Women go through a lot of changes, both monthly and in a lifetime. And with the stresses and challenges of modern life, it can be difficult to always maintain balance throughout these fluctuations.
That’s where supplemental herbs can be hugely supportive. If you practice Ayurveda, you may already know about one herb in particular that is of non-discriminating benefit to all women—shatavari. Also known as wild asparagus, shatavari has long been lauded in Ayurvedic tradition as being an incredible all-around woman’s health tonic. Intrigued? Here are some of shatavari’s traditionally touted benefits:
Female libido booster
This adaptogenic herb is best known as a powerful female aphrodisiac. It is sometimes referred to as ‘she who has a hundred husbands’, which seems like a nightmare to me, but that’s beside the point. Because shatavari is such a nourishing and balancing woman’s tonic, it can provide the balance a woman’s body needs to support a powerful libido. If a woman’s stress levels, energy or hormones are even slightly out of whack, libido is the first thing to go. Shatavari brings back balance to the body so that the libido can function optimally.
Shatavari contains sapopins that support the balance and function of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. With so many women tending towards estrogen-dominance nowadays, a healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone is paramount for hormonal health. It also regulates the entire endocrine system, including production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Blood sugar balancer
Not only does shatavari support hormonal balance, but it can provide support for and even reversal of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptoms. PCOS affects 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age, and is strongly correlated with insulin resistance. Shatavari has been shown in studies to not only inhibit carbohydrate digestion and absorption, but also to enhance insulin secretion and action, making it a powerful anti-diabetic herb that can support blood sugar balance.
Mood and stress buster
In providing support for healthy adrenal and thyroid function, shatavari can be useful in maintaining physical balance in times of stress. It regulates cortisol levels and is often prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for patients suffering from chronic fatigue. It can also reduce rapid mood swings and PMS symptoms that can occur as the result of sharp hormonal fluctuations.
Incredibly, this root also exhibits neuroprotective effects. It enhances memory in both men and women and slows cell degeneration. And as it already combats stress-related high cortisol levels, it reduces the damage stress causes on the brain, like foggy thinking and memory loss.
Supports healthy menstruation, fertility, pregnancy and menopause
In Ayurvedic tradition, shatavari is used throughout a woman’s milestones, from first period to menopause. Shatavari encourages the healthy development of ovarian follicles and regulates the menstrual cycle by controlling blood loss. It can also increase fertility (shown in patients with PCOS) and supports strong breast milk production in mothers.
Shatavari can be taken as a powdered supplement, in a capsule, as a liquid extract or a tea. It takes at least two weeks of supplementation for it to begin taking effect. If you have questions or need guidance, talk to your Ayurvedic practitioner to learn more about shatavari and how it can potentially support your needs.