Native to India and a relative to the common asparagus plant, Shatavari is the go-to herb not only for reproductive and hormonal problems, but it’s equally used to quell stress and inflammation. Also called “Satavar,” Shatavari is one of the most powerful rejuvenating herbs in the Ayurvedic medicine cabinet. Shatavari's name is translated as “having one hundred roots” and also referred to as meaning “having one hundred husbands."
Shatavari’s name gives reference to its traditional use as a rejuvenative tonic to help females gracefully transition through various phases of life, including menopause and beyond. And while this herb is known for being a wonderful rejuvenate for females, it has benefits for everyone, including men and children.
Shatavari has been used by Ayurvedic healers for centuries, but only recently have scientists identified the plant’s phytoestrogens — biochemicals with estrogen-mimicking properties. Phytoestrogens are especially important in menopause, the time when female-estrogen levels decline and these plant-based chemicals can supply needed hormones to relieve common menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes or weight gain. Let's discuss some of the key uses for this herb, and what ways it may benefit you.
Healthy Response to Stress
Ayurveda's driving goal is to create a complex system of wellness. In other words, the goal is to create a system that works in harmony with itself. One of this herbs key benefits is it's ability to modulate stress response. As with most Ayurvedic herbs, Shatavari is multidimensional in its ability to simultaneously address many different types of imbalances. As stated on the Organic India website:
National Library of Medicine researchers report that stress is a deeply rooted causative factor in hormonal imbalances. Psychological, physical, and physiological stressors disturb reproductive health by creating reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. These effects are associated with menstrual cycles, ovary function, and female reproductive health disorders. As a result, Shatavari is frequently recommended in Ayurveda to support a healthy stress response, and yet modern medical researchers admit that its mechanisms for healing and balancing the body remain poorly understood in Western research models.
In short, the best way to deal with stressors according to many scientific approaches is to ensure a well balanced hormonal system. And this leads us into the next benefit...
Supporting Female Health
Women’s health requires nutrients for balance, energy, relaxation, and reproductive wellness. In this role, Shatavari has no equal. Shatavari can be used throughout each phase of womanhood, from helping to regulate the menstrual cycle to helping increase female fertility and aiding during pregnancy and beyond. Shatavari benefits for women include increased breast milk production, nourishing the reproductive organs, strengthening female fertility, and providing nourishment to the mother and fetus during pregnancy. It has even been linked to stabilizing one’s mood and emotions during the menstrual cycle.
Support for Lactating Individuals
It is well-known in medical practices that Shatavari is a galactagogue. This means that its primary purpose is to produce more prolactin and corticoids, which will improve the quality of your breast milk and help you generate more of it. Shatavari will also stimulate the steroid hormones that work to enhance your milk production, allowing you to secrete more of the hormone. You’ll also find that the herb can increase your breast weight. Shatavari for lactation is highly beneficial and known to work for most nursing mothers.
Other Amazing Benefits
According to Euphoric Herbals:
It has antioxidant properties, which can help your overall health by preventing cellular damage. You’ll find that Shatavari also contains high amounts of saponins. These are compounds that also feature antioxidant abilities. In 2004, it was found that the Shatavari root also contained racemofuran, as well as racemosol and asparagamine A, all of which are essential antioxidants.
This herb also has anti-inflammatory properties. Racemofuran is an antioxidant, but it also has excellent anti-inflammatory capabilities. Primarily, racemofuran acts like prescription drugs to combat inflammation, such as COX-2 inhibitors. Often, they are used to reduce inflammation in the body without causing serious digestive issues.
Shatavari can improve your body’s immune system, which will help you fight off infections while you’re breastfeeding.
It could help to relieve chronic coughing. In West Bengal, India, the Shatavari root is turned into a juice and used as a natural remedy for coughing. Researchers did find that the root extract did stop cough just as well as some prescription cough medicines with codeine.
This herb can help your digestive system. When you take it regularly, it will help to prevent diarrhea, heartburn, and gastrointestinal tract inflammation.
There are some compounds in the herb, which can act as an antidepressant. Therefore, it can prevent postpartum depression or “the blues” that can often affect new nursing mothers.
Shatavari is also known to be an aphrodisiac. This means that it can help you get into an amorous mood at times.
This herb could act as a diuretic. Diuretics are used to get rid of extra fluid in the body. Often, they are given to people with congestive heart failure to keep the liquid away from the heart. However, prescription medications can have serious side effects. Research has been done, but more is needed to see if Shatavari can be safely recommended in place of prescription medicines.
There is a growing number of studies on Shatavari and its many benefits. A good review of available studies can be found at the following links:
“Plant profile, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): A review.” PubMed extract. Jun 2013.11
“Asparagus racemosus—ethnopharmacological evaluation and conservation needs.” PubMed extract. Mar 2007.12
The Effects of asparagus racemosus supplementation plus 8 weeks of resistance training on muscular strength and endurance.” PubMed extract. Jan 2020.13
“Asparagus racemosus—an update.” PubMed extract. Sept 2003.14
It is important to note that Shatavari is very well tolerated by almost everyone. There are, however, two specific contraindications to note:
If you are allergic to asparagus, avoid Shatavari. It is part of the asparagus family and is likely to have a similar potential for an allergic response.
If you have highly excess kapha, ama, or congestion.
If you are highly sensitive to estrogen, or if you have an estrogen dominant tumor/cancer, avoid Shatavari.
It’s well-known that Shatavari is considered a diuretic. This can cause you to urinate more frequently. Therefore, if you’re already taking a diuretic medication, you should avoid taking this herb.
As with most herbal remedies, you need to take them for several weeks to establish any kind of a benefit. Also, dosages are highly dependent on the individual, but there are of course good guidelines to start with. Consult with an herbalist familiar with Ayurvedic Herbs, or an Ayurvedic Practitioner for more complicated dosing.
At Sacred Health - we carry Shatavari in multiple forms. Capsules, powder, in ghee, and more. Please check out the store for the most current offerings.