What is Shatavari?
Shatavari, or Asparagus racemosus, is a climbing plant that grows natively throughout India in low jungles. Translated as ‘she who possesses a hundred husbands’, it is the primary rejuvenative herb for the female reproductive system (as Ashwagandha is for the male). It helps women transition through all life stages, supporting health of the female organs throughout puberty, reproductive ages, into menopause, and beyond. Shatavari is supportive of fertility and libido and also increases love and devotion.
In addition to supporting reproductive health in males and females, shatavari promotes brain and digestive health. It calms the nerves and nourishes the brain, helping to balance Vata disorders such as spasms and insomnia. Digestive problems such as dryness and inflammation can benefit from supplementation.
Energetically, shatavari is sweet, cool, and bitter. It reduces Pitta and Vata and, in excess, increases Kapha.
Shatavari and Reproductive Health
Shatavari is known for its rejuvenative effect on female reproductive health. It can be used by both men and women, working in a number of ways to support healthy reproduction.
Shatavari can be used by women and men to improve fertility. As an adaptogenic herb, it helps to protect the mind and body from stress. Excess stress can impair fertility, and reduction of stress in both men and women can help to improve fertility. Shatavari can also act as as an estrogen regulator, which can help to promote menstrual cycle regulation and fertility. In men, it can increase the production of semen and thereby improve the likelihood of conception.
Breast Milk Production
Evidence suggests that shatavari may increase breast milk production. Many women have had success with increasing milk supply through supplementation with the herb. It may also improve the quality of breast milk, as it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
Shatavari is used widely by women who are experiencing menopause. Estrogen levels can dip during menopause, resulting in a number of undesirable side effects such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and insomnia. Shatavari contains phyto-estrogens. In some cases it can balance estrogen levels in the body and provide relief from menopause symptoms.
Additional Health Benefits
Shatavari has many health benefits for both men and women, beyond improved fertility:
- Stress reduction
- High in antioxidants
- Nurtures the mucous membranes
- Cleanses the blood
- Supports hormone production, making it good for menopausal women
- Aids digestion
- Acts as an emollient for stiff joints and muscle spasms
- Moisturizes dry and inflamed membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts
- Calms inflammation in the intestines
Shatavari is also used to manage a variety of medical conditions*:
- Urinary stones
- Immune dysfunction
- Sexual debility
- Negative chemotherapy side effects
Shatavari comes in powder, tablet, and liquid extract form. In Ayurveda, it is considered best to use the powdered form, which allows the body to initiate its own rejuvenating mechanisms. The powder can be prepared as a milk decoction, along with ghee, pippali, and raw sugar or honey. Tablets can be taken like any other supplement, and liquid extract can be added to beverages.
Where to Find Shatavari
It is important to find a quality source of shatavari. My favorite company for all Ayurvedic herbs and products is Banyan Botanicals. I trust them for all of my supplement needs and have found Banyan products to be organic, pure, well-sourced, and effective. Organic India has high quality products as well. I am also a huge fan of their Tulsi tea.
Shatavari can be found in bulk powder, tablet, and liquid extract forms. Bulk powder is an excellent option in terms of value, as you can get a larger amount of the herb for a lower cost. It can easily be added to smoothies or dissolved in water. You can even purchase empty capsules and make your own powder tablets.
If you prefer a more convenient option, try the pre-made tablets or liquid extract.
Banyan Botanicals also makes a variety of supplements that contain organic shatavari:
There are no side effects associated with shatavari use, however it should be avoided in some instances. Those with allergic reactions to asparagus should not use the herb, as it is a member of the asparagus family. Women with high prolactin levels or the endocrine disorder hyperprolactinemia should use caution with this herb, as it may promote the production of prolactin.
Shatavari can increase Kapha, so those with excess Kapha should avoid using the herb.
*Always consult with a medical practitioner to treat any serious medical condition.