Shatavari translates to “who possesses a hundred husbands” and has traditionally been used as a general tonic as well as female hormone/reproductive tonic. It is known as the Queen of Herbs in Ayurveda medicine. Studies have shown the extract to be antiulcer, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and contain immune-modulatory activities. Its benefits are suggested for nerve disorders, dyspepsia, diarrhea, dysentery, inflammation, cough, bronchitis, hyperacidity, and infectious disease. The main active components in Shatavari are alkaloids, mucilage, and steroidal saponins.
Shatavari has been shown to help milk production in mothers. One of the mechanisms shown for this has been by increasing prolactin levels.
It is known as a well rounded female hormone tonic for many different uses including: “beneficial in female infertility, as it increases libido, cures inflammation of sexual organs and even moistens dry tissues of the sexual organs, enhances folliculogenesis and ovulation, prepares womb for conception, prevents miscarriages, acts as post partum tonic by increasing lactation, normalizing uterus and changing hormones”. It can also help with PMS and dysmenorrhea.
Many report having symptomatic relief with post-menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, etc. Multiple studies have looked at Shatavari to help prevent post-menopausal bone loss. One found “The results of Shatavari were encouraging, as it has shown not only a decrease in bone loss, but a significant increase in bone formation”.
Traditionally it has been used as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. Men consuming Shatavari had similar increase in sexual behavior as those taking testosterone therapy. It was also shown to increase erection time, seminal fructose content, and sperm count.
Studies have shown Shatavari can help those suffering from ulcers. The “ulcer healing effect of the drug was attributed to a healing effect, possible by potentiating intrinsic protective factor as it has neither antisecretory activity nor antacid properties, by strengthening mucosal resistance, prolonging the lifespan of mucosal cells, increasing secretion and viscosity of mucous and reducing H+ ion back diffusion. It has been found to maintain the continuity and thickness of aspirin treated gastric mucosa with a significant increase in mucosal main. As A. racemosus heals duodenal ulcers without inhibiting acid secretion, it may have cytoprotective action similar action to that of prostaglandin other binding of bile salts”.
Taking Shatavari juice has been shown to work as a cough suppressive, as effective as codeine. Studies have also shown it to help prevent kidney stone formation. It can also stimulate a healthy peristalsis of the bowels.
Shatavari has shown antibacterial properties against: Escherichia coli, Shigella dysenteriae, Shegella sonnei, Shigella flexneri, Vibriocholerae, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas pectida, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. It also has antiprotozoal activity showing inhibition of Entamoeba histolytica.
It has also been shown to help protect the liver and can alter function of macrophages, indicating possible immune-modulatory properties. Traditionally it has been used for depression with “antidepressant activity and this effect is probably mediated through the serotonergic, noradrenergic systems and augmentation of antioxidant defenses”.