Shatavari: magical herb having 100(शत) benefits
What is Shatavari(शतावरी) ?— Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) plant isn’t generally known very well to people but in Ayurveda it has been given a lot of importance. The Himalayan region is showered with nature’s endless gifts, Shatavari is a dense climber vine with fast propagating roots. A single plant can have upto 100 or more roots. These roots are known for their medicinal properties and have multiple health benefits. Generally, the leaves and roots of shatavari are used for making various Ayurvedic medicines.
In both Charaka Samhita and Ashtanga hridayamit is famously known as a “female tonic”.In fact, it may interest you to know that the name shatavari means “ the one who has a hundred husbands”. Shatavari is known for its benefits in improving the overall health of the female reproductive system. If you think that is all, you’re in for a surprise as shatavari is also known as the “curer of a hundred diseases” as per ayurveda.
Shatavari is a perennial plant (lives for many years) which climbs with the help of its woody stems to about 1-2 m in height. Its leaves are thin and needle-like and it bears white flowers with small spikes. The roots of this asparagus plant are tuberous and are the main source of all of its medicinal benefits. Although ancient texts suggest taking shatavari in a fresh form, it is generally taken in the form of a powder which might be in part due to the bitter taste of the roots or because of sheer convenience. It is also available commercially as shatavari capsules, shatavari tablets, and granules. You are highly advised to confirm the dosage, and frequency to consume shatavari from a reputed ayurvedic doctor before including it in your daily diet.
Benefits of Shatavari:
1. In relieving insomnia: Insomnia is a condition of sleeplessness that occur to many people. People with such condition can simply boil 2-4 grams of shatavari powder in milk, then consume it with little ghee. It is proven to help people fall asleep.
2. Shatavari for increasing breast milk: A very common problem lactating women face— is not having enough milk to feed their child. There are many supplements prescribed by doctors but nothing is as good as natural remedy. Drinking 10 grams of shatavari root powder with milk increases breast milk. Also, shatavari can be consumed by pregnant women, it helps the child in healthy growth.
3. For weakness and Fatigue: People who feel tired and weared out can use shatavari cooked in ghee to massage their body.
4. In treating cold and cough: Shatavari is beneficial in treating Cold and cough. Boil shatavari roots in water, take 15-20 ml of this drink. You’ll get instant relief from cold and cough.
Sometimes due to cold or speaking too loudly causes your voice to choke. Shatavari can be taken with Atibala khirati and honey to restore your voice.
5. For diabetes: Shatavari roots are an excellent antidiabetic agent, it increases the amount of insulin in the body thus helping in decreasing the blood sugar levels of the body. Animal studies support the potency of this herb in the anti-diabetes therapy but since there is a lack of human models, diabetic people are highly recommended to refer to their doctor before taking shatavari in any form.
6. Respiratory diseases: Shatavari is known to cure a number of respiratory diseases as well.
7. Improves libido in men: Shatavari is not just the herb for women, it is as beneficial for men. Regular consumption of shatavari is claimed to exhibit an aphrodisiac action on the body. However, due to absence of clinical studies, it is best to talk to a doctor to know more about this benefit.
8. Reduces peptic ulcers: It has been found in a clinical study that regular consumption of 3 g of shatavari root with milk is effective in reducing the severity of peptic ulcers regardless of gender or age. However, it also needs some dietary restriction and must be taken under the supervision of a doctor.
9. Acts as an antibiotic: In a series of studies, it has been confirmed that the leaf extracts of shatavari plant can inhibit the growth of several pathogenic microbes and it may have some potential as a natural antibiotic for the treatment of infectious diseases.
10. Good for hair: Asparagus is a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent. It helps inhibit fungal infections of scalp. Being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it ensures that you do not suffer from scalp conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It also reduces hair fall and premature greying of hair.
11. For Stress and anxiety: the adaptogenic (anti-stress) and antioxidant properties make it a very effective herb to alleviate most of the stress-related problems and age-related diseases. Such is the importance of this herb that ayurveda calls it the “queen of herbs”.
Safety caution: Consuming shatavari is likely unsafe during pregnancy as it has shown to cause miscarriage and birth defects in animal models of lab studies and there has been no human research to contradict this effect in humans. So, pregnant women should always consult their doctor before taking shatavari in any form.
People who are allergic to other members of asparagus family may be allergic to shatavari too.
Not much is known about the drug interactions of this herb so if you are already on prescribed medicines, it’s advisable to refer to a registered medical practitioner if you want to add this herb to your diet.