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Shatavari is considered an essential herb for women in Indian Ayurvedic practice and has been used traditionally for centuries to help balance hormones and support fertility. More recently, several studies have shown it can support healthy menstruation and help with common symptoms of PMS and menopause.*
Considered a tonic herb in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia, Shatavari/Satavari/Satawar has traditionally been used in female populations for centuries for the following health reasons:
- Reduces stress and frustration
- Uterine tonic
- Hormone balancer
- Menstrual regulator
- Immunity enhancer
- Galactagogue Antacid
- The specific applications in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of Shatavari: Marathi, relate to menstruation, perimenopause, menopause, and adaptogenic uses. Some of the uses traditionally are listed below (1). This list from the pharmacopeia is not meant to be exhaustive, but focuses on the three primary areas listed previously mentioned:
- Raktavikara: traditionally used for menstrual and/or menopausal complaints
- Parinama: menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause
- Sutika: conditions associated with women in the postpartum period
- Stanya dosa: abdominal distension or discomfort
- The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India Part 1, Volume IVDepartment of Ayush,2004
Health Canada classifies Asparagus racemosus (Shavatavar) in the monograph: Cognitive Function Products. Within this monograph, Shatavari is listed as an herb with Adaptogen activity. Shatavari has been used in Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine as an Adaptogen to help increase energy and provide resistance to stress (e.g. in case of mental and physical fatigue related to stress), and Health Canada recognizes this a primary use for Shatavari (1).
- Health Canada Natural Health Products: Cognitive Function Products MonographHealth Canada,2019
Shatavari, Asparagus racemosus is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbal medicines used frequently for a myriad of health concerns. Shatavari belongs to the Liliaceae family and is commonly grown in tropical and subtropical parts of India, including the Himalayas. In Ayurveda, Shatavari is used to correct and restore health to pitta and vata dosha constitutions.
In the practice of Ayurvedic medicine, Shatavari is one of the most important herbs, categorized as a rejuvenative tonic rasayana. Rasayanas are herbal medicines. There are multiple categories of rasayanas. The rejuvenative tonic rasayanas, including Shatavari and Ashwagandha, promote well-being of an individual, by increasing cellular vitality, immunity and resistance.
Shatavari contains more than 50 organic compounds that have been identified thus far, including steroidal saponins, glycosides, alkaloids, polysaccharides, mucilage, and isoflavones. Many of these compounds contribute to Shatavari’s use for female health, and are the main contributors to Shatavari being classified as having phytoestrogen, antioxidant and inflammatory support activities (1).
- Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal MedicineRochester, VT: Healing Arts Press,2003