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Medicinal herbs for fertility offer therapeutic support in beautiful ways. In my
toolbox as a naturopathic doctor and fertility specialist, I use herbs in most of my
treatment plans. Over time, I have developed a fondness for particular herbs along
the way. One such herb is Shatavari.
Asparagus racemosus, known commonly as Shatavari, is native to India, the
Himalayas and Sri Lanka. Its medicinal history is rooted in the Ayurvedic tradition,
where it is known as a female reproductive tonic. In fact, Shatavari translates to
“she who possesses 100 husbands”, indicating its positive effect on the female
reproductive system. Studies have since supported this claim by identifying its
phytoestrogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic and
immunomodulatory properties, all of which are supportive to fertility.
The actions of Shatavari are important for fertility in the following ways:
Phytoestrogenic: Due to their phytochemical structure, these herbs have the
capacity to bind to estrogen receptors throughout the body. This can either elicit an
estrogenic response when estrogen levels are low or help protect the body from
excess estrogen by inhibiting estrogen to bind. Modulating estrogen is imperative
for healthy fertility.
Antioxidant: Oxidative stress due to normal metabolic processes as well as lifestyle
choices and a sub-optimal environment is one of the biggest negative impact on the
exquisitely sensitive egg and sperm. Though our body mitigates oxidative stress
beautifully, we are still susceptible to it, so taking antioxidants is important.
Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is a normal, necessary response that our body
uses to heal. It also plays a vital role in ovulation and endometrial receptivity.
However, lifestyle choices, genetic predispositions and our environment often lead
to a chronic elevated level of inflammation in our bodies, which is detrimental to
fertility. Maintaining a healthy inflammatory response is essential to healthy
Adaptogenic: Excessive stress, especially when chronic, negatively impacts our
physiology and therefore affects fertility. Adaptogenic herbs enhance our ability to
mitigate stress. Shatavari is one of these herbs.
Immunomodulatory: Our immune system is remarkably able to protect us from
foreign pathogens. However, in some cases the immune response attacks our own
tissues causing an autoimmune reaction. Fertility is affected by certain autoimmune
conditions so modulating the immune response is very important in these cases.
In my practice, I immediately think of Shatavari for women with signs of declining
estrogen, such as scanty or absent fertile cervical fluid, painful intercourse, dry skin
or erratic periods. I have been pleased time and again with the positive results.
The fact that Shatavari has so many other fertility-supportive actions, including
making my female patients feel “juicier” makes this one of my favorite herbs to use.
A note of caution: although Shatavari is safe for long-term use, it does increase the
hormone prolactin, which causes lactation and interferes with ovulation. Therefore,
do not use if your prolactin is elevated or even on the higher end of normal.
Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): A Versatile Female Tonic
Plant profile, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): A review
In-vivo anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity of asparagus racemosus roots
http://ijpsr.com/bft-article/in- vivo-anti- inflammatory-and- anti-arthritic- activity-of- asparagus-
racemosus-rootsin- this-research- work-we- elucidated-the- anti-inflammatory- and-anti- arthritic-
activity-of- hydroalcoholic-extract- of-asp/?view=fulltext
A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial for Evaluation of Galactogogue Activity of Asparagus
Shatavari: Fertility Herb from India
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