Several months ago, I posted a bout ashwagandha, which is widely known as a made reproductive tonic in Ayurveda. A common Ayurvedic female reproductive tonic is shatavari, also known as wild asparagus or asparagus racemosus.* While ashwagandha is typically considered a men’s herb and shatavari a women’s herb, they can both be taken by men and women, and I have used both.
The part of the shatavari plant that is used is its tuberous root, and it has a heavy and oily/unctuous quality. It is known to rejuvenate the reproductive system and enhance fertility. It promotes menstrual flow and relieves menstrual pain. It is also a galactagogue, which means that it increases breast milk production. It is thought to help prevent postpartum depression and to support women during menopause. Shatavari also increases ojas and is said to be the most important sattvic rejuvenative for women. According to Plantetary Herbology, it is considered especially rejuvenative for pitta types. It is also an aphrodisiac.
Shatavari also has spiritual purposes, according to Planetary Herbology; it is said to increase love, devotion, and compassion. The sweetest roots are highly valued, as they are said to foster the deepest feelings of spiritual compassion.
Shatavari is often taken internally as a tincture or powder. In Ayurveda, it is administered in a fat, usually ghee or milk, and typically something sweet, such as jaggery, is added. Vegans can use nut milk instead. It is recommended to be combined with cardamom or cinnamon so that it doesn’t disturb digestion. Shatavari can also be applied externally to muscle and joint pain and is an ingredient in mahanarayan oil. According to Ayurveda and Marma Therapy, a paste of shatavari can be applied externally to the nitamba marma, which is related to the ilium, sacrum, and sacroiliac joint, if there is an injury to that marma point.*
I took shatavari along with ashwagandha in warm nut milk during the first few months of my postpartum period and found it very helpful. I also use it to increase breastmilk production, and have been using it for postpartum pain in my sacrum and SI joint.
Frawley, Dr. David and Drs. Subbash Ranade and Avinash Lele. Ayurveda and Marma Therapy. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2003.
McIntyre, Anne and Mucghelle Boudin. Dispensing with Tradition: A Practitioner’s Guide to Using Indian and Western Herbs the Ayurvedic Way. Great Britain: Artemis House, 2012.
Tierra, Michael. Planetary Herbology. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 1988.
Notes from apprenticeship with Thyme Herbal.
* Marma points, according to Ayurveda and Marma Therapy, are energy centers in the body that govern the interface between the physical and pranic bodies and the interchange of energy and information between them.