Shatavari

Introduction

Shatavari, or Asparagus racemosus, has been used for centuries in Ayurveda as an aid for the reproductive system, particularly for females, and as a support for the digestive system, especially in cases of excess pitta.

Translated as “having one hundred roots” and also referred to as meaning “having one hundred husbands” (1,2), Shatavari’s name gives reference to its traditional use as a rejuvenative tonic for the female reproductive system.  This support is not only for the young woman, but also for the middle aged and elder lady, to help a woman gracefully transition through the natural phases of life, including menopause (3).

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Benefits of Shatavari

The nourishing properties of Shatavari are used traditionally to support a number of systems and functions in the body (1):

  • A prime female reproductive system
  • Healthy levels of breast milk production
  • Supports already balanced female hormones
  • Supportive of male reproductive system as well (4)
  • Soothing effect on the digestive tract
  • Healthy peristalsis of bowels (6)
  • Moisturizing support of the respiratory tract
  • Promotes healthy energy levels and strength
  • Supports the immune system.
  • Natural antioxidant properties (7)

Shatavari and Ayurveda: Traditional Uses

Shatavari is used in Ayurveda to balance pitta and vata, but can increase kapha due to its heavy nature.  Its bitter and sweet taste has a cooling effect on the system, and its unctuous (oily), building nature makes it a great support for anyone looking for a nourishing, grounding effect (1).  These combined qualities make it a rasayana (rejuvenative) for the reproductive system (particularly female), the digestive system (particularly when pitta is involved), and for the blood (3).

How to Use Shatavari

Shatavari can be taken as a powder or in tablet form.  Ayurveda prefers the powder form of herbs because tasting the herb starts the digestive process and sends signals to the body to initiate the body’s own supportive mechanisms.

Shatavari powder (about ½ to 1 tsp for starters) is traditionally taken mixed in a glass of warm milk, with honey or sugar if desired.  It can also be mixed with ghee, or actually cooked into an herbalized ghee, to reap its building and nourishing benefits (4).

Shatavari tablets can be easier to use for those who desire the convenience of a tablet (traveling, on the go, at the office), or do not like the taste of the powder.  You can still follow the tablets with a glass of warm milk if desired, or take with warm water.  Banyan Botanicals prefers tablets over capsules as there is still some mild tasting of the herb that occurs.  Taste starts the digestive process, and sends signals to the body as to what to expect, already initiating your body’s own inner pharmacy.

Modern Research

While there are not a lot of recent studies done in the West with Asparagus racemosus, a good review of available studies can be found at the following links:

Side Effects

Shatavari is well tolerated in traditional use, and no significant adverse effects have been reported.

Contraindications

Shatavari, as part of the asparagus family, should be avoided by anyone with an allergy to asparagus.

Some say that asparagus can have a diuretic effect, and therefore, Shatavari should be used with caution in people taking diuretic drugs (5).

From an Ayurvedic perspective, one should avoid Shatavari in cases of excess kapha, congestion and ama (2,3).

In the West, as the exact role of phytoestrogens is still unknown, people with estrogen sensitivities, including estrogen sensitive tumors, are advised to use caution with foods and herbs containing phytoestrogens, which would include Shatavari (8,9).

Always consult your health care practitioner if you have questions related to your particular condition.

Buying Shatavari

Shatavari is most commonly purchased as a bulk powder or as a tablet. The advantage of buying it in bulk is that it is significantly cheaper on a per use basis and it allows one to take the herbs in the most traditional way.  Tablets are considered by many to be a quicker, more convenient method of taking the herbs along with providing the option of not having to taste the herbs. Many Ayurvedic practitioners feel that their clients are more likely to take the herbs if they are provided in tablet form.

In addition to powder and tablets of Shatavari, Banyan Botanicals also uses organic Shatavari in several of its products:

When choosing a supplier of Shatavari there are a variety of questions to consider relating to quality of the herbs, the values of the company, the impact on the environment, and the price of the product in relation to these standards of quality.

Is the supplier able to trace the herbs back to the field they were grown in?

Traceability of the herbs from field to shelf allows the supplier to know where and how the herbs were grown and when they were harvested.

Banyan works with suppliers that keep a record of the journey of the herb, tracing it back right to the actual farm.

Are the plants sustainably harvested?

The Shatavari plant is a thorny climbing vine, with white fragrant flowers and red berries; it is relatively abundant in many parts of India.   The part of the plant used as both food and as an herbal supplement is the root, which has a long white tuber.  (1,2).  All herbal companies have a choice in gathering Shatavari, like most other herbs: they can be harvested on private farms where sustainability can be managed, or they may be wild-harvested legally from their natural habitats, and sometimes they are taken illegally, threatening long-term sustainability.

To ensure sustainability, Banyan sources Shatavari that has been cultivated on privately owned farms.

Are the farmers looked after for their labor?

Banyan strongly believes in making sure the farmers are cared for as a part of the supply chain.  The farms we source from are inspected to make sure they are following fair-trade principles.

Are the herbs organic?

As Banyan sources from private farms, it is able to ensure that organic farming methods are followed, and you can therefore rest assured that your herbs have not been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.  Banyan’s Shatavari is USDA certified organic.

About Banyan Botanicals

Banyan Botanicals was established in 1996 as your reliable and knowledgeable source for Ayurvedic herbs and products.  To support the planet and your health, we are committed to products that are pure, USDA certified organic, vegetarian, sustainably sourced and fairly traded.  Let us know how we can support you on the path of Ayurveda.

If you would like to purchase Shatavari and are new to Banyan Botanicals click here to receive a 10% discount on your first purchase.

Resources

  1. Pole, Sebastian.   Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice.  Churchill Livingston; 2006.  271-272.
  2. Simon, David and Deepak Chopra.  The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook.  Three Rivers Press, New York; 2000.  73-75.
  3. Frawley, David, and Vasant Lad.  The Yoga of Herbs.  Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin; 2001.  183-184.
  4. Acharya Balkrishna.  Secrets of Indian Herbs for Good Health.  Divya Prakshan, Hardwar; 2008.  383-386.
  5. http://www.naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/asparagus.asp#
  6. Dalvi S. S., P. M. Nadkarni and K. C. Gupta. 1990. Effect of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) on gastric emptying time in normal healthy volunteers. Journal Postgrad Med, 36:91-4.
  7. Wiboonpun, N.  et al.  Identification of antioxidant compound from Asparagus racemosus.  Phytother Res.  2004 Sept; 18(9):771-3.
  8.  http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/diet/fs1.phyto.cfm
  9. http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=abstract&id=541704
  10. Williamson, Elizabeth.  Major Herbs of Ayurveda.  Churchhill Livingstone; 2002.  51-54.

Customers that are interested in Shatavari for rejuvenation may also be interested in Ashwagandha

10 Responses to Shatavari

  1. assanandmehta says:

    this whole page has updated my knowledge on this useful plant i am already a user of this herb

  2. Dhanashree says:

    Hi
    I am a 33 yrs old female. I have PCOS. My periods are irregular from begining. I have one son and trying to get pregnant.
    I have been taking Bitter Gourd juice from last 6 months. Will Shatawari help me to regularise my periods ? If yes..can I continue taking Bitter Gourd Juice with Shatawari?

    • banyan says:

      Dear Dhanashree: It is best to discuss your situation with a health care practitioner to decide if Shatavari is the best herbal supplement for you. There are multiple factors to be considered to properly address your question, including PCOS, metabolism, hormonal balance, and safety in pregnancy. As an herbal supplement company, the FDA limits what we can say about addressing specific health conditions. There are no known contraindications in the literature between taking Shatavari and Bitter Gourd Juice. However, a practitioner would be best suited in this complicated situation to say if Shatavari would be the right herb for you. From an Ayurvedic perspective, Shatavari is better suited for pitta/vata type of constitutions, and balancing pitta/vata in the hormonal system; it can cause imbalance of kapha if that is already an issue.

  3. udesh pal says:

    My wife is having cyst in her breast. Whether shatwari is good for her

    • Banyan Banyan says:

      Udesh: This question is best addressed by a qualified health practitioner as they will be able to determine the precise cause of the cyst. In Claudia Welch’s book she state’s “I generally recommend that women with signs of estrogen dominance, like fibrocystic breasts or uterine fibroids, avoid herbs like shatavari- a famous Ayurvedic herb commonly used for women’s complaints- that is thought to be especially rich in phytoestrogens.” For a complete discussion purchase her book http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/prodinfo.asp?number=9620

  4. Athena says:

    I had understood that shatavari was helpful for vata or pitta women with breast cancer. When I read “people with estrogen sensitivities, including estrogen sensitive tumors” may not benefit from it I am wondering what to do. I was planning to use shatavari and ashwagandha for breast tumors and cysts. What do you think?

    • banyan says:

      Quoting from Claudia Welch’s book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life “I generally recommend that women with signs of estrogen dominance, like fibrocystic breasts or uterine fibroids, avoid plants like soy and herbs like Shatavari that are thought to be especially rich in phytoestrogens.” I would recommend reading her book to find out more about what you can do to improve breast health.

  5. Ratnaparkhi vivek says:

    we requir shatavri in large quantety for cattel feed pl. send your rates and terms and coundetions for delling

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