this plant were traditionally fed to buffalo in order to increase milk yield for their calves.
No drug herb interactions are known.
Traditional Ayurvedic characteristics are
3–30g/day dried or 3–15ml of a 1:3 @ 25% tincture.