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Satish Lele
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Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus)

Introduction: Shatavari is actually considered to be the most helpful herb for women as it helps in balancing the female hormonal system. It is the main herbal rejuvenative for women. Shatavari totally nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs, enhancing female fertility. It nourishes the womb and ovum and almost prepares the female organs for pregnancy and prevents threatened miscarriage. It also improves super lactation. Shatavari contains the phyto-estrogens, the precursors of estrogen and is really very useful for women who suffer from low natural estrogen levels as a result of menopause, hysterectomies or oophorectomies.
Shatavari has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts like the Charak Samhita and Susruta Samhita, and Astanga Samgraha. It is stated that shatavari promotes maternal health and its meticulous use as a galactagogue (enhances breast milk secretion in lactating mothers). Shatavari actually literally means "having a 100 spouses" and ayurvedic texts accurately claim that shatavari strengthens a woman to the point where she is being capable of producing thousands of healthy ova.
Ayurveda has called Shatavari the Queen of herbs and is the primary herb recommended for female health. Among the three Ayurvedic Doshas of Vat, Pitta and Kaph, Shatavari efficiently helps in balancing Pitt Dosh. Shatavari's juice is sweet (madhur) and also in nature bitter (tikta). It is a natural coolant.
Charak has categorized it as balya promoting strength or a tonic, vay sthapana – promotes longevity, sukra janan (spermatogenic). Also, he has cited it as a rejuvenative to ras and mamsa dhatus and mamsavaha srotasa. Susrut has mentioned it as sukra sodhana – purifies the sperms or semen. Whereas, it is quoted as vajikara – augments the sexual vigour and quantity of semen (Sarngandhara Samhita). It is also classified as samsamana – neither it aggravates nor it eliminates the doshas from the body, but simply pacifies the aggravated doshas especially, pitta.
Botanical Name : Asparagus Racemosus
Family Name : Liliaceae
Common Names : Asparagus, Wild Asparagus, Asparagus Root, Shatavari
Indian names : Shatmuli, Satavari (Sanskrit) Satawar, Satavari (Hindi) Shimai-shadavari, Ammaikodi, Kilwari (Tamil) Challagadda, Pilligadalu, Kilwari (Telgu) Majjige-gedde, Aheru balli (Kannada) Saatawari, Ekalakanto (Gujarathi) Shatawarmul, Shatavari (Marathi) Satamuli (Bengali) Shatavali, Satavari (Malayalam)
Shatavari is a climbing plant which grows in low forests, all through India. It is mostly the roots of the plant that are used for medicinal purposes. Shatavari has been used in India for thousands of years for its therapeutic and tonic properties. It is an all-round tonic and rejuvenative which can be given to a person with any type, constitution, males or females, youngsters or elders. Indeed, Shatavari is the Universal Rasayan. It has various synonyms like atiras (very juicy), narayani (from which famous preparation Narayana oil is manufactured), satpadi (possesses hundreds of roots), suksma patra (has tiny leaves etc).
The plant grows all over India in tropical areas and is found in Himalayas, up to an altitude of 1,300 to 1,400 meters. The plant is an armed climber, growing 1 to 2 meters in length. The leaves are green, shiny, small, and uniform and like pine needles. The flowers are tiny, white, in small spikes. The roots are finger-like, clustered, tuberous, 30 cm to 1 meter or more in length and tapering at both ends. The fruits are globose, pulpy berries, purplish black when ripe. The plant flowers in July and fruits in September.
Saponins are present in all species of Asparagus, but variations are found, in different species from different parts. For example, A4 fraction of the Asparagus glycosides obtained from the plant, from southern part of India was absent in the north Indian species. From dried roots, sitosterol, saponins A4, A5 to A8 are isolated. Mucilage is also present in roots. In the leaves, disogenin is also isolated. From the flowers and fruits, rutin, sarsapogenin, glycosides of quercetin and hyperoside are obtained. Sitosterol, stigmasterol and their glucosides, sarsasapogenin and their glucosides, sarsasapogenin and two spirostanolic and two furostanolic saponins isolated from fruits and chemically studied Chem. Four glycosides – compound a, shatavarin I, II, and IV – isolated from roots, structure of shatavarin IV elucidated.
The roots are in nature bitter, sweet, emollient, cooling, nervine, tonic, constipating, opthalimic, anobyne, aphrodisiac. They are in character useful in nervous disorders, dyspepsia, and tumours, scalding of urine, throat infections, tuberclosis, cough bronchitis and for general debility.
Shatavari increases the white blood count and stimulates greatly macrophages which helps to combat their candida. Shatavari also contains various bioflavinoids, and essential vitamin B components, and the essential elements of calcium and zinc.

Applications / Uses

The roots and leaves are used for medicinal purpose. The plant is used both internally as well as externally. The medicated oil is the best medicament, in vat diseases and in vat and pitta diseases of the head, it is useful for massage. The paste of its fresh leaves is applied on burning sensation of the skin in smallpox and bullae. The famous preparation Narayana oil is used externally on large scale on many vat diseases for massage. It strengthens the muscles, alleviates the vat dosh and reduces pain in lumbago, sciatica, inflamed joints and also in paralysis or paresis.
Internally, Shatavari is used as a cure for various diseases. The fresh juice of its roots with honey, reduces the burning sensation and pain in tumors due to pitta. Shatavari ghrita (ghee) is the best panacea for acid peptic disease (hyper acidity). It is an effective demulcent for the dry and inflamed membranes of the lungs, stomach, kidneys and sexual organs. It is effective for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, along with hyperacidity. In diarrhea and dysentery associated with bleeding, the medicated milk or ghrita is extremely benevolent. Shatavari also augments the appetite and stimulates the liver. It also increases the quality and quantity of breast milk in nursing mothers, hence Shatavari preparation traditionally given in postpartum period. It also is anabolic to uterus, hence, useful in uterine hypoplasia in young girls.
Vasa is beneficial in Rakta pitta (bleeding disorders) wherein the bleeding is common, whereas, Shatavari ameliorates the bleeding per rectum. For this purpose, the fresh root juice or its decoction is used. Shatavari is the best nervine tonic, so useful in debility in epilepsy and hysteria. Shatavari yog is used for this purpose. As an aphrodisiac, its root powder (10 gm) is recommended daily, with the milk and sugar. It works well as a general tonic and augments the seminal fluids. The edema due to cardiac origin, Shatavari imparts beneficial effects on the heart, reduces edema, and boosts the hemoglobin percentage with Shatavari siddha ghrita.
Narayana oil, mentioned above can be used internally with benefit in bronchial asthma. It curbs the intensity of the bronchospasms and decreases the frequency of paroxysms. Shatavari also increases the urinary output, hence beneficial in urinary stones and Dysurea. It also works well as a rejuvenative, to improve the eye sight when given for prolonged duration. Phal ghrita is one of the well known preparations of Shatavari, which is used as an all round tonic for the uterus. It improves the uterine growth, mitigates dysmenorrheal and menorrhagia, augments the fertility and imparts anabolic properties. Phala ghrita is the formulation designed by an ancient seer – Bharadvaj. Shatavari is the main Ayurvedic rejuvenative for the female, as Ashwagandha is for the male, although they have some effect on both sexes. It is an extremely nutritious tonic for women, from menarche to menopause.

    The important therapeutic uses of Shatavari are
  • Shatavari is exceedingly effective in improving fertility. It tones and nourishes female reproductive organs and greatly regulates ovulation

  • Shatavari normalizes hormonal secretion

  • Shatavari treats PMS symptoms just by relieving pain and controlling blood loss

  • Shatavari aids in proper lactation for nursing mothers

  • Shatavari relieves the menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. By producing estrogens, it overly makes up for low estrogen levels in women, who are in menopausal or have had hysterectomies or oophorectomies

  • Shatavari is highly beneficial in amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, leucorrhea and other pelvic inflammatory diseases

  • Shatavari increases the white blood count and almost stimulates macrophages which helps to combat candida

The list of different illnesses and conditions, cured by the use of Shatavari is indeed impressive.

  1. Infertility

  2. Irregularities in ovulation

  3. PMS symptoms such as those excessive bleeding, cramps, pain, bloating

  4. Menopausal and other post menopausal symptoms

  5. Reduced breast milk secretion in the nursing women

  6. Amenorrhea, Dysmenorrhea, Leucorrhea and pelvic inflammatory diseases

  7. Decrease in the libido

Classical Ayurvedic Preparations are
  1. Shatavari Ghirta

  2. Narayana Tel

  3. Phala Ghrita

  4. Vishnu Tel

  5. Satamulyadi Lauha

  6. Shatavari Panaka

  7. Shatavari Churna

  8. Shatavari Kalpa

  9. Shatavari Yog


The Demand

With the increasing interest in natural products across the world and the resultant upsurge in the demand for medicinal plants, this trade is expected to grow up. It is estimated that in India, more than 500 tonnes of shatavari roots are needed every year for various medicinal preparations.

Cultivation Process

Shatavari can be cultivated on soil for 'dry land management'.
Soil: Generally, the crop prefers lateritic, red loamy soils, with adequate drainage. Being a shallow rooted crop, it can be easily grown under such shallow and rocky soils where the soil depth is hardly 20 to 30 cm.
Climate: The crop survives under varied agro-climatic conditions ranging from temperate to tropical hill regions. It can be grown in moderate hills and medium elevations of Western Ghat hills under condition where the elevations are between 800 to 1,500 meters. It tolerates drought as well as low temperature.
Varieties: There is no named variety developed so far in this crop.

Inputs
Sl.No.Materials perAcreHectare
1Number of plants10,00025,000
2Farm Yard Manure8 Tons20 Tons

Presently the crop is grown using mainly organic fertlizers.

Plantation
  • It is propagated by root suckers or seeds. For commercial cultivation, root suckers are preferred over seeds.

  • The soil is prepared well by digging up to 15 cm depth. The field is divided into convenient sized plots and laid out into ridges at 60 cm apart.

  • Well developed root suckers are planted on the ridges.

Irrigation And Intercropping
  • The field is irrigated immediately after planting. It is continued at 4 to 6 days interval until a month and thereafter at weekly interval.

  • Frequent weeding is required during its early period of growth.

  • Care should be taken to avoid any damage to growing shoots at the time of weeding. Totally, about 6 to 8 hand weeding is needed to keep crop free of weeds.

  • The crop being a climber requires support for its proper growth. For this purpose, 4 to 6 feet long stickes are used to support the general growth.

  • In large scale plantation, the plants are trailed on brush wood pegged in alternate rows.

Plant Protection

No serious pest and disease has been noticed in this crop.

Harvesting and Yield
  • The roots come to maturity in about 12 to 14 months after planting, depending upon the soil and climatic conditions.

  • A single plant may yield about 500 to 600 grams of fresh root. On an average, 12,000 to 14,000 kg of fresh roots can be harvested from an area of one hectare, which on drying may yield about 1,000 to 1,200 kg of dried roots.





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