For centuries, shatavari has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for its medicinal benefits. Let’s look at shatavari benefits, shatavari root powder uses, shatavari side effects, shatavari dosage, and how to take shatavari.
There’s no doubt why this amazing herb is known as the ‘Queen of herbs’. Shatavari benefits are numerous, particularly for women.
Shatavari’s benefits include healthy breast milk production, balancing female hormones, relieving menopausal symptoms and so much more.
As you can see, the herb has a special affinity in woman’s health but it’s useful to men as it keeps sperm healthy.
Here’s a quick review of what we’ll cover in this article.
- Shatavari Meaning
- Shatavari Root Uses
- Shatavari Benefits
- How To Take Shatavari Powder + Shatavari Dosage
- Shatavari Side Effects
In Amarkosh‘s ‘The Sanskrit Dictionary’, “Shaten avroniti iti” is called the one with many roots.
The roots of shatavari are the reason behind its name. Shatavari comes from the word ‘Shat‘ meaning ‘one hundred’ and ‘Avar‘ meaning ‘below’.
Literally it translates to the plant with one hundred roots below the ground.1 This refers to the tangle of tendrils and tubers you find when you dig up the plant.
Shatavari also means the one which cures a countless number of diseases. Another synonym is Bahusuta1 or ‘many children’ because it supports fertility.
The botanical name of shatavari is ‘Asparagus racemosus’. Racemosus is derived from the Latin word “racemus” which means cluster or bunch, as it bears clusters of roots.
It is also called shatvirya.1 This means, it gives a hundred times more potency than other herbs, especially strengthening to the shukra or semen dhatu. The word virya can be taken in many ways.
It can simply refer to the potency of the herb. If you use the herb yourself, it can also refer to its effects on you, making YOU more potent and giving you more mental and emotional strength.
It has been compared to a goddess and mentioned as ‘Narayani’ or Lakshmi, the goddess who bestows good fortune.1 Just like a goddess, it also bestows it’s various health benefits to those that take it.
Shatavari Root Uses
Shatavari is sweet and bitter in taste and coolant in nature. It’s cooling properties help in balancing the Pitta Dosha. It is heavy and unctuous, and so it also helps in balancing excess Vata Dosha. Its bitter nature pacifies Kapha Dosha.2
Since ancient times it has been used as a reproductive tonic in Ayurveda for both males and females, most especially females.
Shatavari is useful in every stage of a woman’s life. Its roots are useful in menstruation as it helps in relieving abdominal cramps and spasms. It supports ovulation and fertility. It provides uterine strength and post-pregnancy help in lactation (stanyakari).1
In menopause, it prevents hot flashes and irritability and hence helps women transit easily through the natural phases of life.
It provides strength to the body, due it’s unctuous nature, and hence it is known as Balaya (strength promoting).1
Due to its cooling and soothing nature it coats the mucous membranes in the stomach, aiding the intestine’s ability to respond to excess heat and acid reflux.
It’s bitter and sweet taste helps in balancing the Pitta and Vata Dosha, promoting a healthy appetite. That’s why in the Ayurvedic texts shatavari has been mentioned as agnipustida or ‘that which promotes digestive fire’.1
Shatavari is sukrajanan1 which means, it supports the male reproductive system due to its cooling, sweet, and unctuous property, the same properties of sperm.
According to Ayurveda, like increases like, so shatavari also helps in healthy sperm production and supports a healthy male reproductive system.
Shatavari is mentioned as a rasayana or rejuvenating in many Ayurvedic texts. It is regarded as one of the six most important rasayanas in Ayurveda. Rasayanas promote the general well-being of the body by supporting immunity, vitality, and liveliness of body, mind, and soul.1
Shatavari is strengthening, good for the intelligence and the heart. It is an aphrodisiac and supports healthy vision.1
Shatavari grows throughout the year in every part of India, especially in the north. It has wispy, graceful stems and branches, and thin, needle-like leaves, and delicate flowers. It flowers in autumn.
Quickly, let’s look at the benefits of shatavari, listed here. Below that, we’ll go into more detail on these shatavari benefits.
- Shatavari increases breast milk production to healthy levels.
- It supports the balancing of female hormones and the female reproductive system, as well as the male reproductive system.
- It relieves urinary stones.
- It relieves menopausal symptoms.
- It lowers blood glucose levels.
- It helps in proper digestion.
- It stimulates the immune system.
- It protects the heart.
- It may help in diarrhea and dysentery.
Increases Breast Milk Production
Mother’s milk is the most important nutrient for the baby during the child’s first six months.
It consists of lipids, proteins, enzymes, growth factors, vitamin A, C, B, lysozyme and antibodies and many other factors that build a strong and healthy human being.
Exclusive breastfeeding for six months reduces the risk of diarrhea and respiratory tract infection, which are common with use of formula-fed products. Prolactin hormones directly promote milk production in lactating mothers.
Research on the galactagogue action of the roots of shatavari on 60 lactating mothers with symptoms of deficient lactation showed a significant increase in their lactation due to the presence of active saponins in the plant.3
Supports The Female Reproductive System
It has been seen that shatavari preparations are beneficial in female infertility. In women, the source of energy for the reproductive system is estrogen-dependent glycogen.
Estrogen increases the glycogen in the uterus. Shatavari extract was found to cause an increase in uterine weight and uterine glycogen without altering serum estrogen and progesterone levels.
So it helps in the normal regulation of hormones and supports the reproductive system. Research showed the effects of asparagus racemosus on the oogenesis (development of an ovum) in female rats for a period of 28 days.
It was observed that the asparagus extract stimulated the secretion of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis hormone which resulted in secretion of estrogen and progesterone levels, positively affecting oogenesis in female rats.
If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda and how it can help with feminine health, check out the Ayurvedic Woman course below.
Helps Relieve Urinary Stones
Research has shown that asparagus racemosus extract has protective effects on urinary bladder stones.
It has been seen that due to the diuretic property of A. racemosus, it favors anti-urolithiasis by hastening the process of dissolving stones, by flushing stones or by preventing new stone formation in the urinary system.5
Relieves Menopausal Symptoms
Menopause is a natural process in women as they transit from the reproductive stage of life to the non-reproductive stage. A majority of women face problems like hot flashes, night sweats, palpitation, vaginal dryness and a decrease in the size of the uterus.
Menopausal females have high levels of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone as these hormones help to regulate ovarian cycles.
One common practice to relieve the symptoms of menopause is hormone replacement therapy which has its own adverse side effects.
Shatavari, being a source of natural phytoestrogen (a chemical which mimics the natural hormones) can be effective in reducing menopausal symptoms.6
Lowers Blood Glucose Levels
Research has shown that shatavari root can help lower blood sugar levels. Shatavari works by stimulating the insulin in the pancreas hence maintaining blood glucose levels.
Shatavari enhances the activity of glucose transporters so that more glucose is transported to muscles and cells and less to blood. Therefore more glucose is used as a source of energy.
One study on rats showed that daily administration of shatavari in Type 2 Diabetes increased the secretion of insulin in the pancreas.7 Let’s see some more benefits and uses of shatavari in Ayurveda.
More Shatavari Benefits
Shatavari is mentioned as a digestive supporter in the Ayurvedic texts. It is used to ease and treat digestion related disorders.
It is popularly said that all diseases start in the gut if it is not healthy. Therefore it is important to keep the gut clean and healthy.
Shatavari improves digestion by increasing the activity of the digestive enzymes lipase and amylase. Lipase helps in fat digestion and amylase in digestion of carbohydrates.
Other research has found that shatavari inhibits the release of hydrochloric acid and protects the mucosal lining against damage. Shatavari increases the secretion of mucus that forms a layer between the lining and the acid formed thereby protecting the inner lining of the stomach.8
Stimulates The Immune System
The roots of shatavari wild are widely used in Ayurveda as Rasayana for immunostimulation. It helps the body to fight against diseases and speeds up recovery times.
A research study using steroidal saponins (shatavarin IV potent immunostimulators) against specific th1/th2 immunity and certain antibodies showed significant regulation for immunosuppressed conditions, hence stimulating immunity.9
Regulates Cholesterol Metabolism And Protects The Heart
Cardiovascular diseases are rapidly becoming a major life threatening conditions in many societies throughout the world due to changes in lifestyle and dietary habits.
These diseases occur due to an accumulation of cells containing excessive lipids within the arterial wall. The major cause for cardiac diseases are hypercholesterolemia.
Shatavari root powder has various health-promoting compounds like saponins, flavonoids and ascorbic acid which increases the excretion of cholesterol and increases the antioxidant property in the individual.
It thus can be used to lower bad cholesterol levels which automatically reduces the risk of cardiac diseases.10
May Help Diarrhea And Dysentery
Research has found that shatavari can be used as an herbal remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.
Shatavari benefits include its ability to possibly reduce the frequency of stool and gastrointestinal motility. It further slows down the frequency and volume of stools. It works similarly to Loperamide, a drug used in the treatment of diarrhea.
This effect is attributed to the presence of flavonoids which inhibit intestinal motility. It further reduces the secretion of fluid and electrolytes in the stools. Thus it can be very useful in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.11
How To Take Shatavari + Shatavari Dosage
Shatavari can be taken in the form of a powder, tablet, capsule or liquid extract. Mainly it is taken in root powder form with warm milk, ghee and honey. This increases the absorptivity and effect of the herb. Shatavarai tablets and shatavari capsules are easy to consume and carry and can be used as beneficial supplements.
There are other classical formulations of shatavari which can be used. Shatavari guda or jam (Avleh), shatavari ghee or ghrita (shatavari in clarified butter), Mahanarayan tail (oil) are some examples. Mostly, it is taken in powder form.
Shatavari Powder (Dried Root)
- Shatavari powder can be taken morning and night after food with warm milk or water.
Dosage: 3- 6 g2
Shatavari Guda (Avleh / Jam)
- Shatavari guda can be taken morning or night after food with warm milk or water.
Dosage: 6 g2
Shatavari Ghee Or Ghrita
- Shatavari ghee can be taken morning and night after food with warm water or milk. It should be taken after warming it.
Dosage: 12 g12
Let’s look at some shatavari side effects and contraindications.
Shatavari Side Effects And Contraindications
Shatavari is coolant in its potency and sweet in taste. Excessive intake above the prescribed dose can slightly increase the Kapha dosha mainly in Kapha prakriti (constitution) or in Kapha related ailments, though no adverse effects are reported of shatavari root powder.12
Shatavari slightly inhibits cytochrome P450 enzymes which are prominently involved in drug metabolism, therefore slightly delaying the process of herb effects on the body.
It is contraindicated in individuals who are hypersensitive to shatavari.
Some research has been done which has shown that shatavari might have slight anti-diabetic effects. If it is taken with anti-diabetic drugs, it can show additional effects.13
Shatavari contains phytoestrogens which means it mimics natural estrogen. It can be contraindicated in cases where estrogen is already administered and can increase the effects in the body.14
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using shatavari.
1 K. R. Srikantha Murthy, Bhavaprakash of Bahava Misra, English translation, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, series 2016, Guduchyadi Varga, p. 257.
2 The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, vol IV, s. no. 50, p. 108.
3 Gupta M., Shaw B., A double-blind randomized clinical trial for evaluation of galactagogue activity of Asparagus racemosus Wild. Iran, Journal Pharm Research. 2011. Winter; 10 1: 167- 172. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3869575/
4 Jashni, Hojatollah Karimi, et al. “Effects of Aqueous Extract from Asparagus Officinalis L. Roots on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis Hormone Levels and the Number of Ovarian Follicles in Adult Rats.” International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine, Research, and Clinical Center for Infertility, Feb. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4869160/.
5 Antioxytocic action of saponin isolated from Asparagus racemosus Wild (Shatavari) on uterine muscle. Gaitondé BB, Jetmalani MH, Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1969 May; 179(1):121-9.
6 Mishra D.N, Renu G. A Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of M-3119 in Menopausal Syndrome. Obs. And Gynae. Today, 2000; 12; 749.
7 Antihyperglycaemic activity of Asparagus racemosus roots is partly mediated by inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and absorption, and enhancement of cellular insulin action. Br J Nutr. 2012 May;107(9):1316-23. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114511004284. Epub 2011, Sep 8.
8 Bhatnagar, M, and S S Sisodia. “Antisecretory and Antiulcer Activity of Asparagus Racemosus Willd. against Indomethacin plus Phyloric Ligation-Induced Gastric Ulcer in Rats.” Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17135157#.
9 Immunomodulatory activity of Asparagus racemosus on systemic Th1/Th2 immunity: implications for immunoadjuvant potential. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jan 21;121(2):241-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.028. Epub 2008 Nov 8.
10 Asparagus Root Regulates Cholesterol Metabolism and Improves Antioxidant Status in Hypercholesterolemic Rats, Nishant P. Visavadiya and A. V. R. L. Narasimhacharya., Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Jun; 6(2): 219–226. Published online 2007 Aug 27. doi: 10.1093.
11 Anti-diarrhoeal potential of asparagus racemosus wild root extracts in laboratory animals.N.venkatesan,Vadivu Thiyagarajan,Sathiya Narayanan,Arokya Aruli,Sundararajan Raja, Sengodan Gurusamy Vijaya Kumar, Thandavarayan.R, James .b.p, K.P college of Pharmacy, Tiruvannamalai,
12 Nadkarni A K, Indian Materia Medica (Popular Prakashan, Bombay), 1976, 45.
13 Hannan JMA, Marenah L, Ali L, Rokeya B, Flatt PR, Abdel-Wahab YH. Insulin secretory actions of extracts of Asparagus racemosus root in perfused pancreas, isolated islets, and clonal pancreatic β-cells. J Endocrinol (2007) 192, 159–68.
14 Bopanna N, Saxena S. Asparagus racemosus – ethnopharmacological evaluation and conservation needs. J Ethnopharmacol (2007) 110, 1–15.