The botanical name of shatavari is Asparagus racemosus. This medicinal plant is native to India and the Himalayas. Both the roots as well as the leaves of the plant are being used as medicine in ayurveda. It has been in use as traditional Indian medicine for more than 5000 years now and it can cure a wide range of medical problems. The healing properties of shatavari are mainly owing to the presence of bioflavonoids. Besides, it contains essential minerals like zinc, calcium and B vitamins.
Benefits for Breastfeeding Mothers
In ayurveda, shatavari is considered as one of the most important herbs for women and is referred to as 'queen of herbs'. This is because it has excellent phytoestrogenic properties and is a good source of naturally occurring female sex hormones. For this reason, it is beneficial for the entire process of reproduction in humans.
Shatavari increases fertility in women and helps her in conception. When it is taken by a woman who is trying to conceive, the herb restores the hormonal balance in her body. It balances the pH levels in the vagina and provides with adequate lubrication to the dry mucous membrane lining of the reproductive tract and uterus. These factors create a proper environment for sperm motility and increase the chances of pregnancy. During pregnancy, ingestion of the herb ensures maintenance of a healthy fetus and reduces the chances of miscarriage.
We should not forget that lactation is an integral part of female fertility. Sometimes, it happens that nursing mothers cannot produce enough breast milk after childbirth. Such a consequence can be prevented if pregnant women take shatavari extract in the later stage of the pregnancy. It prepares the mother's body for production of sufficient amount of breast milk. Now, if a nursing mother who has not taken shatavari before or during pregnancy and is unable to give enough milk to her baby, then using a shatavari supplement is highly recommended for her to enhance breast milk supply. This herb is good for the nursing mothers, particularly because it promotes lactation. Various research studies have been conducted to understand the role of shatavari in increasing the milk production in lactating women. It has been found that it stimulates release of two important components, namely prolactin and corticoids, which are mainly responsible for improving both the quality as well as quantity of breast milk. There are also evidences that suggest that it also promotes secretion of steroid hormones that can increase the breast weight and ensure higher yield of breast milk.
The root is available in powdered form as well as capsules. Each dose of powdered shatavari should be of 500 mg and it should be taken twice daily. Ideally, it should be taken once in the morning and once in the evening. If you are using capsules, then you have to take a single 500 mg capsule two times in a day. To obtain maximum benefits, you should always take this supplement with warm milk. If you have not taken shatavari before childbirth and now you are taking it for low supply of breast milk, then do not expect that it will increase lactation overnight. You have to take it continuously for some weeks before you can see some results. It is a natural substance, which has to be absorbed by the body first and then its action starts. Therefore, it requires some time before you can see some improvement. Once your milk supply improves, do not stop the supplement but continue to have it. Like any other herbal supplements, it is always advisable that you talk to your doctor once before starting it.
You may be surprised to know that shatavari is good for improving the overall health condition of the nursing mother as well. It boosts her immune system and enables it to fight off various forms of infections. It provides relief from common digestive problems like diarrhea, heartburn, inflammation of digestive tract, etc., that bother the breastfeeding mothers often during lactation period. Some women feel depressed after the birth of their child. The antidepressant activity of this extract helps her to cope with depression in a better manner.