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shatavari - asparagus racemosus

shatavari :

shatavari : asparagus racemosus It helps to enhance your memory and protects against amnesia. It also acts as an effective aphrodisiac and diuretic. Additionally, it is known as a versatile female tonic.

Asparagus is a climbing undershrub with widespread applications as diuretic, cooling agent and an excellent safe herbal medicine for ante-natal care. It is useful in nervous disorders, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, tumours, inflammations, vitiated conditions of vata and pitta, burning sensation, hyperdipsia, ophthalmopathy, nephropathy, hepatopathy, strangury, scalding of urine, throat infections, tuberculosis, cough, bronchitis, gleet, gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, leprosy, epilepsy, fatigue, hyperacidity, colic haemorrhoids, hypertension, abortion, agalactia, cardiac and general debility (Warrier et al, 1993).

Shatavari is described in Rigveda and Atharvaveda. In Ayurvedic classics it is prescribed as a cooling agent and uterine tonic. It is the main ingredient in ayurvedic medicines like shatavari gulam and shatavari ghrtam. Besides quenching thirst, its root juice helps in cooling down the body from summer heat, curing hyper-acidity and peptic ulcer. It contains good amount of mucilage which soothes the inner cavity of stomach. It relieves burning sensation while passing urine and is used in urinary tract infections. It contains an anticancer agent asparagin which is useful against leukaemia. It also contains active antioxytocic saponins which have got antispasmodic effect and specific action on uterine musculature. It is very good relaxant to uterine muscles, especially during pregnancy and is used to prevent abortion and pre-term labour on the place of progesterone preparations. Its powder boiled with milk is generally used to prevent abortion. It increases milk production in cows and buffaloes. Its preparations in milk helps in increasing breast milk in lactating women. Its proper use helps in avoiding excessive blood loss during periods. It clears out infections and abnormalities of uterine cavity and hence it is used to rectify infertility in women. The leaves are used to prepare toilet soaps. The plant has also ornamental value both for indoor and out door decorations (Syamala, 1997).

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Family: Fabaceae


Sanskrit: Satavari
English: flax hemp
Hindi: Satavari
Telugu: Pilligadalu, Philithaga
Bengali: Shatamuli
Marathi: Satavari
Konkani: Satavari
Oriya: Manajolo
Gujarathi: Ekalkanto
Tamil: Ammaikodi, Kilwari
Malayalam: Satavari
Kannada: Aheruballi


Synonyms in Ayurveda: shatavari, satavari, shatapadi, vrishya, dipya, dvipshatru, adharkanthika, supatra, bahumula, shatahriya, narayani, laghuparnika, supatra, bahumula, shatahriya, narayani, laghuparnika, shatavirya, abhiru, rasa


The plant comes up well under a wide range of tropical and subtropical climate. Fertile moist sandy loam soils are ideal for its cultivation though it grows in a wide range of soils. Better root development is observed in soils in increased proportion of sand. However, a decline in the yield of the crop is noticed in soils containing previous years residue of the roots. Asparagus plant is best grown from its tuberous roots even though it can be successfully propagated through seeds. Since root tubers are of commercial value seed propagation provides economic advantage to the farmers. Seeds usually start germinating after 40 days and average germination is 70% (Tewari and Misra, 1996).

For the cultivation of the crop, the land is ploughed well with pre-monsoon showers and seed nurseries are raised on seed beds of approximately 1m width, 15cm height and suitable length. Seed nursery should be irrigated regularly and kept weed free. With the onset of monsoon in June-July the main field is ploughed thoroughly and pits of size 30cm cube are dug at a spacing of 60-100cm. Tiwari and Misra (1996) have reported that irrespective of more number of roots and higher fresh weight per plant under wider spacings, the per hectare yields were highest in the closer spacing of 30cm x 30cm. The pit is filled with a mixture of top soil and well decomposed FYM or compost applied at 10 - 15 t/ha and the seedlings are transplanted. Application of N, P2O5 and K2O at 60:30:30 kg/ha increases the root yield. Regular irrigation and weeding are required to realize higher yields. Standards are to be provided for training the plant (Sharma et al, 1992). Few pests and diseases are observed on this crop. 


Asparagus plant is best grown from its tuberous roots even though it can be successfully propagated through seeds. Since root tubers are of commercial value seed propagation provides economic advantage to the farmers. Seeds usually start germinating after 40 days and average germination is 70% (Tewari and Misra, 1996).


Harvesting the crop after two years provided higher root yield than annual harvests in pots as well as in field experiments. Irrigating the field prior to harvest enables easy harvesting of the root tubers. The average yield is 10 - 15 t/ha of fresh root tubers though yields over 60t/ha have been reported.


Asparagus roots contain protein 22%, fat 6.2%, Carbohydrate 3.2%, Vitamin B 0.36%, Vitamin C 0.04% and traces of Vitamin A. It contains several alkaloids. Alcoholic extract yields asparagin- an anticancer agent. It also contains a number of antioxytocic saponins, viz. Shatavarisn - I to IV (Syamala, 1997). Leaves contain rutin, diosgenin and a flavonoid glycoside identified as quercetin - 3 - glucuronide. Flowers contain quercetin hyperoside and rutin. Fruits contain glycosides of quercetin, rutin and hyperoside while fully ripe fruits contain cyanidin - 3 - galactoside and cyanidin - 3 - glucorhamnoside.


Root is demulcent, diuretic, aphrodisiac, tonic, alterative, antiseptic, antidiarrhoeal, glalctogogue and antispasmodic. Aerial part is spasmolytic, antiarrhythmic and anticancer. Bark is antibacterial and antifungal. 


Satavari, Asparagus racemosus Willd. belongs to the lily family, Liliaceae. Asparagus adscendens Roxb., A. filicinus Lam., A. gonoclados Baker, A. officinalis Linn. and A. sarmentosus Willd. are the other important medicinal plant species of the genus. A. racemosus Willd. is an armed climbing undershrub with woody terete stems and recurved or rarely straight spines. The tuberous succulent roots are 30cm to 100cm or more in length, fascicled at the stem base, smooth tapering at both ends. Young stems are very delicate, brittle and smooth. Leaves are reduced to minute chaffy scales and spines; cladodes triquetrous, curved in tufts of 2-6. Flowers are white fragrant in simple or branched recemes on the naked nodes of the main shoots or in the axils of the thorns. Fruits are globular or obscurely 3-lobed, pulpy berries, purplish black when ripe; seeds with hard and brittle testa.

Geographical distribution:

The plant is found wild in tropical and subtropical India including Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is distributed from mean sea level upto 1500m in the Himalayas from Kashmir eastwards. The crop is cultivated in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Predesh and northern states in India. However, most of the requirement of the industry is met through wild collections from forests. It is also grown in gardens.

Ayurvedic Formulations:

Common Ayurvedic Formulations of shatavari with their Indications
Brahma Rasayana
Pothin Dravakam - Attin Brath is a general medicine to increase strength, vitality and stamina.
Sukumaram Kashayam

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