Shatavari, also known by its botanical name, Asparagus racemosus, is a commonly known Rasayana (rejuvenation substance) herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to keep pitta and vata in balance, and can be particularly valuable in cases of excess pitta. It is Sattvic in nature and aids in love and devotion. As a result Shatavari has been used over the course of centuries to encourage resistance to a variety of bodily stresses. The rasas (tastes) of Shatavari in Ayurveda are madhura (sweet), and tikta (bitter), and consumption of the plant reflects this with a somewhat bittersweet taste and oiliness that have a natural cooling effect on those who consume it. Shatavari can also be used topically for its soothing and cooling properties. These multiple applications facilitate its reputation as a strong (rasayana) rejuvenative for not only the digestive and reproductive systems but for the blood as well.
What is Shatavari used for?Its Ayurveda name, “Shatavari,” translates into English as “having 100 spouses,” alluding to its uses as a female reproductive aid. Over the course of history this has been its most common usage. Traditionally the herb is ingested primarily by females as a support for both the reproductive system and the digestive system throughout their lifetimes. It is also supports already normal menstruation. There are also shatavari benefits for men that can be used to support the reproductive system. Shatavari is processed for consumption from the root of the plant, which is a branched shrub that grows in forests throughout India with short rootstock and succulent roots. The root is dug out of the ground, ground up, and dried before use. Traditional Ayurveda encourages the ingestion of Shatavari in powdered form, but it can also be easily obtained as a tablet or a liquid extract. Because the experience of taste helps to kick-start the digestive process, it is suggested that users follow Ayurvedic traditions in its preparation. It is typically consumed about a quarter to half a teaspoon at a time mixed with warm milk, honey, or jaggery (prepared whole sugarcane) if desired, but can also be mixed or even cooked into ghee in its powdered form. Shatavari is an important ingredient in the famous herbal formulation Chyawanprash where it is used to promote an calm state of mind. As a member of the Asparagus family, Shatavari should not be used by anyone experiencing allergies to common asparagus. Because it is said to encourage an excess of kapha, Shatavari should be used sparingly by those who are already prone to this imbalance.