The premier herb for women in Ayurveda, Shatavari is similar to dong quai in its action and effects.
Internally for infertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage, menopausal problems. It increases milk, semen and nurtures the mucous membranes. It both nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. It is good food for menopause or for those who have had hysterectomies, as it supplies many female hormones. It nourishes the ovum and increases fertility.
She with a Thousand Husbands; Satavari (Sanskrit); Satavar (Hindi); Tian men dong (Chinese)
This Ayurvedic herb from the asparagus family means “a hundred lovers” in Sanskrit.
Requires rich, light, well-drained soil in a sunny position. Propagate by seed in spring, thinned to 12 inches apart, then to 3 feet apart. May be grown as an annual in cold areas; protect under cover in winter. Asparagus beetle may attack young shoots and foliage. Harvest rhizomes and tubers when dormant and are used fresh for dysentery, dried for decoctions, powders and medicated oils.
Essential oil, a steroidal glycoside (asparagoside), asparagine, arginine, tyrosine, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercitin, rutin), copper, iron, zinc, resin, tannin, mucilage
Although only the tubers are used as internal medicine, the shoots, of course, are also edible. The young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots and shoots can be added to soups or salads.
Tonic. Galactagogue. Sexual tonic. Adaptogenic. Spasmolytic, antidiarrheal. diuretic
Flavour: sweet, bitter
AIDS, cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy, chronic fever, cystitis, diarrhea, dry cough, dry skin, dysentery, Epstein-Barr virus, erectile dysfunction, female organ weakness, frigidity, gout, herpes, infertility, jaundice, kidney stones, low libido, low sperm count, menopause symptoms, poor memory, post-hysterectomy dryness, rheumatism, sciatica, tuberculosis, ulcers, and vaginal dryness. In general, it moistens and restores the entire system.
Three grams of the powder can be taken in one cup of warm milk sweetened with raw sugar. It’s especially suitable for Pitta types. Externally for stiffness in joints and neck. The most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for women.
Another interest in Ayurvedic medicine for Shatavari is to increase a man’s fertility, which gives it two of its names. Contemporary clinical tests have shown that the tubers actually do increase the male sperm count.
Infertility and Virility
In Western herbal medicine, Shatavari is often seen as a female reproductive tonic, and Shatavari does indeed mean to ‘possess a hundred husbands’. However, it is equally considered a great general tonic. Withania is sometimes also seen as a ‘female’ female tonic by Western herbalists, perhaps because it is less stimulating than Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), however, in Ayurvedic medicine, Shatavari is the central rejuvenating tonic for the female, as is Withania for the male. Shatavari is, however, used for sexual debility and infertility in both sexes. It is also used for menopausal symptoms and to increase lactation.
In a multicenter, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, a formulation of herbs containing 68% Shatavari was not found to be superior to placebo in promoting lactation in mothers with lactational inadequacy.
Oral administration of Shatavari increased the weight of mammary lobulo·alveolar tissue and corrected irregular, low milk yields in experimental models. The authors suggested that Shatavari may act directly on the mammary gland or via the pituitary and adrenal glands.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Shatavari is significant urinary herb where its soothing and antispasmodic properties are employed in the treatment of cystitis and urinary stones, and by extension also for rheumatic pain where the diuretic action improves the excretion of inflammatory products.
Combination idea: Chanca Piedra (Phyllanthus niruri), Gravel Root (Eupatorium purpureum)
Dosage (Divided Daily)
Dried Root: 3000 – 12,000mg
Interactions with other drugs
Bone, K. (1996). Clinical applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs: monographs for the western herbal practitioner. Warwick, Qld.: Phytotherapy
Herbalpedia 2013 (CD-ROM)
Khare, C. P. (2004). Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usages, botany. Berlin; New York: Springer.
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