Asparagus Racemosus: Best Herb for Menopausal and Lactation (Shatavari)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Common Names

3. Vernacular Names

4. Synonyms

5. Classical Categorization

6. Distribution

7. Morphology

8. Types

9. Ayurvedic Properties

10. Chemical Constituent

11. Identity, Purity, and Strength

12. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

13. Health Benefits

14. Therapeutic Uses

15. Official Part Used

16. General Doses

17. Side Effects

18. Formulations

“In Ayurveda, this amazing herb is known as the “Queen of herbs”, because it promotes love and devotion. It was botanically described in 1799”

1. Introduction

Shatavari means “a women who possess one hundred husbands or acceptable to many.”  It is considered both a general tonic and a female reproductive tonic. Asparagus Racemosus may be translated as “100 spouses”, implying its ability to increase fertility and vitality.

Asparagus Racemosus is the main Ayurvedic rejuvenated tonic for the female, as is Withania for the male. Shatavari has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts, it is known for its phytoestrogenic properties and is extensively used in combating menopausal symptoms and increasing lactation.

Charaka has included this drug in balya and vayasthapana varga. Sushruta included it in vidharigandhadi and kantaka panchmula.

Its medical usage has been reported in Indian and British Pharmacopeias and in traditional system of medicine such Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Asparagus Racemosus, according to the main Ayurvedic texts, is used for prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers, dyspepsia, and a galactagogue.

Asparagus Racemosus is a well-known Ayurvedic rasayana that prevents aging, increases longevity, imparts immunity, improves mental function and Vigor, and adds vitality to the body. It is also used in nervous disorders, dyspepsia, tumours, inflammation, neuropathy and hepatopathy.

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2. Common Names

Family – Liliaceae

Hindi Name – Shatavar

English Name – Wild Asparagus

3. Vernacular Names

Assamese - Satmull

Bengali – Satamuli

Gujrati – Ekalkanto

Kannada – Callagadda

Malayalam – Satavari

Marathi – Asvel

Tamil – Kilavari

Telugu – Satavari

Oriya – Chhotaru

4. Synonyms

Abhiru – It makes free from external invasion.

Atirasa – Its tuberous roots contain more juice.

Durmara – The plants don’t perish easily; it has a long span of life.

Dwipishatru – It is antagonistic to Tikshna substance as its predominant in watery elements.

Indivari – That which benefits many people.

Phanijivhaparni – The leaves are like the tongue of snakes.

Rushyaprokta – The drug is recommended by sages.

Shatavirya – It produces multifold actions and is useful in many disorders.

Swadurasa – It is sweet in taste.

Vari – It is one of the best medicines.

5. Classical Categorization

Charaka Samhita – Balya, Vayahsthapana

Sushrut Samhita – Vidarigandhadi, Varunadi

Ashtanga Hridaya – Vidaryadi, Pittashamana

Dhanvantari Nighantu – Guduchyadi varga

Madanpal Nighantu – Abhyayadhivarga

Kaiyadev Nighantu – Aushadhi varga

Raj Nighantu – Shatavhadi varga

Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi varga

6. Distribution

It is widely distributed across the globe and its distribution ranges from tropical Africa, Java, Australia, Sri Lanka, Southern parts of China and India, but it is mainly cultivated in India.

7. Morphology

It is an armed highly branched climber growing to 1 to 2m in height. Stem is woody terete with recurved spines. Its young stem is delicate, brittle and smooth.

Leaves – Reduced to minute chaffy scales and spines. Cladodes are acicular, two to six in number, falcate, and finely acuminate.

Flowers – White, fragrant in simple or branched raceme arising from the axil of the thorns.

Fruits – Globular or three-lobed pulpy berries, ripe berries are orange and red, and dry are black colored and single seeded.

Roots – Stout root stock bearing numerous succulents, fusiform or finger-shaped cluster of tuberous roots, which are nearly 30 to 100 cm long and 1 to 2 cm thick. Unpeeled roots are cream, light-brown colored, wrinkled surface, with scars and protuberance of lateral rootlets.

8. Types

According to Nighantukaras it is of two varities: Shatavari and Maha Shatavari.

Shatavari is A. racemosus, and Maha Shatavari is A. sarmetosa Linn.

9. Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa (Taste): It has Tikta, Madhura in taste.

Virya (Potency): It is Sheeta in nature (cool).

Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is Madhura (sweet).

Guna – Guru, Snigdha

10. Chemical Constituent

Root contains steroidal glycoside such as shatavarins, sarsapogenins, sitosterol, asparagamine, steroids, saponins, polycyclic alkaloids, proteins, and high level of minerals.

Flower contains sarsapogenins, diogenins and asparamins A & B.

Leaves possess diosgenin, and quercetin.

Fruits are comprised of sitosterol, stimasterol, glucoside, stigmasterol, glucoside, two spirostonalic and sapogenin.

11. Identity, Purity, and Strength

Foreign Matter – Not more than 1%

Total Ash – Not more than 5%

Acid-insoluble ash – Not more than 0.5%

Alcohol-soluble extractive – Not less than 10%

Water-soluble extractive – Not less than 45%

(Source: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India 2004)

12. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

Ayurvedic Action

The root of this herb is described as strength promoting, increase semen, galactogouge, intellect promoting, immunomodulator, eye tonic, aphrodisiac, nutritive, reduces diarrhoea, reduces swelling in Ayurveda.

  • Doshakarma – Vatapittashamaka
  • Dhatukarma – Vrisya, Sukravardhaka
  • Malakarma - Atisarjit

Pharmacological Action

It has nematocidal, anticancer, antidysentery, anti-fungal, gastric-sedative, antibacterial, antioxytoxic, galactagogue, antiamoebic, antiviral, diuretic, hypoglycemic, phagocytic, hypotensive, anticoagulant actions. Besides this it has antioxidant, antiulcer, antitussive, adaptogenic, diuretic, antistress, uterine tonic, and hepatoprotective propertied.   

13. Health Benefits

It is beneficial in debility, sprue, abdominal lump, swelling, loss of appetite, blood disorders, haemorrhagic, piles, amenorrhea, hyperacidity, diarrhoea, gout, erysipelas, colic pain, bleeding during urination, fever due to vata, hoarseness of voice, night blindness, puerperal, reduction of breast milk.

Root powder is widely used in dyspepsia, hyperacidity, burning micturition, thirst, gonorrhea, nervous disorders, diarrhoea, dysentery, tumours, inflammations, hyperdipsia, neuropathy, hepatopathy, cough, bronchitis, leucorrhea, stress, ulcer, fatigue, abortion, general debility, and certain infectious diseases.  

14. Therapeutic Uses

Erysipelas – Tubers of Asparagus Racemosus and Vidari mixed with ghee should be used as paste.

Intrinsic Hemorrhage - Asparagus Racemosus and Gokhru processed with milk affects hemorrhage particularly of the urinary tract.

Diarrhoea – Paste of Asparagus Racemosus should be taken with milk, keeping on milk diet in diarrhoea.

Piles - Paste of Asparagus Racemosus root should be taken with milk.

Hoarseness of Voice – Asparagus Racemosus root powder mixed with honey and ghee.

Biliary Colic - Asparagus Racemosus juice mixed with honey should be taken in the morning. It alleviates burning sensation and pain and all disorders of pitta.

Gout - Asparagus Racemosus ghrita is given.

Defect of Vision – Payasa prepared with Asparagus Racemosus removes the defect of vision. In night blindness tender leaves of Shatavari cooked in ghee should be taken.

Poisoning – In case of poisoning, juice of Shatavari mixed with ghee and honey is useful.

Disorder of Female Genital Tract - Asparagus Racemosus ghrita is useful in disorder of female genital tract caused by pitta.

Rejuvenation – Those who take ghee cooked with paste and decoction of Shatavari with sugar do not suffer in any type of diseases.

Aphrodisiac - Asparagus Racemosus ghrita and powder of Shatavari and Uchata mixed with sugar should be taken with mild warm milk. Shatavari taken with milk also acts as aphrodisiac.

Epilepsy – Shatavari taken with milk is useful in epilepsy.

Fever – Juice of Giloy and Shatavari is equal quantity mixed with jaggery is taken. It alleviates fever caused by vata.

Dysuria – Powder of Shatavari should be taken with cold water.

Galactopoietic – Shatavari pounded and taken increases the flow of breast milk.

15. Official Part Used

Tuberous roots

16. Doses

Powder – 3 to 6 g

Juice – 10 to 20 ml.

17. Side Effects

Asparagus Racemosus has been described as safe even for long-term use, and during pregnancy and lactation.

18. Formulations

Shatavariyadi Ghrita, Phala Ghrita, Puga khanda, Erand paka Narayani Taila, Shatavari taila, Shatavari modaka, Shatavari mandura, Shatavaryadi Kwath, Mahanarayana taila, Shatavari Chinnaroohadi, Shatavayadi churna, Shatavari guda.

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