Shatavari: Fertility Herb from India

Shatavari: Fertility Herb from India

Shatavari FertilityShatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is a species of asparagus grown throughout India, traditionally used in Ayurveda. The name is translated as “she who possesses a hundred husbands”. This may be because this plant has been used traditionally for hundreds to thousands of years as a general female reproductive tonic and hormonal balancer by Ayurvedic healers.

A Brief History of Ayurveda

Ayurveda has evolved over 5,000 years, with its beginnings in the Himalayas. Around 800 BC the first Ayurvedic school was established by a man named Punarvasu Atreya. He and his students recorded their medical knowledge. These writings inspired a scholar named Charaka a hundred years later to write Charaka Samhita, which details over 1,500 plant species and identifies 700 medicinal plant species. Traditional Ayurvedic practitioners still use this book as a reference guide. Charaka’s second work titled Susruta Samhita was the basis for modern surgery. Traditional Chinese, Tibetan and Islamic medicine have their roots in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is one of the oldest modalities of traditional medical practices.

What is Shatavari?

Shatavari is a plant with a woody stem that sends runners out, has needle like leaves, with small white flowers. If you look closely at the buds before they bloom they look like very thin asparagus, just like their larger relatives that some of us love to eat here in the States.

Shatavari has shown many fertility benefits for both men and women. It has adaptogenic, immunomodulator, diuretic, sexual tonic, galactogogue (promote breastmilk flow), demulcent, antibacerial, digestive and antioxidant actions.

This plant has been shown to improve overall fertility with no toxic side effects reported with long term use. Steroidal sapponins called Shatavarins may be responsible for the hormone like effect Shatavari has on reproductive system.

How Shatavari May Help With Fertility

Adaptogenic Actions Support Overall Stress Support
This plant has shown to protect the body from stressors. It combines well with Tribulus terrestris another herb shown to be beneficial for fertility. Very helpful for women with stress induced fertility issues. Because of its adaptogenic actions it has been used by men and women to support healthy fertility.

Immune Related Fertility Issues
Satavari may be very helpful with women who have stress related or immune-mediated fertility issues. Autoimmune fertility issues may be helped by proper immnological function supported by Shatavari.

In one study Shatavari was shown to increase phagocytic activity of macrophages in turn reducing intraperitoneal adheshions. These are adhesions within the abdomen specifically. Macrophages have been shown to play a role in adhesion development. But this is just one study, if Shatavari can increase phagocytic activity of the macrophages there is hope for it in reducing adhesions in the entire body. This may be great news for women suffering from adhesion damage causing fertility issues such as endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, damage from c-section, ovarian cysts.

Supports Mucous Membranes
Herbs that have a demulcent action contain mucilage. Mucilage lines the mucous memebranes and acts as a protector and tonic for those membranes. Shatavari contains mucilage, this may be helpful for women with low Cervical Mucous.

Threatened Miscarriage
In cases where the uterus is contracting due to oxytocin release the saponin rich Shatavari has shown to have an antioxytocin effect that may help the uterine contractions to subside. Please talk to a skilled Ayurvedic practitioner or Naturopathic Doctor about the use of Shatavari for threatened miscarriage.

Menstrual Cycle Regulator
Shatavari’s main constituents are steroidal-saponins, suggesting its use as an estrogen regulator, the estrogen modulating in turn may contribute to menstrual cycle regulation.

Galactogogue
A galactogogue is an herb that helps to increase breast milk production. Some studies show that Shatavari may increase a mothers milk supply. This herb has shown signs of contributing to prolactin production so women with the endocrine disorder hyperprolactinemia or high prolactin levels should use caution with this herb.

Reduces Fluid Retention
This herb has shown to greatly help with fluid retention and may be helpful for PMS related fluid retention, helping the body to eliminate excess fluid build-up.

Traditional Daily Dosage

A traditional suggested dosage amount would be 4.5 to 8.5 mL of dried plant extract or 1,000 – 2,000mg a day. This herb is commonly sold in capsule form as well. It is important to be mindful of potential risk for heavy metal contamination when purchasing herbs from India.

Click here to shop for Fertilica™ Shatavari Extract


References:
– Gautam, Manish, et. al. (2009). Immunomodulatory activity of Asparagus racemosus on systemic Th1/Th2 immunity: Implications for immunoadjuvant potential. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 121, Issue 2, pp 241-247. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.028
– Rege N N, Nazareth H M, Isaac A A, Karandikar S M, Dahanukar S A. Immunotherapeutic modulation of intraperitoneal adhesions by Asparagus racemosus. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1989 [cited 2015 Jun 24];35:199-203. Available from: http://www.jpgmonline.com/text.asp?1989/35/4/199/5684
– Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone.
– Winston, David; Maimes, Steven. (2007). Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief. pp 198-200. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.
– Chevallier, Andrew (1996). The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, DK Publising, Inc.

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[-] 88 Comments
  1. Hi Elizabeth 🙂 I´d like to ask…I´ve alway had longer cycles – 35-40 days. My last 2 periods were very weak..just like spotting. I begin to take Shatavari twice a day..daily dose od 1500 mg. My ovulation was on 11 CD (always 16 Cd or later) nad on 19 CD starts my period which is really heavy with big clots. I´ve always had low estrogen and progesteron. I have also ovarian cyst..probably endometrial cyst. Is it possible that Shatavari increase estrogen level and that´s why I have heavy period and that it started so early ? Is Shatavari estrogenic or not ?Some sources say it´s phytoestrogen, some it increases progesteron.My gynecologist has suspicion of endometriosis, is Shatav.good for it?

    • Hello Silvia!

      I have not heard of Shatavari increasing estrogen to the point of making a period heavy. How long have you been taking it?

      There are so many plants that are sources of phytoestrogens, Shatavari does contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens). While phytoestrogens are believed to protect us from exogenous estrogens (the bad ones) that can exacerbate or contribute to fertility health issues like endometriosis, they are not relied upon alone to help the body return to balance. Consider learning more from our guide 5 Steps to Reversing Endometriosis Infertility.

  2. Can I take Shatavari during all phases of my cycle? I read somewhere that you shouldn’t take this during your 2WW, just before ovulation.

    • Dear Nicole,

      Shatavari can be taken all cycle long when trying to conceive. It is best discontinued if you think you may be or upon first determination of pregnancy.

  3. Hi, is Shatavari safe to use during pregnancy? I got my positive yesterday after taking Shatavari for a month and I am scared that if I go off it completely it may lead to a miscarriage (I have already had one last year). I understand it is a diuretic and balances out estrogen so can it be harmful in the first trimester?

    • Hello Supriya!

      Congratulations! What wonderful news!

      It is great that you are checking in with your OB (although you are right, many aren’t familiar with herbs). It may also help to reach out to a midwife near you. In Aryurveda, Shatavari has been used in pregnancy and after, but this is best only under the care of a trained professional. We have to suggest weaning of it slowly over a week’s time unless you are guided otherwise by your healthcare provider or midwife.

      A good way to wean off of an herb is to take less and less each day, over a week. If you are taking herbs in a capsule form, you could open the capsule, dump a little out and then close it back up and then take it. Do this each day until you are no longer taking it.

      It may also help to check in with the Shop staff where you purchased the product or the maker of the product. They may offer support too!

      I wish you the very best!

  4. Hi there, I got pregnant last year which resulted in a miscarriage in Oct 2016, likely due to low progestrone. I have been trying to conceive ever since but my ovulation was irregular, so recently I was recommended Shatavari by a shop attendant where I had gone with the intent to buyVitex. I only started taking it 2 times a day for a month and I realized yesterday I am pregnant (14 dpo). I want to know if it is safe to continue Shatavari or should I wean off it. If it is the latter, then what side effects can I expect? I am so scared of another miscarriage that I want to ensure I do everything in my control to prevent it. I will also talk to my OB but I doubt she knows of this herb. Tx!

    • Hello Supriya!

      Congratulations! What wonderful news!

      It is great that you are checking in with your OB (although you are right, many aren’t familiar with herbs). It may also help to reach out to a midwife near you. In Aryurveda, Shatavari has been used in pregnancy and after, but this is best only under the care of a trained professional. We have to suggest weaning of it slowly over a week’s time unless you are guided otherwise by your healthcare provider or midwife.

      A good way to wean off of an herb is to take less and less each day, over a week. If you are taking herbs in a capsule form, you could open the capsule, dump a little out and then close it back up and then take it. Do this each day until you are no longer taking it.

      It may also help to check in with the Shop staff where you purchased the product or the maker of the product. They may offer support too!

      I wish you the very best!

  5. Hi there

    I have ordered some shatavari capsules from Amazon but just seen your warning about products from India. These are from India but listed as organic – do you think they’ll pose the same heavy metal contamination risk? I’m quite worried now. The make is Organic India.

    Thank you!

    • Dear Ami,

      Organic India is an industry leader and highly reputable. You can certainly reach out to them, but I would not worry at all. They make amazing products.

    • Thank you very much indeed!