Lactating moms require nutritious food that will help their bodies repair themselves after birth and produce plenty of breast milk to feed the baby. Some nursing moms find that they don’t produce enough breast milk, even though they are eating a healthy diet. In this case, your lactation consultant might recommend a galactagogue. This is a supplement or herb that can help to boost the production of your breast milk so that you can feed your baby correctly. We’ll talk to you about one particular herb called Shatavari so that you know more about it and can decide if it is the galactagogue you need.
What Is It?
Shatavari can also be called wild asparagus. Asparagus racemosus is its botanical name. This herb is primarily found on the Indian subcontinent and mostly grows in the Himalayas. The Ayurvedic practitioners have used this herb for centuries for its medicinal properties. Shatavari has been known to offer healing properties and cure a variety of health conditions and problems. Many lactating mothers have wondered if it is safe and good to eat asparagus while breastfeeding, and the answer is a resounding yes. However, wild asparagus (Shatavari) is not the same as asparagus that you buy at the store. It is known to be a galactagogue and will increase your breast milk production.
What Is Inside Shatavari?
Most new mothers worry about everything that they put in their bodies because it will likely be transferred to their baby. Shatavari includes bioflavonoids, which are plant compounds with antioxidant properties. Therefore, it can help to fight free radicals inside your body, which can cause cell damage and speed up the aging process.
The herb will also have a variety of hydrogenates in it, which are beneficial to a woman’s reproductive system. Shatavari contains many trace minerals, as well. These can include manganese, zinc, potassium, selenium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, and calcium. All of these things are important for your body. Plus, vitamin B and A are also found in the herb, as well as essential fatty acids.
How Will Shatavari Help to Boost Your Breast Milk Supply?
It is well-known in medical practices that Shatavari is a galactagogue. This means that its primary purpose is to produce more prolactin and corticoids, which will improve the quality of your breast milk and help you generate more of it. Shatavari will also stimulate the steroid hormones that work to enhance your milk production, allowing you to secrete more of the hormone. You’ll also find that the herb can increase your breast weight. Wild asparagus for lactation is highly beneficial and known to work for most nursing mothers.
Other Advantages for Breastfeeding Mothers
Shatavari has been recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners to help aid in breast milk production. Even if you don’t have a low breast milk supply, or it’s just a little low, there are a variety of health benefits. These can include:
- It has antioxidant properties, which can help your overall health by preventing cellular damage. You’ll find that Shatavari also contains high amounts of saponins. These are compounds that also feature antioxidant abilities. In 2004, it was found that the Shatavari root also contained racemofuran, as well as racemosol and asparagamine A, all of which are essential antioxidants.
- This herb also has anti-inflammatory properties. Racemofuran is an antioxidant, but it also has excellent anti-inflammatory capabilities. Primarily, racemofuran acts like prescription drugs to combat inflammation, such as COX-2 inhibitors. Often, they are used to reduce inflammation in the body without causing serious digestive issues.
- Shatavari can improve your body’s immune system, which will help you fight off infections while you’re breastfeeding.
- It could help to relieve chronic coughing. In West Bengal, India, the Shatavari root is turned into a juice and used as a natural remedy for coughing. Researchers did find that the root extract did stop cough just as well as some prescription cough medicines with codeine.
- This herb can help your digestive system. When you take it regularly, it will help to prevent diarrhea, heartburn, and gastrointestinal tract inflammation.
- There are some compounds in the herb, which can act as an antidepressant. Therefore, it can prevent postpartum depression or “the blues” that can often affect new nursing mothers.
- Shatavari is also known to be an aphrodisiac. This means that it can help you get into an amorous mood at times.
- This herb could act as a diuretic. Diuretics are used to get rid of extra fluid in the body. Often, they are given to people with congestive heart failure to keep the liquid away from the heart. However, prescription medications can have serious side effects. Research has been done, but more is needed to see if Shatavari can be safely recommended in place of prescription medicines.
Ways to Consume Shatavari and Appropriate Dosages
You’ll find a variety of ways to consume Shatavari. However, most women choose to take it as a powder or a capsule.
Most doctors who recommend Shatavari believe that capsules are the best way to get the herb into your system. Often, they will recommend that you start with 500mg and work your way up to 1,000mg per day. However, your doctor may choose to start you on a lower dosage if your milk production is just a little low. You may receive a higher dosage if you’re not producing any or very little milk.
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Sometimes, doctors will recommend the powdered form of Shatavari Kalpa to help increase breast milk production. Often, if you have trouble swallowing pills, the powder is easier to consume. The most common dosage is between three and six grams per day. You can add the powder to warm milk or water with some honey added.
You can also find a liquid form of Shatavari. It is sometimes called a tonic or a tincture. Generally, you will take 1,000 milligrams of the herb. Often, you will take four to five milliliters of the tincture three times a day. This means that each dose contains about 333 milligrams of the herb. If you choose to use the Shatavari extract, you will likely add about 30 drops of it into juice or water, drinking it three times a day.
While these are the most common ways to take Shatavari, there are other forms. These can include:
- Herbal jams or pastes: You can find Shatavari Gulam, which is the paste or jam form of the herb. It can be harder to know the right dosage when eating the jam on a piece of toast. Therefore, most doctors do not recommend this method of consumption.
- Churna: Churna is a mix of powdered herbs and minerals made by the Ayurveda. Generally, it contains many things, but you can find a mixture that is primarily Shatavari, with a few extra minerals mixed in. Often, doctors worry about taking a churna because it does contain other ingredients. If you’re already taking a supplement that includes some of the things in the churna, then you might take too much of something. This could be harmful to you or your baby.
- Ghee. You can boil the Shatavari with butter, which will create a medicated ghee. Then, you can eat the ghee on toast or other items to increase your breast milk production. Again, it can be hard to find the right dosage with this method. You don’t know how much Shatavari is in the ghee, which means you might consume too much or too little. Both are bad because eating too much could cause you to produce too much milk while too little won’t give you the effects you hope to achieve.
What Are the Side Effects of Using Shatavari While Breastfeeding?
Research has shown that Shatavri is not toxic to babies or adult women. Therefore, it is safe for lactating moms and their little ones. Likewise, it is considered to be safe to use long-term and is not likely to cause adverse reactions in babies or breastfeeding moms.
With that said, some people react differently to different supplements and medications. Therefore, there are some precautions to take and consider before using Shatavari. These can include:
- If you know that you are allergic to asparagus, you should probably avoid using Shatavari because it is part of the same family. Allergy symptoms can include breathing problems and skin rashes.
- It’s well-known that Shatavari is considered a diuretic. This can cause you to urinate more frequently. Therefore, if you’re already taking a diuretic medication, you should avoid taking this herb.
- You’ll find that this herb is oily and heavy in nature. It is designed to increase the ‘Kapha’ in your body. This helps with lubrication in the body. Therefore, if you have congestion or another similar issue, avoid using Shatavari.
- This herb contains plant estrogens, so it might adversely affect someone with an estrogen sensitivity. You may notice that you have breast tenderness or enlargement if you’re sensitive to estrogen. Likewise, you may gain weight. Therefore, it might be best to avoid the herb, but you should talk to your doctor to be sure.
If you are currently breastfeeding, you may worry that you aren’t producing enough breast milk for your baby to flourish and thrive. This is a common fear for new mothers, and in most cases, it is unfounded. You should talk to your lactation consultant about your concerns so that tests can be done to determine if you have a low milk supply.
Women who do have that issue can then find ways to boost their milk production. Often, this can be done by taking herbs or supplements. Talk to your doctor about your options. Now, you have more information about Shatavari, so you can determine if this is something you should take. It will help with breast milk production, but it can also do more for your health, such as boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.
You will find that Shatavari is a supplement that’s healthy for women, especially those who are nursing. However, you need to take it regularly and for a few weeks to see results. It is our desire to inform you of helpful and pertinent information. If you’ve got questions or concerns, please fill out our contact form. It will be our pleasure to talk to you and help you.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. Here's the link to our full disclaimer.