Shatavari is one of the main Ayurvedic rejuvenating tonics for women and is considered both a general and a reproductive tonic. Translates to “100 Spouses” denoting its ability to enhance fertility and vigour.
Also known as wild asparagus or Asparagus racemosus, Shatavari belongs to group of herbs which are collectively referred to adaptogens because they bring the body back into balance.
Shatavari can be taken through various stages of the woman’s life cycle.
Shatavari during puberty
Shatavari contains shatavarins and sarsapogenin which are natural precursors to the female sex hormones and exert hormonal balancing benefits. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend Shatavari to young women to help them start menstruating without any problems and the herb is often recommended at the first sign of menses related problems.
Shatavari post puberty
Shatavari can provide multiple benefits during this phase of a woman’s life. It has been reported to provide relief from menstrual pain, premenstrual syndrome, bloating, irritability and heavy legs.
Shatavari appears to display mild diuretic properties as well as working as an antispasmodic which may help to relieve stomach pain, cramping as well as swollen ankles and heavy legs.
Shatavari when trying to conceive
Throughout Ayurvedic history, Shatavari has been revered for female fertility. It is often cited as the herb of choice if trying to conceive. This is because it can be helpful in regulating menstrual cycles which can be important in trying to conceive and it is thought to regulate the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) which is required for ovulation.
It is also thought it helps nourish the womb and tone the female reproductive organs getting them ready for pregnancy. To further support its role, Shatavari boosts sex drive in both men and women.
Shatavari during pregnancy
Whilst Ayurvedic vaidyas (physicians) and nurses recommend taking Shatavari throughout pregnancy, I always suggest that women stop taking all herbs once they fall pregnant. I believe that during pregnancy, only use a specific multivitamin and mineral supplement with the correct strengths of individual nutrients approved for use during pregnancy.
Shatavari whilst breastfeeding
A lactating mother needs to eat nutritious food so that her body produces sufficient breast milk to feed the infant however some nursing mothers cannot produce sufficient milk. In such instances, a galactagogue is either prescribed or recommended. Shatavari is a galactagogue and it helps increase the production of prolactin which in turn increases the quality and volume of breast milk produced.
Some of the compounds in Shatavari also display nerve calming and mood elevating properties and this herb may be of value for postpartum blues which can affect some nursing mothers.
Short term use of Shatavari is generally recognised as safe for both nursing mothers and their infants however always consult a gynaecologist or your GP if are planning to use Shatavari whilst breastfeeding.
Shatavari for perimenopause, menopause and beyond
Shatavari is known to contain compounds that mimic or act as natural precursors to the female hormones which help to balance hormones and reduce menopausal symptoms of hot flushes, night sweats as well as low mood.
Shatavari is often referred to as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a herb or a substance that strengthens the body’s ability to respond and cope to stressors and change whether they are physical and/or hormonal. This adaptogenic activity also helps to bring vitality and increased energy levels.
Shatavari contain high amounts of mucilages which act as a tonic for membranes lining the cervix. It is this property that is thought to help alleviate vaginal dryness.
Finally, Shatavari’s natural hormonal activity may also improve bone health and strength. Pukka Herbs Wholistic Shatavari provides organic Shatavari root as well as the extract in a base of arctic seaweed and ginger root to enhance absorption by increasing digestive enzymes production.