Botanical name – Asparagus racemosus Willd.
Family – Liliaceae
Common names –
English – Indian Asparagus
Hindi – Satavar
Sanskrit – Shatavari
Parts used – Tubers and Leaves
Shatavar is common throughout the tropical and subtropical regions, particularly central India. It is also found up to an altitude of 1500 m in subtropical Himalayas
It grows all over India, Sri Lanka, Himalayas & over the World. Its habitat is common at low altitudes in shade and in tropical climates throughout Asia, Australia and Africa.
- Shoots contain Thiophene, Thiazole, Aldehyde, Ketone vanillin, Asparagusic acid, and its Methyl and Ethyl esters used as flavors.
- Flowers and mature fruits contain Quercetin, Rutin and Hyperoside
- Leaves contain Diosgenin and Quercetin-3-glucuronide
- Roots contain Saponins- Shatavarin I–IV, the glycosides of Sarsasapogenin
- It also contains essential oils, Asparagine, Arginine, Tyrosine, Flavonoids, Resin, and Tannin.
Uses of Shatavari
A. racemosus is termed as “Stanya” i.e. Galactogogues in Ayurveda. It has been investigated and found that its roots, and root extracts can improve lactational inadequacy in lactating mothers. Also it increases the milk secretions. Alcoholic extract of A. racemosus shows significant increase in milk yield & also an increased growth of the mammary glands, alveolar tissues and acini. A.racemosus possess antidopaminergic activity that shows therapeutic effects, of Shatavari like dyspepsia and galactogogue , may be due to an active principle containing dopamine receptor antagonistic activity because shatavari produced similar effects when compared to metoclopramide, a dopamine receptor antagonist. The intramuscular administration of alcoholic extract of shatavari root produced an increase in weight of mammary glands in post partumestrogen primed rats and increased uterine weight in estrogen primed group.
Effects in Female Infertility
In Ayurveda it is considered a female tonic. In spite of being a rejuvenating herb it is 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 the womb for conception, prevents miscarriages, acts as post-partum tonic by increasing lactation and normalizing the uterus and the changing hormones. It is also used in leucorrhoea and menorrhagia. A. racemosus has estrogenic activity.
The alcoholic extract of rhizome increased the size of the mammary glands with a dilated vaginal orifce. It also revealed thickening of all the layers of the genital organs, especially the muscular layer, this may be due to hypertrophy of the glandular, stromal and muscular cells and hyperplasia of the stromal tissue along with numerous dilated blood vessels, especially in the muscular wall.
A. racemosus racemosus containing formulations stimulate haemopoetic function and increase weight of accessory sex glands. The energy source for the female reproductive system is oestrogen dependent glycogen. Estrogen increases the glycogen content in the uterus and any decrease in uterine glycogen would directly implicate estrogen deficiency. Asparagus racemosus extract containing formulation was found to cause an increase in uterine weight and uterine glycogen without altering serum estrogen progesterone levels.
The powdered dried root of A. racemosus is used in Ayurveda for dysepesia , a condition where the symptoms range from acidity, a fullness of abdomen, belching, nausea and GERD. Oral administration of powdered dried root of A. racemosus has been found to promote gastric emptying, act as a laxative. A. racemosus has also been used for the treatment of ulcerative disorder of stomach. The juice of fresh root of A. racemosus has been shown to have definite curative effect in patients of duodenal ulcers.
Various extract from the roots have been shown to cause contraction of smooth muscles of duodenum, without affecting peristaltic movements.