Asparagus racemosus

Asparagus racemosus

Synonyms

No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Shatavari, satavar, ammaikodi.

Description

Shatavari grows to heights of one to two meters. It has needle like leaves and produces small white flowers after the rain. The root system is complex with tuberous roots that grow up to a meter in length and varied in number with some plants producing more than one hundred.

Origin / Habitat

Asparagus racemosus or Shatavari is a creeping shrub found throughout India and the Himalayas. Shatavari grows well in rocky soils.

Chemical Constituents

Steroidal saponins, known as shatavarins I-IV;isoflavones including 8-methoxy-5,6,4'- trihydroxyisoflavone 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside;asparagamine, a polycyclic alkaloid;racemosol, a cyclic hydrocarbon (9,10-dihydrophenanthrene); polysaccharides, mucilage. [3][4][5][6]

Plant Part Used

Roots and leaves.

Note: Bark is poisonous

Because of its numerous uses and the increasing demand of those uses, A. Racemosus has recently been classified as endangered. Conservation of A. Racemosus is a growing concern. [1]

Traditional Use

Most typically, the root of the A. racemosus, or Shatavari, plant is the part considered of greater value in Ayurvedic medicine. Shatavari translated literally means “She who possesses 100 husbands”. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Shatavari is primarily used to rejuvenate the female reproductive organs. It can be used to minimize severity of menstruation as well help decrease inflammation in the reproductive organs of women. Though the usage is found most helpful for women, it also can be used, to some degree to do the same for the male reproductive system. Because of its natural diuretic properties, Shatavari can also be used to protect the body from bladder and intestinal infections. [7]

Shatavari balances the Pitta dosha and contains the Madhura (sweet) and Tikta (bitter) attributes. These properties are thought to give Shatavari a cooling effect on the body. Other noted uses in Ayurveda include being used as an antioxidant, an antitussive as well as an immunostimulant.

Asparagus racemosus has been shown to assist in healing peptic ulcers, as mentioned in ancient Indian texts. [8] 

Dosage

20-30 g Powder, 56-112 ml decoction, 12-20 ml infusion. [2]

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

A. racemosis is an adaptogenic herb that also has antimicrobial properties. [9] In one study, A. racemosus was compared to chloramphenicol against Escherichia coli, Shigella dysenteriae, Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneri, Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. In this in-vitro study the herb performed as well as chloramphenicol. [10] 

A. racemosus has also been commonly used as an alternative to Horomone-Replacement Therapy (HRT), due to its high content of phytoestrogens. The growing awareness of this usage of A. racemosus has coincided with the growing concern over the dangers of using synthetic oestregens, though its uses are well known for this in ancient ayurveda.[1] A. racemosus is also quite useful in promoting healthy lactation as well as assisting in carrying pregnancies to full term. [8] 

Animal studies have found that Shatavari may act as an immunomodulator and may be useful as an adjunct therapy to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. [11][12] In addition it has been found to have antioxidant properties. [13] 

Clinical

A small human study with 8 subjects found that Shatavari may be used in dyspepsia to reduce gastric emptying time. [14]

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

No documentation.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Shatavari is safe for long term use when used as directed. [15]

Pregnancy

Not to be used in pregnant and breast-feeding women unless directed by a practitioner.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

References

  1. Bopana N, Saxena, S. Asparagus racemosus—Ethnopharmacological Evaluation and Conservation needs. J Ethnopharmacol. 1Mar2007;110(1):1-15.
  2. Kapoor, LD. CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1990.56.
  3. Joshi J DS. Chemistry of ayurvedic crude drugs: Part VIII: Shatavari: 2. Structure elucidation of bioactive shatavarin I and other glycosides. 27(1): 12-16. Indian Journal Of Chemistry Section B Organic Chemistry Including Medicinal Chemistry.1988;27:12-16.
  4. Saxena VK,.Chourasia S. A new isoflavone from the roots of Asparagus racemosus. Fitoterapia. 2001;72:307-309.
  5. Hayes PY, Jahidin AH, Lehmann R, Penman K, Kitching W, De Voss JJ.Steroidal saponins from the roots of Asparagus racemosus. Phytochemistry. Feb2008;69(3):796-804.
  6. Huang X, Kong L.Steroidal saponins from roots of Asparagus officinalis. Steroids. Feb 2006;71(2):171-176.
  7. Dalvi SS, Nadkarni PM, Gupta KC. Effect of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) on gastric emptying time in normal healthy volunteers. J Postgrad Med.1990;36:91.
  8. Premila, M.S. Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine. Binghamton, NY: The Hayworth Press; 2006.
  9. Rege NN, Thatte UM, Dahanukar SA.Adaptogenic properties of six rasayana herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Phytother Res. Jun1999;13(4):275-291.
  10. Mandal SC, Nandy A, Pal M, Saha BP.Evaluation of antibacterial activity of Asparagus racemosus willd. root. Phytother Res. Mar2000;14(2):118-119.
  11. Gautam M, Saha S, Bani S, Kaul A, Immunomodulatory activity of Asparagus racemosus on systemic Th1/Th2 immunity: Implications for immunoadjuvant potential. J Ethnopharmacol. 21Jan 2009;121(2):241-247.
  12. Diwanay S, Chitre D, Patwardhan B.Immunoprotection by botanical drugs in cancer chemotherapy. J Ethnopharmacol. Jan2004;90(1):49-55.
  13. Wiboonpun N, Phuwapraisirisan P, Tip-pyang S.Identification of antioxidant compound from Asparagus racemosus. Phytother Res. Sep2004;18(9):771-773.
  14. Dalvi SS, Nadkarni PM, Gupta KC.Effect of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) on gastric emptying time in normal healthy volunteers. J Postgrad Med. Apr1990;36(2):91-94.
  15. Rege NN, Thatte UM, Dahanukar SA.Adaptogenic properties of six rasayana herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Phytother Res. Jun1999;13(4):275-291.