The Ayurvedic Women’s Herb Too Few Know About
In Ayurvedic medicine, shatavari is a revered staple herb, especially for female health and libido. Interestingly, almost no woman seems to have heard of it. Adaptogens that have been used by Eastern healing traditions—some for thousands of years—like ashwaghanda, rhodiola, shizandra, eleuthero and medicinal mushrooms have become all the rage in the last few years, darlings of functional medicine. Yet for some reason, shatavari hasn’t gotten as much love as these trendier adaptogens. Let’s change that.
Asparagus racemosus, or shatavari, is known as “Queen of the Herbs” for female health and libido. It has been used for millennia as a female tonic and hormone balancer. As an overall reproductive tonic, shatavari can be used at all stages of a woman’s cycle, from the start to the end, supporting fertility and addressing symptoms of PMS as well as sensations and issues associated with perimenopause and menopause.
Classified as both bitter and sweet, the powder is made from the thick tuberous roots of the plant, hence its Sanskrit name that translates as “the plant that has one hundred roots below the ground”.
Although it gets more attention relative to the female reproductive system, shatavari is actually an aphrodisiac for both men and women, and in Ayurvedic terms, it can help to balance excess pitta or vata systemically in either gender (increases kapha).
Shatavari is also a good general stamina builder, digestive tonic and immune rejuvenative as well—male or female. It’s cooling and soothing.
Shatavari is really on the food end of the spectrum. It’s from the asparagus family (though tastes more carroty). So, like turmeric or the Chinese immune-boosting adaptogen astragalus, we want to think of “eating” it if possible, rather than just taking a pill. There’s just not enough in a capsule or two for most people to really see benefit.
Shatavari can be taken in capsules or tinctures, but can also be delicious added to a smoothie or water. While some herb powders definitely ruin the smoothie vibe, shatavari is quite neutral. The below smoothie especially conceals any taste of herb—and actually seems to complement.
Quality organic shatavari powder is available online from trusted brands such as Banyan Botanicals.
Robyn Landis is an ACE-certified fitness professional, trainer, transformational health coach, Ayurvedic educator, herbalist, Reiki Master and best-selling author. She synthesizes nearly three decades of study and practice into a signature blend of science, spirit and common sense that helps people love getting the body and energy that’s fit for their dreams without hype, regimens, extremes or concern for “weight.” She offers individual and group coaching in Tucson and worldwide. Connect at RobynLandis.net and Nourish.University.
Shatavari Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie
This smoothie is fruity, naturally sweet and loaded with soothing and immune-boosting goodness as well as the shatavari benefits.
1½ cup organic almond milk, macadamia milk, coconut milk or cashew milk
¼-½ cup water
½ scoop plant-based organic vanilla protein powder
1/3 cup frozen blueberries (or more to taste/for thicker smoothie)
1 oz frozen banana (or more to taste/for thicker smoothie)
Ice, as desired
1 heaping Tbsp organic shatavari powder
½ Tbsp Dope Naturally Beet Force powder
½ tsp Camu Camu, goji berry or acai powder
½ tsp each reishi, chaga and/or cordyceps powder
½ tsp mucuna powder
¼ tsp moringa leaf powder
Blend all until smooth and enjoy.
Always consult a practitioner before using shatavari while pregnant or nursing. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No product mentioned herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.