Latin name: Asparagus racemosus
Medicinal use of Shatavari:Shatavari (this is an Indian word meaning "a woman who has a hundred husbands") is the most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for dealing with problems connected women's fertility. The rhizome is a soothing tonic that acts mainly on the circulatory, digestive, respiratory and female reproductive organs. The root is alterative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, galactogogue and refrigerant. It is taken internally in the treatment of infertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage, menopausal problems, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers and bronchial infections. Externally it is used to treat stiffness in the joints. The root is used fresh in the treatment of dysentery. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for use in treating other complaints. The whole plant is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, rheumatism, diabetes and brain complaints.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Found at elevations up to 1,200 metres in the Himalayas, eastwards from Kashmir. Broad-leaved forests along streams or valleys at elevations of 2100 - 2200 metres in western China.
Edible parts of Shatavari:Tender young shoots - cooked as a vegetable. A preserve prepared from the blanched shoots is said to be very agreeable. The tuber are candied as a sweetmeat. The only flavour is said to be that of the sugar. The roots are 5 - 13cm long.
Other uses of the herb:The squeezed root is used for washing clothes.
Propagation of Shatavari:Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring or as soon as the seed is ripe in early autumn in a greenhouse. It usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 25°C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.
Cultivation of the herb:Found at elevations up to 1,200 metres in the Himalayas, eastwards from Kashmir. Broad-leaved forests along streams or valleys at elevations of 2100 - 2200 metres in western China.
Known hazards of Asparagus racemosus:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.