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Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom has recognized one key herb when addressing women’s reproductive health.  This bittersweet cooling herb is known as Asparagus racemosus or Shatavari and is considered to be a “Rasayana,” providing overall rejuvenation and vitality.1,5 It is often found growing in the jungles of India as a woody climbing plant.1,5 With its cooling, calming, nourishing, and purifying qualities, it is commonly recognized as the woman’s equivalent to Ashwagandha, or “Indian ginseng,” which translates as “she who possesses 100 husbands.”1,5
Studies have shown that the medicinal value comes from its root due to its phytoestrogenic steroidal saponins and shatavarins I-IV.2 Its use, particular to females, addresses reproductive disorders including the overarching hormone imbalances to aid the regulation of menstruation and ovulation, infertility, promote lactation,4 and provide menopausal support.1,5,6 It is also recognized as a blood builder, while serving to tonify reproductive tissue;5 and, thus, can be used at any stage in a woman’s life. While primarily designated for female use, shatavari is also beneficial to men in cases of impotence and general sexual debility.5
Shatavari further supports the health of mucus membranes including the intestines, digestion and lung function due to its demulcent qualities.3,5 Ancient texts also note its use in nervous disorders, inflammation, liver and kidney health, cancer and other infectious diseases, providing overall balance in all of the body’s fluids to pacify the pitta dosha.5,6,7


References

  1. “Shatavari – A Women’s Best Friend” Medindia, accessed 23/10/2015. <http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/shatavari.htm>.
  2. B. Rao, “Saponine (Sapogenins) from Indian medicinal plants: Part I, Sapogenins from Asparagus,” Indian J. Pharmacy, 1952, 14:131-132.
  3. Kishore, P. N. Pandey, S.N. Pandey, and S. Dash, “Treatment of duodenal ulcer with Asparagus racemosus Linn,” J Res Indian Med Yog Homeo, 1980, 15:409-415.
  4. Gupta M, Shaw B, “A double-blind randomized clinical trial for evaluation of galactogogue activity of asparagus racemosus Willd,” Iran J Pharm Res, 2011 Winter;10(1):167-72.
  5. Frawley, David and Lad, Vasant. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine Second Revised & Enlarged Edition. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, 2001. Print.
  6. Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume Three: General Principles of Management and Treatment. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2012. Print.
  7. Gautam, S. Saha, S. Ban, A. Kaul, S. Mishra, D. Patil, N.K. Satti, K. A. Suri, S. Gairola, K. Suresh, S. Jadhav, G.N. Qazi, and B. Patwardhan, “Immunomodulatory activity of Asparagus racemosus on systemic Th1/Th2 immunity: implications for immunoadjuvent potential.” J Ethnopharmacol Jan. 21, 2009, 121(2):241-247. (Epub Nov. 8, 2008)

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