Shatavari (Asparagus recemosus wild) benefits and side effects

 

Know in one minute about Shatavari benefits

  • Shatavari helps to improve female fertility and strengthen the uterus.
  • Support healthy milk production in lactating mothers and maintain normal hormone levels.
  • Boost the immune system, memory, and learning.
  • Treat diabetes, kidney stones, diarrhea, inflammation, and arthritic pain.
  • Good for the brain, heart, kidney, gastrointestinal, and urinary bladder.
  • Fight with bacteria, cancer cells, and protect from various diseases.

Introduction

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is a popular, rejuvenating herb, belonging to the family of Asparagaceae. The word “Shatavari” means curer of a hundred diseases” or “acceptable to many”. Shatavari benefits are general well-being by strengthening and nourishing the tissues.

It reinforces the immune system and protects vital organs like the heart, brain, kidney, liver, and other organs of the body. Shatavari benefits in health are due to its antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-diarrhea, anti-inflammatory, and many other pharmacological properties (1).

Botanical description

Height

This plant is a woody climber of 1–2 m in height

Root

It contains fleshy tuberous, finger-shaped, and clustered roots.

Stem

Covered with recurved spines.

Leaves

Pine needle-shaped, small but uniform arranged in a tuft. 

Flower

It contains tiny, sweet-scented, small spikes white flowers appear in October (2).

Geographical distribution

It is found abundantly in subtropical and tropical zones. This plant is available in Africa, Java, Australia, Sri Lanka, Southern parts of China, and India, but it is mainly cultivated in India.

Shatavari nutritional component

Shatavari is an excellent source of steroidal glycosides, saponins, sapogenins, and tannins. Apart from this also contain polyphenols, flavonoids, alkaloids (racemosol), amino acids, protein, and vitamins (3).

Shatavari health benefits

Some of the Shatavari benefits are as follows

1. Good as a versatile female tonic

Shatavari is considered a female tonic in Ayurveda, it has the following benefits for the woman

  • It contains shatavarins I-V, steroidal saponins, and sapogenins which are responsible for the hormonal like effect of Shatavari.
  • Shatavari ingestion increases the desire for sexual activity, cures inflammation, and moistens dry tissues of sexual organs in the female (4).
  • Shatavari acts as a postpartum tonic by increasing lactation and normalizing the uterus and changing hormones to normal levels.
  • It also enhances ovulation, prepares the womb for conception, and prevents miscarriages.
  • This is also beneficial to treat leucorrhoea (whitish or yellowish discharge of mucus) and menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) (5).
  • Thus Shatavari treats hormonal imbalance, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), follicular growth and development, and increasing antioxidants level in the body (6).

2. Shatavari boost immunity

Shatavari contains saponins, alkaloids, proteins, starch, tannin, and mucilage. These compounds help to boost the immune system and protect the body from various diseases by increasing antibodies thus improving overall health (7). However, more research is needed to determine the effect of Shatavari on immunity in humans.

3. Shatavari relieves from cough

Steroids-terpenes, alkaloids, and flavonoids found in Shatavari help to treat upper respiratory tract infections in mice (8). It fights against pneumonia-causing bacteria Klebsiella pneumonia thus treating cough and pneumonia (9).

4. Antimicrobial properties of Shatavari 

Shatavari fights against bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Shigella dysenteriae, Shegella sonnei, Shigella flexneri, and Salmonella typhi. It also inhibits the growth of Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas pectida, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and protozoa like Eintamoeba histolytica (10).

5. Antioxidant properties of Shatavari

Shatavari root contains polyphenolic compounds, racemofuran, asparagamine A, and racemosol that help to remove harmful radicals from the body(11).  It also activates the antioxidant enzymes and protects from various diseases (12).

6. Diuretic properties of Shatavari and treat kidney stones

Intake of Shatavari helps to increase the output of excess fluid, mainly water and sodium, by urine without any side effects. It also helps to prevent the development of crystals in the urine that forms kidney stones. However, further study is needed to determine if Shatavari is safe for humans (13).

7. Shatavari is good for gastrointestinal health

Shatavari root powder helps to treat upper abdominal fullness, heartburn, nausea, belching, or upper abdominal pain thus promoting gastric emptying (14).

8. Shatavari treat diarrhea and dysentery 

This plant inhibits the growth of Vibrio cholera that causes diarrhea, dysentery, and vomiting (15).

9. Shatavari treat ulcer

Intakes of root powder of Shatavari (12 g/d) for 6 weeks show a wonderful effect on the healing of the ulcer (16).

10. Anti-inflammatory properties of Shatavari 

Shatavari root helps to decrease swelling and pain by reduction of cytokine production that causes inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, more studies are needed to confirm its anti-inflammatory properties in humans (17).

11. Shatavari keep heart healthy

Shatavari contains phytosterols, saponins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid, which increase bile acid production.  It helps to reduce or eliminate excess cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels. However, more research is needed to determine the effect of Shatavari on hyperlipidemic humans (18).

12. Treat depression and memory loss

Epilepsy is a brain activity disorder, which causes seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, depression, and sometimes memory loss. However, Shatavari root is helpful to reduce the severity of epileptic seizures, improve learning disorders, and treat depression (19).

13. Shatavari helps to manage diabetes

Shatavari contains flavonoids and triterpenoids that help to reduce blood glucose levels. It inhibits intestinal α-amylase and α-glucosidase (digestive enzymes) thus regulates diabetes (20).

14. Shatavari treat cancer

Shatavari contains rutin which helps to kill the cancer cells of the breast and induce apoptosis (21).

Side effects of Shatavari

In Ayurveda, Shatavari has been proved as completely safe for long-term use, even during pregnancy and lactation (22).  Its high dosage of 3200 mg/ kg showed no fatality in the mouse. However, a research study proved that Shatavari should be avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy. It may affect embryo or fetus development thus causing damage to the offspring (23).

Shatavari availability

There is no research available to prove the safety and standardized dose of Shatavari in humans. However, it is found in most drug stores, supermarkets, and online pharmacies and available as a powder, pill, and as liquid supplements.

Q&A

What is Asparagus racemosus used for?

Shatavari root is a natural remedy used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Used as a general tonic or hormone balancer for all ages of women. It helps to treat nervous disorders and prevent aging. It is identified as one of the drugs to control the symptoms of AIDS. Also boost immunity, lower blood sugar level, cholesterol level, and uplift gastrointestinal health. It protects the body from various infections and diseases. More study is needed to confirm its effect on the human. 

Are Shatavari and asparagus the same?

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a young shoot that is used as a spring vegetable. In contrast, Shatavari root acts as a strong rejuvenation for the body and improves mental functions thus used as a medicine.

What is Shatavari good for?

Shatavari is beneficial to enhance both physical and mental wellness in men and women. It boosts immunity and promotes the heart, kidney, lungs, and digestive health. Used to treat swelling, pain, depression, anxiety, cancer, diarrhea, cough, memory loss, and diabetes.

Who should not take Shatavari?

A research study suggested that Shatavari is safe for long-term use however it is necessary to consume its prescribed amount.  The person who is taking drugs like anti-diabetic or diuretic or a pregnant woman should consult a doctor before taking Shatavari. Moreover, People who are allergic to the asparagus plant family should avoid Shatavari formulations. It may cause allergy with symptoms like hives, itchy eyes, and skin, dizziness, or wheezing. 

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