Shatavari root, also known as wild asparagus, is a medicinal herb that's often used in Ayurvedic medicine.
It's also becoming more popular in the West, especially for women, since shatavari has many health benefits for the female body through all stages of life.
Shatavari is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps you deal with physical and emotional stress. It's also known as a female reproductive tonic and a rejuvenating herb. (1)
Here's more about shatavari root and its potential health benefits for women.
What is Shatavari Root?
Shatavari is an herb in the asparagus family (botanical name Asparagus racemosus).
It's native to the tropical areas of Asia, India, Africa, and Australia.
The shoot of the shatavari plant is considered a highly nutritious vegetable, while the root is used medicinally.
One of the reasons the root can be so beneficial for women is because it contains a good source of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are the precursor of estrogen.
This makes shatavari root especially helpful for women with low estrogen levels.
Here are more of its key benefits.
Reduces PMS Symptoms
Shatavari can help with various PMS and menstrual symptoms, especially bloating, irritability, and cramps.
This comes from its diuretic activity (2) and its antispasmodic effect that helps to relax cramping and relieve bloating.
As an adaptogenic herb, shatavari root can help with mood swings and stress that may accompany PMS. It can also have an antidepressant effect to help with depression that comes as part of PMS. (3)
Shatavari is known in Ayurvedic medicine as a female reproductive tonic, especially because it can help with infertility.
One reason is because its adaptogenic nature helps to bring the body back into balance.
Also, the compounds shatavarin and sarsasapogenin, which are both found in shatavari root, are precursors to female sex hormones.
To naturally enhance fertility and balance hormones, try this Fertili-Tea blend that contains shatavari root along with other beneficial herbs.
Shatavari can be translated as "she who possesses a hundred husbands."
It's a little bit of a strange name for an herb, but this title speaks to shatavari's ability to increase fertility and enhance libido.
Shatavari root not only helps to balance sex hormones, it also enhances ovulation and helps to keep the uterus healthy. (1)
So far only animals studies have been done using shatavari, but they confirm its aphrodisiac effects. (1)
If you would like to boost your libido, try shatavari root in this Libido Boost Tea.
Increases Breast Milk Supply
Shatavari root also functions as a galactagogue, which means it increases breast milk supply.
A study done on nursing mothers who had either a deficient supply of breast milk or other problems with lactation showed a significant increase in prolactin hormone levels (which measures galactagogue effect). (5)
Other studies have also confirmed an increase in breast milk supply when shatavari root is taken. (1)
To naturally increase your own breast milk supply, try an herbal formula that features shatavari, like these Dairy Diva capsules.
Support During Menopause
Shatavari can also be very helpful for women during menopause.
Women who suffer from low natural levels of estrogen during menopause can benefit from the phytoestrogens found in shatavari root.
It can also help with symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and night sweats during perimenopause and menopause.
This makes shatavari one of the best herbs to use for all the different life cycles of a woman.
It supports the female body through PMS, pre- and post-pregnancy, and even through menopause. According to Ayurvedic medicine, shatavari is also safe to use during pregnancy. (1)
Other Benefits of Shatavari Root
Aside from its benefits for women's health, shatavari also has many other potential health benefits.
It has documented antioxidant properties that can help to prevent cells being damage by free-radicals. (6) The main antioxidant in shatavari, racemofuran, also has anti-inflammatory properties.
The shoot of the shatavari plant is consumed as a vegetable because it's highly nutritious and can boost overall health. A 2004 study found that the root also has immune-boosting properties. (7)
A 2015 study showed that shatavari root has anti-aging properties, likely due to it's antioxidant content. (8) It also helped to stop collagen from breaking down, which in turn helps skin keep its elasticity.
Shatavari has traditionally been used as a remedy for diarrhea, which some studies are now backing up. (1)
Clearly, shatavari has lots of potential for treating a wide range of health concerns as well being a huge support for female health.
Side Effects and Precautions
Shatavari root is generally a very safe herb, but some people experience allergic reactions to it. If you have an allergy to asparagus, do not take shatavari.
Shatavari can also have a diuretic effect, so it should not be taken with other diuretic herbs or drugs.
It can also potentially lower blood sugar and should not be used with other supplements or drugs that also lower blood sugar.
Shatavari root is considered safe for pregnancy according to Ayuvedic medicine, but there has not been much research done on its side effects.
Consult with your doctor or health practitioner before using if you are pregnant or have a medical condition.
How to Use Shatavari Root
Shatavari root is available in different forms including powder, liquid, tablets, and capsules.
Its taste is considered to be bitter and sweet, and it's best taken in capsule or tablet form if the taste is too strong for you.
Shatavari is often used as part of an herbal formula or tea blend.
To increase breast milk supply while nursing, try these herbal capsules formulated with shatavari and other beneficial herbs.
Could You Use Shatavari?
Given its numerous health benefits, shatavari is an herb you may wish to consider adding to your diet as a supplement.
Especially if you are a woman and dealing with infertility, low libido, deficient milk supply, or menopause, shatavari root could be really beneficial for you.
Speak to a natural health practitioner if necessary and try shatavari for yourself!