Shatavari, Asparagus racemosa, is a nourishing tonic for women during all stages of life. It helps to balance hormones & menstruation, enhance libido & fertility and reduce menopausal symptoms. Shatavari is also an adaptogen with a regulating effect throughout the body, helping to nourish a weakened and depleted system.
Shatavari is therefore excellent for rejuvenating fertility, regulating the menstrual cycle and hormonal transition during menopause, enhancing libido and increasing milk flow in breastfeeding women.
The sweet and bitter tastes of this herb give it the perfect energetic qualities to reduce hot pitta and dry vata, while increasing wet kapha. It is regarded as cooling, moistening, heavy and strengthening. These actions are often needed in women's health, where high vata creates depletion leading to menstrual deficiencies. Therefore, shatavari's nourishing properties are employed to rejuvenate the reproductive system, building the volume and quality of menstrual blood and assisting fertility. Its nourishing and cooling properties are also perfect for alleviating the dry-hot flushes of menopause as well as the burning irritation of urinary infections.
In Ayurveda, this herb is known as 'she who has a hundred husbands', referring to both its ability to boost fertility and its physical appearance. Attached to its deceptively slender stem is an extraordinary mass of long succulent roots – some grow up to a metre in length. The name shatavari is derived from the Sanskrit words shat, which means '100' and vri, which means 'root'. The word vari can also mean 'husband', which explains the 'she who has a hundred husbands' nick name.
A Little Bit Of Chemistry
Shatavari contains shatavarins and sarsapogenin which are natural precursors to female sex hormones. These two key constituents in Shatavari are thought to be responsible for Shatavari's hormone balancing activity.
Cultivation & Farming
Shatavari is a member of the asparagus family and looks very similar to its European cousin. Many of us will be very familiar with this family, having enjoyed its delicious tender shoots. Shatavari is native to the Indian subcontinent and can be found growing in surprisingly diverse environments from the humid tropical jungles of Sri Lanka to the foothills of the Himalayas. Although it is happy growing in humid jungles, shatavari can also thrive in extremely arid conditions; an example of a true adaptogen.
Being an extremely adaptable plant, it is hard to pindown its preferred natural habitat. Light sandy soil provides the ideal conditions for its many roots to reach their full potential. It takes 18 months for the plant to grow from seed to being ready for harvest. The harvest itself is no easy task; a large hole has to be carefully dug around the roots so that they are not damaged in the process of pulling them out. It can take up to half an hour per plant, longer if it is deep in rocky ground. Once harvested every single root is carefully peeled to remove the thick outer layer, and then laid out on drying racks where it rapidly dehydrates in the hot desert air.
View our list of Herbs in Ayurveda
This Herb of the Month is provided courtesy of Pukka