Herb-Shatavari

Shatavari
(Asparagus racemosus)

Part Used: Root

Habitat:

Introduction:
Shatavari means “who possesses a hundred husbands or acceptable to many”. It is considered both a general tonic and a female reproductive tonic. Shatavari may be translated as 100 spouses”, implying its ability to increases fertility and vitality.In Ayurveda this amazing herb is known as the “Queen of Herbs” because it promotes love and devotion. Shatavari is the main Ayurvedic rejuvenative tonic for the female, as is Withania for the male. It is mentioned as medhya- the plants which increases intelligence and promote learning and memory and as rasayana, the rejuvenator herbs which improves health by increasing immunity, vitality and resistance, imparting longevity as well as protection against stress. This herb is also mentioned as balya means a strength promoter, stanya- a galactogogue and jeevaniya- an erythropoetic (production of all types of blood cells).
International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 2011; 2(3):855-863

Mechanism of Action:

Shatavari has healing effect for the ulcers by potentiating defensive factors and its possible mechanism includes:

(i) It may prolong the life span of mucosal cells, increase the secretion and viscosity of mucus and strengthen the mucosal barrier and thus reduces H+ ion back diffusion into the mucosa.

(ii) Shatavari may form a complex with mucus of other substances at the base of ulcer which may protect the ulcer from the corrosive and proteolytic effects of acid pepsin.

(iii) It may have cytoprotective action like that of prostaglandins.

Other possible mechanism may be deactivation and binding of pepsin or of bile salts.
Ind J Med Sci Vol. 57 No. 9, September 2003

Medicinal Uses:

Antioxidant – Isoflavons of A. racemosus, prevents cellular damage due to its antioxidant effect. It increases antioxidant defense i.e. the enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase and ascorbic acid whereas decreases lipid peroxidation. Prevention of cellular damage is the first protective step towards aging and various diseases.
Volume 3, Issue 1, 201-211. Review Article

Gastrointestinal Effects - Shatavari has healing effect for the ulcers by potentiating defensive factors and its possible mechanism includes :

(i) It may prolong the life span of mucosal cells, increase the secretion and viscosity of mucus and strengthen the mucosal barrier and thus reduces H+ ion back diffusion into the mucosa.

(ii) Shatavari may form a complex with mucus of other substances at the base of ulcer which may protect the ulcer from the corrosive and proteolytic effects of acid pepsin.

(iii) It may have cytoprotective action like that of prostaglandins.

Other possible mechanism may be deactivation and binding of pepsin or of bile salts.
Ind J Med Sci Vol. 57 No. 9, September 2003

Galactogague Effect – Shatavari has significant galactogauge effect and increases milk secretion.

Immunomodulatory Activity – A. racemosus alters the function of macrophages that indicates immunomodulatory action.
Asian Pac J Trop Dis 2013; 3(3): 242-251


Anti-inflammatory Effect -
A. racemosus exhibits anti-inflammatory effect against the denaturation of protein and the effect is more potent if compared with the modern drug Diclofenac sodium. Also it is known that denaturation of tissue proteins is one of the well documented causes of inflammation.
Asian Pac J Trop Dis 2013; 3(3): 242-251

Female Tonic – A. racemosus has estrogenic activity. This phytoestrogenic activity is due to the presence of steroidal saponins which exert horone like actions in the body, and also due to the isoflavones which have mild esterogenic activity that help to balance the estrogen levels.

It is useful in menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrheal, premenstrual syndrome, problems in perimenopause or menopause periods. A. racemosus stimulate haemopoetic function and increase weight of accessory sex glands. The plant is also beneficial in female infertility, as it enhances folliculogenesis and ovulation, prepares the womb for conception, and prevents miscarriages. The energy source for the female reproductive system is oestrogen dependent glycogen. Estrogen increases the glycogen content in the uterus and any decreases in uterine glycogen would directly implicate estrogen deficiency. Asparagus causes an increase in uterine weight and uterine glycogen without altering serum estrogen progesterone levels in immature female. Phytoestrogen performs its function by binding to the estrogen receptor without enhancing the endogenous estrogen levels.

A. racemosus being known source of phytoestrogens can be effective in reducing adverse menopausal symptoms. These are weaker than natural estrogens in action. However, they compete with estrogen for estrogen receptors. In the presence of excess of estrogens in the body phytoestrogens may have antiestrogenic effect by occupying some estrogen receptor. The symptoms of a menopause are due to the body experiencing a withdrawal to estrogen, during thus phytoestrogen occupy vacant receptors and stimulate estrogenic action. A. racemosus alleviates the symptoms of perimenopausal and postmenopausal period.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 2011; 2(3):855-863

Clinical Studies:

A clinical study was published showing the result of A. racemosus on dyspepsia in normal healthy volunteers, in the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 1990. This study has compared the effect of A. racemosus with a modern drug, metoclopramide, used in dyspepsia to reduce gastric emptying time. A. racemosus act as a dopamine receptor antagonist in dyspepsia to increase the rate of emptying of the stomach.
Dalvi S S, Nadkarni P M, Gupta K C. Effect of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) on gastric emptying time in normal healthy volunteers. J Postgrad Med 1990;36:91

Conclusion:

According to Ayurvedic and modern literature, shatavari is known as a female tonic. This herb has been used for almost all women’s problems of before and after reproduction period like infertility, health of reproductive organs, uterus, ovaries, hormonal balance, lactation and problems related to menstruation and menopausal activity etc.