Shatavari is an herb that is native to India, Africa, Australia and some parts of China. This plant is an important herb in both the traditional Indian medical system and ancient ayurvedic system.
One reason I am excited about this herb is its said ability to increase Sattva, or “positivity and healing power”. It is also said to enhance the feelings of spiritual love, and increases Ojas! In this article, I am sharing with you my own personal experiences with this beautiful herb.
I came across this amazing herb when I had run out of Maca that I began taking since living in Cusco, Peru. Maca for those who have not explored it, is a root plant that is rich in essential minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and immune nurturing polysaccharides.
While breastfeeding this past year, I’ve counted on maca in my diet for all of the above reasons as well as for its adaptogenic effects for regulating hormones and the rejuevenating effect on my nervous system. I found the amount of breast milk my body created increased while taking up to 2 tablespoons of maca once a day. I would break for one week at a time just to become sensitive to its affects and then go back to taking it for 3 weeks, rotating it as an ingredient in my morning elixirs.
When I ran out of maca, I went to purchase more and the company had run out temporarily and that is when I came across the herb, Shatavari and intuitively felt to try it.
Within 4 days, I began to notice several shifts in my physical body. The amount of breast milk was the same as usual however, my breast felt different. Firstly, they were slightly smaller and even! Yes, the breast that my little boy tends to prefer has been slightly larger in size however within days of taking Shatavari, they evened out in size. They also felt softer and not so “heavy” and full.
Over the course of a week of taking only 1 tsp of Shatavari in my morning smoothing, even the skin on my breasts felt smooth, soft and supple. As well the scar from the c-section surgery decreased in size and my skin became more sensitive in the area where the muscles & nerves had been surgically cut. Amazing!
On a more subtle level, I did notice an expanded feeling in my meditations and interactions with others. There was also an openness in my energy… I felt an energy in my dancing and yoga that was more present and “open”… its hard to describe, I just know a shift in my awareness of how my body felt when moving.
The plant that Shatavari is derived, known as Asparagus Recemosus; is a climber with woody stems and leaves that resemble pine needles, usually found in the low jungles of India. It has tuberous roots and these roots are the most important part of the plant, as far as its therapeutic properties are concerned. However, the leaves and flowers are also sometimes used for this purpose. Let us take a look at the various aspects of this herb, especially, shatavari side effects.
Shatavari is popular in India for its rejuvenating properties and its use in the treatment of various conditions relating to the female reproductive system. The Sanskrit meaning for the name shatavari is, “she who possesses a hundred husbands”! It is one of the main herbs used in Ayurveda, for boosting the reproductive health in females. In India, this herb has been used for a very long time and is claimed to be effective in treating various ailments.
Healing qualities of Shatavari are also very effective on the female reproductive system related problems. Helping to minimize complaints related to menstrual cycles (Shatavari minimizes the pain, controls the loss of blood and other fluids during menstrual cycle). Shatavari is considered to be one of the most helpful herbs for women as it helps in balancing the female hormonal system. It also helps in decreasing the inflammation of female sexual organs, in fighting tiredness and morning sickness, helps in problems related to infertility, leucorrhea, and in regulating ovulation etc,
According to its exponents, shatavari is useful for enhancing fertility, as it can treat irregularities in ovulation and menstruation. In fact, this herb is said to be beneficial for boosting sexual desire in women and the claim that it is good for increasing production of breast milk in nursing mothers, I can attest to!
Some people have used it for preventing miscarriage and premature birth. Apart from female health, shatavari is also used in treating various gastrointestinal problems, healing wounds, cough, etc. Shatavari’s therapeutic benefits don’t stop there…it also appears to be able to remove excess fluid from the body – acting as a mild diuretic and making it beneficial for relieving fluid retention. It is thought that this action is due to the inhibition of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which is produced by the posterior pituitary gland (located deep in the cranium at the base of the brain), and causes an increase in the re-absorption of water by the kidneys so that less urine is excreted.
Another area where Shatavari is showing a great deal of promise is as an anti-bacterial agent, exerting anti-microbial activity.
Even though, it is claimed to be a safe herb, Shatavari negative side effects cannot be ruled out completely. I conclude this article with a co-relation I am making to my own personal use of the the herb. While breast feeding my 1 year old boy, he developed an itchy, red rash along his collar bone then down his arms within the 4 days of my starting to take it and after stopping taking it his rash disappeared the same day!
As well, I am still in consideration of all phyto-estrogens for further study in how they affect the entire hormonal health and balance within the body as a whole. Shatavari is considered a phyto-estrogen. Phyto-estrogens attach themselves to the estrogen receptor sites where natural estrogen is normally taken in. I’ll be continuing this kind of personal research and posting results.
———- UPDATE —————-
Alright its been awhile, over one year. I do want to offer more information about Shatavari based on my experience of working with it consistently for 4 months.
While still breastfeeding, I took this herb daily (from 1/2 tsp and worked up to 1 tsp daily). There are 2 physical results I am associating with taking this herb.
1) Weight Gain
2) Excess Estrogen
I did not notice intially however within 4 months I had gained several extra pounds. I relate this to the Shatavari as I didn’t change anything else in my diet or exercise regime. Forturnately, I know what to do once I realized I had gained unnecessary weight and by just no longer taking the herb within 1 week saw weight loss ~ almost as though it was water retention, and then had to do some sweating daily to release the final weight that I had gained to go back to my previous healthy weight.
Secondly, the excess estrogen affected my skin (and liver). I can only suggest that it affected the liver and there fore I saw the melasma or pregnancy mask I had while pregnant return when I was outside for a couple sunny days. This was shocking at how intense the melasma returned. Even my dermatologist after checking it wasn’t skin cancer, couldn’t explain why it would return after having faded after pregnancy.
I quickly remedied this with applying castor oil and an essential oil mixture from Nadine Artemis twice a day/everyday, until it has faded beautifully. I am still applying both of these and will do so for another few months.
Now melasma is “thought to be the stimulation of melanocytes or pigment-producing cells by the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone to produce more melanin pigments when the skin is exposed to sun.” ~ wikipedia
In my understanding, based on my experience with the return of the melasma, Shatavari created a hormonal imbalance of these sex hormones. If I have balanced or low estrogen I would work with it more comfortably, however high levels of estrogen (from breastfeeding) and/or perhaps xeno-estrogens are needing to be cleansed in my body, Shatavari unfortunately created an imbalance that I am suggesting burdened my liver creating the skin condition to return.
Excess estrogen is not something to take lightly. I assume because this herb is a phyto-estrogen, it created an imbalance in my body. I would highly recommend those considering taking it to do so under the guidance of someone who could analyze hormone tests and get these tests done prior to taking Shatavari.
If you have any questions or comments or are considering trying Shatavari please feel free to ask questions or make comments on this article.