Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) owes most of its benefits to a group of compounds called steroidal saponins and flavonoids. It’s most well known for helping balance hormone levels in women, possibly by protecting the ovaries against free radicals. That apart, it protects the stomach lining from corrosive stomach acids and helps increase absorption of nutrients in the small intestine by slowing down the passage of food. It also raises the total number of immune cells, increasing the killer cells like T cells, natural killer cells, and neutrophils.
First off, shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is also called asparagus, but it is not the same as the vegetable (Asparagus officinalis) you’re likely familiar with – same genus, different species.
Shatavari holds great value in the ayurvedic universe because of its versatile reach in the body, owing most of its benefits to a group of compounds called steroidal saponins. Pigment compounds called flavonoids also pull their weight.
The roots of the plant store most of these chemicals and are, hence, the most health-promoting part of the plant.
Why It’s So Great
1. Boosts Digestive Health
When it comes to digestive health, you hold major controls in your diet, like this simple pro-gut root!
- Shatavari protects your stomach lining by helping reduce stomach acid secretion. Too much acid can, bit by bit, erode your stomach wall. Rest assured, however, there’ll still be enough acid left to help you digest your food.
- It slows down the pace at which food moves through the small intestine. This buys you extra time to properly absorb water and electrolytes from your food, in the bargain, firming up your stools.
2. Strengthens Immunity
Like a bouncer working 24×7, your immune system is constantly trying to identify and keep out uninvited guests like bacteria and viruses. The shatavari root can make it a little easier by recruiting more immune cells for the job.
It not only helps increase the total number of immune cells but also plays special attention to those actually doing the killings – like T cells, natural killer cells, and neutrophils. It even makes sure that front-line troopers called macrophages don’t get lazy.
3. Balances Female Hormones
Women may have an added advantage with shatavari. The herb helps balance out hormonal fluctuations that may be interfering with their moods, menstrual cycles, and energy levels.
These fluctuations may stem from irritation to the ovaries by molecules called free radicals. Shatavari’s compounds can help round up and nullify free radicals, allowing the ovaries to do a better job with hormone regulation and production.
4. Protects the Heart and Liver
Free radicals do not discriminate when vandalizing. They can cause damage wherever they’re in excess, heart and liver included. And since all natural processes in the body generate free radicals, they’re never in short supply.
Shatavari’s flavonoids and saponins can weed out free radicals to minimize damage, while supporting antioxidant enzymes naturally found in these organs. This even helps preserve the stash of endogenous liver antioxidants for use in more urgent situations.
There’s no fixed recommendation of how much shatavari you should have. There are loads of variables that come into play like your age, sex, and medical conditions.
That said, a good place to start may be about 2 teaspoons of shatavari root powder twice a day. Mix it into warm milk if that makes it more palatable for you.