Women’s reproductive health issues are an essential part of both medical health and herbal care today. Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to help balance hormones and ease the symptoms. Hippocrates (455 BC), for instance, advised the use of Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) to ease undesirable symptoms that may occur during menstruation, and this herb is still very popular until today.
One of our birthright is definitely good health – strength, vitality, strong bones and resilient heart. For women, what we need are some simple, yet tried and proven ways to ease our discomfort, nourish ourselves and prevent serious, life-threatening illnesses. As a naturopath and a woman, I’ll be sharing with you the amazing health benefits of Shatavari to women’s reproductive health – one of the best gifts from Mother Nature to us.
What is Shatavari?
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is an indigent medicinal plant that is widely used in homeopathy medicines and in Siddha. In India, it is estimated that over 500 tons of Shatavari roots are needed each year for different medicinal preparations.
The word in Sanskrit ‘shatavari’ means ‘the one who possesses hundred husbands’. This herb is actually a primary rejuvenating herb for women.
The plant grows best in subtropical and tropical forest. The herb can be found throughout India, Sri Lanka, tropical Africa, Java and Southern China. This herb is an armed climber, with leaves that are green, uniform, small and like pine needles. Growing 1 to 2 meters high, it has a woody stem that are covered with spine. The roots are finger-like, tuberous and clustered while the fruits are round, pulpy berries that turn purplish black when ripe.
The key bioactive components of Shatavari are a group of steroidal saponins called Shatvarin I to IV. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B, C and E, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and folic acid. Other beneficial components of Shatavari are essential oils, arginine, asparagine, flavonoids like quercetin, kaempferol and rutin, tyrosin, tannin and resin.
Shatavari in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Shatavari is considered a potent female tonic. Aside from being a rejuvenating herb beneficial in women’s fertility, it can also help reduce inflammation of sexual organs, increases libido and supports ovulation. It is also taken to prevent miscarriages, prepare the womb for pregnancy and ideal as post-partum tonic to increase lactation.
Why Should You Use Shatavari?
The active components of Shatavari make it very useful for women. Researchers studied the effects of Shatavari on a pregnant rat and it was found out that Shatavari has estrogenic effects on the female mammary gland and genital organs, most probably due to its phytoestrogens. Below is a list of beneficial actions of Shatavari when it comes to women’s health.<img src="https://chihealth.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/shatavari-benefits-brisbane.png" alt="shatavari benefits brisbane" width="458" height="650" class="alignright size-full wp-image-2443" srcset="https://chihealth.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/shatavari-benefits-brisbane.png 458w, https://chihealth.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/shatavari-benefits-brisbane-211×300.png 211w, https://chihealth.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/shatavari-benefits-brisbane-134×190 recherche viagra montreal.png 134w” sizes=”(max-width: 458px) 100vw, 458px” />
- Health Issues Related to Menstruation
Shatavari is believed to be useful in menstrual disorders such as irregular bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea and other situations after menopause. Shatavari contains saponins that can the block activity of oxytocin on the uterus, resulting in natural uterine motility and reduction of periods of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).
Based on animal study, the extract of Shatavari rhizome can block persistent uterine motility by inhibiting the spasmogenic effect of serotonin, acetylcholine and barium chloride on the uterus. This finding confirms its role in relieving dysmenorrhea. Its action against premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is believed to due to it imparting a feeling of well-being and boosting the immune system.
- Health Issues Related to Female Infertility
Shatavari is believed to be useful for female infertility as it supports folliculogenesis, as well as ovulation. The female reproductive system is highly dependent on glycogen for the energy source. Estrogen increases the level of glycogen in the uterus so any decrease in its level would also reflect a decrease in estrogen level. The herb has been found to have a unique formulation that can increase uterine glycogen without affecting serum estrogen and progesterone level.
- Health Issues Related to Menopause
Menopause naturally occurs in women’s life as they go through from reproductive to the non-reproductive stage. At this stage, many women experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, palpitations insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness, anxiety and irritability.
A very common practice to ease these menopausal symptoms is to undergo hormone replacement therapy. While this option is effective, it isn’t free from side effects. This is the reason more and more women are turning to natural medicine to have a safe option versus artificial hormones.
Shatavari is highly known as an excellent source of phytoestrogen that can be effective to help relieve menopausal systems. Menopausal symptoms are due to the body having withdrawal from estrogen. The action of phytoestrogens in Shatavari is to mimic estrogenic action without any harmful adverse effects.
- A Potent Antioxidant
Antioxidants are very important in preventing cellular damage –the main culprit on many serious and chronic diseases such cancer, cardiovascular disease and many more. Shatavari possesses a natural antioxidant property. It acts by increasing the antioxidant defense – the enzyme catalase, superoxidase dismutase and ascorbic acid. The antioxidant property of Shatavari is coming from its isoflavons, particularly racemofuran, racemosol and asparagamine.
How to Use Shatavari
Shatavari has not been known to cause any toxic side effects with long term use. The most common ways it is use are:
- Powder/granule form
The granule or powder form can easily be added to food and drinks such as milk, tea and a wide range of dishes. When buying Shatavari root powder, follow all the instructions and warnings in the label. Always consult your healthcare provider before trying out any herbal powder, especially for pregnant women or those under the care of a physician or even those with concerns regarding safety use of herbal powders.
Have you used Shatavari powder? What do you think about it? Share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions with us.