Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus, fam. Asparagaceae) is a herb that is commonly available throughout India, Himalayas and Sri-Lanka. It is a prime rasayana (rejuvenative) herbal medicine in Ayurveda and is also known as the queen of herbs.
A climbing plant, this sweet bitter herb is particularly balancing to pitta dosha.
Shatavari has been known through times for its phytoes-trogenic properties. Although it is less potent than human estrogens, it occupies the centerstage as estrogen receptor or inhibitor to balance the estrogen levels in the body.
Shatavari is often called the panacea for women given its effectiveness against hormonal and reproductive imbalances, including premenstrual syndrome, irregular and painful menstruation and menopausal problems as well as other gynaecological issues. It is also known to prevent breast cancer, hypertension and depression during postmenopausal syndrome.
Charak Samhita and Ashtang Hridyam have described the importance of asparagus racemosus in preparation of ayurvedic formulations to treat women’s health disorders. The herb also finds application to stall ageing, increase longevity and treatment of nervous disorders. It is a uterine tonic and also has a galactogogue (that which promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk) effect. It is anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant, anti-diarrhoeal, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and hepato-protective. Shatavari also has adaptogenic activity against a variety of biological, physical and chemical stressors.
To use shatavari, it is necessary only to take the organically grown plant in pure form as an aqueous extract or in powder form and as an ayurvedic formulation. It can be ingested in fresh form too.
RECIPES FROM THE AGELESS DIMENSION, A BESTSELLER ON ANTI-AGEING
Shatavari is an excellent tonic, especially for women. It is available at various health stores in dried form. It is recommended to buy the dried form and pound it in mortar and pestle. Any dry powdered herb or chooran should be discarded after six months as a general rule, as they lose their efficacy after six months.
One tsp shatavari, one dry date, half tsp dry ginger, and one‐cup milk should be cooked over a low flame. When it cools down add one tsp honey to it. Remember honey should never be heated as it produces toxins when heated (people with excess pitta may reduce the quantity of ginger). This preparation helps in nourishing the female reproductive organs.
Charaka Samhita says, ‘one prashtha (portion) cow’s ghee boiled with shatavari (sita var) and ten portions of milk along with raw sugar, pippali and honey, make an excellent aphrodisiac (verse 18, Chikitsa Sthanama).
- Anubha Singh Kanwar and Kamlesh Kumar Bhutani, “Effects of Chlorophytum arundinaceum, Asparagus adscendens and Asparagus racemosus on pro-inflammatory cytokine and corticosterone levels produced by stress. Phytotherapy Research,Vol.24, Issue 10, October 2010.
- Singh Narendra and Gilca Marilena, Herbal Medicine- Science embraces tradition, A new insight into ancient Ayurveda. Book published by Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010.
- Sharma RK, Dash B. Charaka samhita-text with english translation and critical exposition based on Chakrapani Datta’s Ayurveda Dipika. India: Chowkhamba Varanasi; 2003.