What is it?

Shatavari is also known as Asparagus racemosus. It’s a member of the asparagus family. It’s also an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogenic herbs are said to help your body cope with physical and emotional stress.

Shatavari is considered a general health tonic to improve vitality, making it a staple in ayurvedic medicine. Keep reading to learn more about the other health benefits it may offer.

1. It has antioxidant properties

Antioxidants help prevent free-radical cell damage. They also battle oxidative stress, which causes disease. Shatavari is high in saponins. Saponins are compounds with antioxidant abilities.

According to a 2004 study, a new antioxidant called racemofuran was identified within shatavari root. Two known antioxidants — asparagamine A and racemosol — were also found.

2. It has anti-inflammatory properties

Racemofuran, which is found in shatavari, also has significant anti-inflammatory capabilities. According to the book Medicinal Cookery: How You Can Benefit from Nature’s Pharmacy, racemofuran acts similarly in the body as prescription anti-inflammatory drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. These types of drugs are thought to reduce inflammation without serious digestive side effects.

3. It may help boost your immune system

Shatavari is used in ayurveda as an immunity booster. According to a 2004 study, animals treated with shatavari root extract had increased antibodies to a strain of whooping cough when compared to untreated animals. The treated animals recovered faster and had improved health overall. This suggested an improved immune response.

4. It may help relieve cough

According to a 2000 study on mice, shatavari root juice is a natural cough remedy in West Bengal, India. Researchers evaluated its cough-relieving abilities in coughing mice. They found shatavari root extract stopped cough as well as the prescription cough medicine codeine phosphate. More studies are needed to determine how shatavari works to relive coughs.

5. It may help treat diarrhea

Shatavari is used as a folk remedy for diarrhea. Diarrhea may cause serious problems, such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

According to a 2005 study, shatavari helped stop castor oil–induced diarrhea in rats. More study is needed to see if shatavari has comparable results in humans.

6. It may act as a diuretic

Diuretics help your body get rid of excess fluid. They’re often prescribed for people who have congestive heart failure to remove excess fluid from around the heart. Prescription diuretics may cause serious side effects.

According to a 2010 study on rats, shatavari is used as a diuretic in ayurveda. The study found that 3,200 milligrams of shatavari had diuretic activity without causing acute side effects. More study is needed on humans before shatavari can be safely recommended as a diuretic.

7. It may help treat ulcers

Ulcers are sores in your stomach, small intestine, or esophagus. They may be very painful. They can cause serious complications, such as bleeding or perforation.

According to a 2005 study on rats, shatavari was as effective at treating medication-induced gastric ulcers as ranitidine (Zantac). Ranitidine is a drug commonly prescribed to treat ulcers. Shatavari was less effective against stress-induced ulcers.

8. It may help treat kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in your kidneys. As they pass through your urinary tract, they may cause excruciating pain.

Most kidney stones are made of oxalates. Oxalates are compounds found in some foods, such as spinach, beets, and french fries.

In a 2005 study, shatavari root extract helped prevent the formation of oxalate stones in rats. It also increased magnesium concentration in the urine. Proper levels of magnesium in the body are thought to help prevent the development of crystals in the urine that form kidney stones.

9. It may help maintain blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, as is the need for safer, more effective treatments. According to a 2007 study, shatavari may help maintain blood sugar levels. It’s thought compounds within the herb stimulate insulin production, although it’s unclear exactly how.

More study is needed, but researchers suggest understanding how shatavari impacts blood sugar may hold the key to the development of new diabetes treatments.

10. It may be anti-aging

Shatavari may be one of nature’s best kept anti-aging secrets. According to a 2015 study, the saponins in shatavari root helped reduce the free-radical skin damage that leads to wrinkles. Shatavari also helped prevent collagen breakdown. Collagen helps maintain your skin’s elasticity.

More study is needed before topical shatavari products hit the market. But some researchers believe they may be the future of safe, anti-aging skin care.

11. It may help treat depression

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, major depressive disorder affects over 16.1 million American adults yearly. Yet many people can’t take prescription depression medications due to negative side effects.

Shatavari is used in ayurveda to treat depression. A 2009 study on rodents found the antioxidants in shatavari have strong antidepressant abilities. They also impacted neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters communicate information throughout our brain. Some are associated with depression.

How to use

Shatavari isn’t well studied in humans. No standardized dose has been established.

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild, these doses may prevent kidney stones:

  • 4-5 milliliters of shatavari root tincture, three times daily
  • a tea made from 1 teaspoon powdered shatavari root and 8 ounces water, twice daily

Shatavari is available in powder, tablet, and liquid forms. A typical dose of shatavari tablets is 500 milligrams, up to twice daily. A typical dose of shatavari extract is 30 drops in water or juice, up to three times daily.

Talk to your doctor or a natural health practitioner before incorporating shatavari in your routine, especially if you take medications or have health problems. They can help you determine the right dose for you.

The FDA does not monitor herbs and supplements. The quality, purity, and strength of supplements varies. Only buy shatavari from a brand you trust.

Possible side effects and risks

According to 2003 research, ayurvedic medicine considers shatavari “absolutely safe for long term use, even during pregnancy and lactation.” Still, there’s not much scientific research on the side effects of shatavari supplementation. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t use it until more studies are done and it’s proven safe.

There are reports of allergic reaction in some people who take shatavari. If you’re allergic to asparagus, avoid this supplement. Seek medical attention if you experience worsening asthma or allergic reaction symptoms.

This includes:

  • rash
  • fast heart rate
  • itchy eyes
  • itchy skin
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness

Shatavari may have a diuretic effect. You shouldn’t take it with other diuretic herbs or drugs such as furosemide (Lasix).

Shatavari may lower your blood sugar. You shouldn’t take it with other drugs or herbs that lower blood sugar.

The bottom line

Shatavari has been used in ayurvedic medicine for centuries. However, not enough scientific studies on humans have been done to recommend it for any medical condition. That said, it’s safe to eat it in small amounts, and doing so will allow you to reap its antioxidant and immune-boosting benefits.

If you wish to take a higher dose of shatavari, talk to your doctor before adding it to your routine. They can go over your individual risks and potential benefits, as well as answer any questions you may have.