Gestation is the crucial phase of life by which one or the other day a woman has to go through. Those 37 to 42 weeks in the woman’s life brings a lot of changes either in the means of physical health or social well-being. Here in this phase, mostly women have to avoid or take precautions regarding various things either in the form of a diet or medications.The most important thing is that at this time there are high demands of nutrition to maintain the health of pregnant women and the fetus. So, to meet the needs of pregnancy “SHATAVARI” is the herb of choice.
Shatavar or Shatavari or the botanical name is Asparagus racemosus is an herb that has been used since decades as a medicine in the traditional system of medicine and also in the form of curry. Shatavari not only helps to maintain pregnancy but it also helps in the conception and promotes the milk production and ejection after pregnancy. Shatavari is a medicinal plant that grows upto 1 to 2 meters in height and is a native to India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The roots are a useful part of this herb.
QUALITIES OF SHATAVARI or Asparagus racemosus
(Reference – BhavaPrakasaNighantu / GuduchiadiVarga / Shloka no. 186 and 187)
- Rasa (Taste) – Madhur (sweet) and Tikta (bitter)
- Guna (Quality) – Snigdha (unctuous in nature) and Guru (heavy to digest)
- Veerya – Sheeta (cold in potency)
- Vipaka – The end product of digestion is Madhur (sweet) in taste
- Effect on Tridoshas – Balances Vata and Pitta doshas
- It acts as Rasayans (Rejuvenating)
- It promotes strength and milk production, enhances memory, improves sperm quality and count, and is beneficial in treating inflammatory disorders, heart diseases, bleeding disorders such as hemorrhoids, menstrual disorders, etc.
- Being vrishya (aphrodisiac) it develops a suitable environment for the fetus for proper growth and development.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF ASPARAGUS
- The active compounds in the Shatavari are tannins, asparagamineA, shatavarins, shatavaroside A and B, asparanin A, filiasparoside C polycyclic alkaloid and so on.
ACTION AND EFFECTS OF SHATAVARI DURING PREGNANCY
- It acts as a Rasayana (rejuvenating) that maintains the functions of all the systems. It is a generalized tonic that supports the female reproductive system.
EFFECTS ON THE ORGANS
- Shatavari is an herb that mainly acts on the organs such as uterus (maintains the suitable environment for the development of fetus), ovaries (maintains FSH and LH level), brain (maintains the functions of all the other hormones like TSH, prolactin, testosterone, etc.), heart (maintains the proper blood supply to the fetus thus provides sufficient nutrition to the embryo),stomach (shatavari is cold in potency and sweet to taste therefore it balances pitta dosha and shows calming and soothing effects on stomach) and colon (supports the colon for absorption of the nutrition).
MAINTAINS PROGESTERONE LEVEL
- As we know in order to maintain pregnancy the level of progesterone needs to be in proper levels otherwise it may lead to miscarriage or abortion. Asparagus helps to maintain this level and avoids the drop down of progesterone and in fact the estrogen level too also. Because estrogen is a precursor to the hormone progesterone.
MEETS THE NUTRITIONAL NEEDS
- No doubt everybody needs nutrition to maintain his or her health. But in pregnancy, a lady requires an extra amount of nutrition for her body as well as for his fetus. There are various macro and micro nutrients that are required for our body but in pregnancy usually the body requires –
- Iron – Usually pregnant women have less hemoglobin level in the body and often suffer from anemia. This herb helps to boost up the Hemoglobin level as well as blood level.
- Folic acid – Folic acid is required for the proper growth and development of the child. Folic acid is responsible for neural development and also prevents the chance of birth defects.
- Vitamins– Multivitamins are generally prescribed in the pregnancy to fulfill the needs of micronutrients but potentially Shatavari can fulfill all these demands. It is rich in vitamins such as K and B.
- Calcium – After first trimester there is a high demand for calcium in the body as per Ayurveda after 2nd month the bones start to grow. Even some systems of the body start functioning after the 3rd month so calcium is required to perform all those activities. Shatavari can fulfill the needs of calcium effectively.
- A GENERALIZED TONIC– Shatavari is a generalized tonic that helps to cover up the weakness and dizziness. Moreover, it provides strength to the body and reproductive organs and eases the pain and complications during labor (delivery) by nourishing all the doshas, dhatus and indriyas of the body.
- BALANCES TRIDOSHA – We know that if all the doshas are in equilibrium state the person is healthy otherwise may end up with the various disorders. But a pregnancy may end up with complications if Vata Dosha and Pitta Dosha get vitiated or aggravated. It may retard the growth of the child.So to avoid these things Shatavari can be incorporated in the daily diet to fulfill the needs of multivitamins.
- BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM – Usually, immunity is very low during pregnancy hence, the pregnant woman and child are more prone to develop infections. This herb stimulates the immune system and safeguard the body from infectious diseases.
- Shatavari granules – Take ½ teaspoonful, mix it in a glass of lukewarm milk twice daily, after meals.
- Shatavari churna – ½ teaspoon twice daily
- Shatavari capsules or tablets – 1 capsule twice daily
- Anupana (After drink) – Lukewarm milk or plain water.
- Before starting anything like medicine or even the general health tonics you should consult a physician.