Shatavari powder is a natural supplement used to treat a long list of ailments. Before you run to your local health food store to grab some shatavari powder, consider the risks and benefits. What does modern research have to say about this ancient remedy?
What is Shatavari Powder?
Shatavari powder is popular in the practice of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a traditional practice of natural medicine that began in India more than 3,000 years ago. Ayurveda encourages balance between the environment and your mind, body, and spirit.
Shatavari powder comes from the roots of the Asparagus racemosus plant. This is related to the asparagus you see in your local grocery store, called Asparagus officinalis, but it’s not the same plant. Asparagus racemosus is native to India.
Shatavari is an adaptogenic herb. Although there isn't much scientific research to support these claims, adaptogenic herbs are used to help regulate the hormones produced by the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands. Like all adaptogenic herbs, shatavari can be used to help your body manage stress and improve your overall health.
Health Benefits of Shatavari Powder
The shatavari name comes from Sanskrit and can be translated to “curer of a hundred diseases”. As the name implies, the list of conditions that shatavari is used to treat is quite long.
Antioxidant. The shatavari root produces three antioxidants: racemofuran, asparagamine A, and racemosol. Antioxidants can prevent damage and disease in your body.
Antiviral. Shatavari has antiviral properties and could be used to treat or prevent viral infections.
Boost immune system. Early research on animals has suggested that shatavari might boost your immune system.
Ulcer treatment. Shatavari powder treats gastric ulcers and might prevent future ulcers from forming.
Supports lactation. Breastfeeding mothers use shatavari powder to increase their milk production. Shatavari increases the production of prolactin, a hormone that is important for breastfeeding.
Hormone balancing. Women use shatavari to treat conditions related to hormone imbalance such as polycystic ovarian syndrome ( PCOS) and infertility.
Reduce symptoms of menopause. A small study showed taking an herbal mixture that included shatavari significantly reduced hot flashes.
Other possible benefits. Shatavari is credited with treating and preventing many more conditions, although further study is needed.
Other conditions shatavari may help improve include:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Bladder and kidney stones
- Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS)
- Memory issues
- Pain relief
Risks of Shatavari Powder
Research is minimal. While there have been many animal studies that show the potential health benefits of shatavari, more human studies are needed to confirm the findings.
Asparagus allergies. If you’re allergic to asparagus, avoid shatavari powder.
Drug interactions. It’s unknown how shatavari powder interacts with other drugs and supplements. Proceed with caution if you're taking medications.
Changes in estrogen. Shatavari powder contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens can change the estrogen level in your body. While some research shows promise in phytoestrogens for helping treat certain conditions such as breast cancer, they can worsen other conditions such as uterine fibroids.
Lack of regulation. Dietary supplements, such as shatavari powder, aren’t regulated the same way as other medicines. There isn’t much testing required before a supplement becomes available to you. As a result, the quality, strength, and purity of supplements can vary. Only purchase shatavari powder from sources that you trust.
How to use Shatavari Powder
If you choose to try shatavari powder, you'll be able to find it online or in your local health food store. Shatavari is sold as loose powder or in capsule form.
The traditional way to use shatavari powder is to mix it with room temperature water. The taste of shatavari powder is both sweet and slightly bitter. If you don’t enjoy the flavor, mix your powder with milk or juice. You can also blend it into a smoothie.
There isn’t a scientifically established dose range. The right dose for you will depend on your age, weight, health, and other factors. Start with a small dose to see how your body responds.
A good place to start is with the lowest suggested dosage printed on your supplement. A common dose of shatavari powder is 500 milligrams twice per day.
Shatavari powder is used to treat a wide range of conditions. Already backed by thousands of years of traditional medicine, shatavari is now showing promise in early scientific studies. Due to the lack of regulation and limited human studies, however, try the “curer of a hundred diseases” with caution.