Ayurvedic Herbs

Shatavari

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Shatavari is one of my favorite Ayurvedic herbs. It boasts excellent hormone-balancing properties, and it builds ojas(vigor), strengthening immune function. As an herb that can be taken every day and is readily available, shatavari is a fantastic option for the modern woman. Its many amazing characteristics are the subject of this article. 

There are many terms for shatavari that reflect its sattvic (energizing, harmonious) quality and its unique capacity to promote love and devotion, as well as its long-standing fame as an aphrodisiac. The Sanskrit word shatavaricomes from the words shat(100) and avari, which is traditionally translated as “she who possesses 100 husbands,” suggesting its potent effects on female sexual vigor. Another synonym for shatavariis bahusuta (“many children”) because it helps support fertility. The herb is also called virundivari, meaning ittakes away the fear of getting married if there is a lack of hormonal flow. Other descriptors include pivari,meaning it’s an aid to continued marital bliss, and Narayani (another name for Lakshmi, the goddess who bestows fortune), as well as shatavirya, which refers to the herb’s reputation for having “100 times” the potency of other herbs, especially for strengthening shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue.

Shatavari is wonderful for pacifying vataand pitta. Shatavari is guru(heavy), sheeta(cooling), tikta(bitter), and svadvi(sweet). It also has a pro-alkaline post-digestive effect. Most sweet tastes become acidic after digestion, but shatavari maintains a high pH even after digestion. These physical properties drive shatavari’s dosha-balancing effects.

Shatavari helps regulate functions in the lower part of the body, where dosha imbalances can lead to problems with menstruation, elimination, and the ebb and flow of hormones. Described as atisarajit, which refers to herb’s usefulness for relieving diarrhea caused by excess pitta, shatavari offers the perfect mix of physical attributes to calm and soothe overactive bowels.

These cooling and nourishing qualities also help pacify pittaimbalances in the eyes, contributing to their enduring health. Shatavari further benefits the eyes by instilling them with intelligence-enhancing properties so that they can better connect to the brain and the inner eye. The term medhagnipushtida, which refers to nourishing the agnis of the brain, is sometimes applied to shatavari, emphasizing its beneficial effects on mental functioning. 

The positive impact of shatavari on shukra dhatu(reproductive tissue) and other tissues are reflected in its traditional uses in Ayurvedic medicine, including the following*:

Overview

  • Serves as a nourishing tonic for women and men

  • Soothes and nurtures mucous membranes in the lungs, stomach, kidneys, and reproductive organs

  • Maintains a healthy female reproductive system

  • Supports healthy lactation

  • Encourages healthy production of semen

  • Promotes fertility and a healthy libido

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa(taste): bitter, sweet

  • Virya(action): cooling

  • Vipaka(post-digestive taste): sweet

  • Doshas(constitutions): Balancing for vataand pitta; may aggravate kapha when used in excess

Suggested Use:
¼ to ½ teaspoon with warm water, once or twice daily, or as directed by your health practitioner.

Please consult with your health care practitioner before using of this product if you are pregnant or nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition. Keep out of the reach of children.

Disclaimer
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.

Featured Herb for Spring Renewal: Punarnava

As we move closer to spring, it’s a good idea to revitalize our body by reducing the kapha buildup that occurs during the winter. Expelling kapha from our system will get us in shape for the change of season, supporting our natural resistance to colds and flu, allergies, excess mucus, and other kapha-related conditions.  

The featured Ayurvedic herb for April is Boerhaavia diffusa, commonly known aspunarnava. This water-loving perennial creeper flowers during monsoon season and grows all over India and Sri Lanka. The whole plant is highly valued for its medicinal properties. The Sanskrit name punarnavameans “the plant that makes one new again.” Its rejuvenative action works through its capacity to open channels and clear blockages, allowing essential nourishment to reach the tissues, making it perfect for spring cleansing and renewal. 

Punarnava’s combination of rejuvenative, diuretic, and expectorant properties enables this medicinal plant to play a broad range of therapeutic roles, from supporting efficient kidney, liver, and urinary function to nourishing the heart and alleviating coughs and colic. As a blood purifier, punarnava boosts immunity and improves functioning of lungs. Because of its positive impact on kidney function and blood sugar levels, the herb can also be helpful in managing diabetes.

As a diuretic and mild laxative, punarnava promotes detoxification and prevents fluid retention, making it helpful for health problems such as edema, congestive heart conditions, and gout. Symptoms of kapha-related arthritis such as pitted skin, swollen joints, and the sensation of extreme cold, also respond favorably to the herb.    

Punarnava increases the digestive fire and helps stimulate a sluggish digestive system. Because the herb absorbs fluids from the digestive tract, it can result in constipation when taken in excess. Punarnava  prevents intestinal spasms and pain, reduces flatulence and bloating, and helps expel intestinal worms. It can also be taken in conjunction other herbs and spices to target specific conditions. For instance it can be combined with arjuna, guggulu, and turmeric for heart issues stemming from excess vata and kaphaor used with coriander, gokshura, and kalamegha for urinary tract infections. 


Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Taste: bitter, sweet, and pungent

  • Energy: cooling

  • Quality: dry and light

  • Doshas: vata and kapha reducing (in excess it increases vata)

  • Tissues: plasma, blood, fat, nerve, and reproductive

  • Channels: digestive, urinary, and plasma

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any