Common name: Shatavari
Other names: Shatamuli, Indian asparagus root
Latin name: Asparagus racemosus
Affinities: Reproductive system, digestive system, nervous system
Actions: Rasayana, demulcent, aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, galactogogue, astringent, immunomodulator, reproductive tonic, adaptogen, nervine tonic, aphrodisiac, antidepressant, nootropic
Specific indications: Sexual debility, inflammation of sexual organs, wet coughs, fatigue, anxiety, depression
Diseases: Infertility(3), leucorrhoea(3), menorrhagia(3), urethritis(3), cystitis(3), anxiety(3), CFS(3)
Parts used: Roots
Energetics: Cooling, moistening
Characteristics: The plant, shatavari, which is native to India, is a woody climber that grows to a height of 1-2 metres (Sharma, 2011). The leaves are small, pine needle shaped, and uniformly arranged with tiny white flowers. The name, ‘shatavari’, translates to, ‘who possess a hundred husbands or acceptable to many’.
History: Shatavari is mentioned in the two ancient Hindu texts, the Rig Veda and the Atharvaveda (Winston, 2007). It was recommended as a powerful rasayana that enhances physical strength, youthfulness, and improves memory and intelligence. In both the Charak Samhita and the Ashtang Hridyam, two ancient Ayurvedic texts, shatavari is listed as part of formulas aimed at treating disorders that effect women’s health (Sharma, 2011).
Current applications: Shatavari is considered a general tonic, a more calming adaptogen, and a female reproductive tonic. Shatavari is traditionally thought to increase fertility, libido, reduce inflammation, enhance ovulation, and be effective in leucorrhoea and menorrhagia (Sharma, 2011). Although it is mainly known as a female tonic for fertility and libido, it acts as a reproductive tonic in men as well, and its effects are more far reaching than the reproductive system.
In his text, Adaptogens: herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief, David Winston mentions he finds it useful for women with minor hormonal imbalances that are preventing the conception and also menopausal symptoms such as dryness and low libido (Winston, 2007). He also mentions it is an adaptogen and immune tonic and has use in treating fatigue, poor appetite, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It may be able to increase milk production during lactation. It is a soothing demulcent tonic and has use in reliving urinary, respiratory, and gastric irritation. Shatavari may help urethritis, cystitis, gastric ulcers, irritable coughs with hard to expectorate sticking mucus. Shatavari may be combined with ashwagandha to enhance its effects on the reproductive system and as an energetically balanced tonic formula.
Safety: High, although those with diarrhoea and abdominal bloating may want to avoid the herb.
Dosage: Tincture; 10-60 drops, 2-3 times daily. Capsules; 1-4 400mg capsules daily.
Sharma, Komal. “Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): a versatile female tonic.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archive 2.3 (2011).
Winston, David, and Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co, 2007.