Shatavari is used by Ayurvedic doctors for the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers, dyspepsia and as a galactogogue, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 7 2016

Shatavari has also been used successfully by some Ayurvedic practitioners for nervous disorders, inflammation, liver diseases and certain infectious diseases. However, few human studies justifying these uses of the root extract of Asparagus racemosus is available so far. Recently few reports are available demonstrating beneficial effects of alcoholic and water extracts of the root of Asparagus racemosus in some clinical conditions and experimentally induced diseases, e.g. galactogogue effect, antihepatotoxic and immunomodulatory activities. See Ayurvedic herbs for a list of herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine.

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Shatavari for ulcer treatment
Antisecretory and antiulcer activity of Shatavari against indomethacin plus phyloric ligation-induced gastric ulcer in rats.
J Herb Pharmacother. 2006. Bhatnagar M, Sisodia SS. Department of Zoology, University College of Science, MLS University, Udaipur, India.
Drs Bhatnagar and Sisodia studied the antisecretory and antiulcer activity of Shatavari methanolic extract and its action against indomethacin (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) plus pyloric ligation (PL)-induced gastric ulcers in rats. Treatment with Shatavari crude extract (100 mg/kg/day orally) for fifteen days significantly reduced ulcer index when compared with control group. Asparagus extract was found to be an effective antiulcerogenic agent, whose activity can well be compared with that of ranitidine hydrochloride. The results of this study suggest that Asparagus racemosus causes an inhibitory effect on release of gastric hydrochloric acid and protects gastric mucosal damage.

Effect of Shatavari on mammary gland and genital organs of pregnant rat.
Phytother Res. 2005. Department of Anatomy, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.
The alcoholic extract of shatavari rhizome was administered orally to adult pregnant female albino rats at a dose of 30 mg/100 g body weight, daily for 15 days (days 1-15 of gestation). The macroscopic findings revealed a prominence of the mammary glands, a dilated vaginal opening and a transversely situated uterine horn in the treated group of animals. The weight of the uterine horns of the treated group was found to be significantly higher but the length was shorter. Microscopic examination of the treated group showed proliferation in the lumen of the duct of mammary gland. It was obliterated due to hypertrophy of ductal and glandular cells. Hyperplasia of the glandular and muscular tissue and hypertrophy of the glandular cells were observed in the genital organs. The results suggest an estrogenic effect of Shatavari on the female mammary gland and genital organs.

J Hum Lact. 2013. Systematic review of the efficacy of herbal galactogogues. Exclusive breastfeeding has been linked to many positive health outcomes, yet its widespread adoption as the primary mode of providing nutrition to infants remains challenging. The most common reported reason for early breastfeeding cessation is perception of inadequate milk production. To augment breast milk production, a substantial number of women turn to herbal galactogogues despite the limited scientific evidence of their efficacy and safety. We conducted a systematic review of published literature to evaluate the efficacy of herbal galactogogues. PubMed was searched from inception to October 2012 using an iterative search process that proceeded from broad categories to specific herbs. Manuscript references were also reviewed. Only experimental studies with objective outcome measures were included. Six trials met our search criteria. Using an adapted version of the CONSORT checklist, each trial was evaluated for potential sources of bias in design and reporting. Shatavari, torbangun, fenugreek, milk thistle, and a Japanese herbal medication were the 5 herbal preparations studied. Five trials found an increase in breast milk production. Several limitations exist that affect the validity of the trial results, including small sample size, insufficient randomization methods, poorly defined eligibility criteria, use of poly-herbal interventions, and variable breastfeeding practices among enrolled subjects. Given the insufficiency of evidence from these trials, no recommendation is made for the use of herbs as galactogogues. Well-designed and well-conducted clinical trials that address the above limitations are necessary to generate a body of evidence as a basis for recommendations regarding herbal galactogogues.

Research
Nor-lignans and steroidal saponins from Asparagus gobicus.
Planta Med. 2004.
From the roots of Asparagus gobicus, four new nor-lignans, 3'-methoxynyasin, iso-agatharesinol, gobicusins A, B and one new steroidal saponin, 3-O-[beta-D-xylopyranosyl(1-4)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl(1-2)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-(25S)-5beta-spirostan-3beta-ol (11) were isolated, together with twelve known compounds. The structures of the new compounds were established by spectroscopic methods including 2D-NMR techniques (1H-1H COSY, HMBC, HMQC) and chemical transformations. Nyasol and 11 exhibited remarkable in vitro cytotoxic activity against cultured HO-8910 (human ovarian carcinoma) and Bel-7402 (human hepatoma) cells.

Immunoadjuvant potential of Asparagus racemosus aqueous extract in experimental system.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2004.
The immunoadjuvant potential of Shatavari aqueous root extract was evaluated in experimental animals immunized with diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) vaccine. Immunostimulation was evaluated using serological and hematological parameters. Oral administration of test material at 100 mg/kg per day dose for 15 days resulted significant increase in antibody titers to Bordtella pertussis as compared to untreated (control) animals. Immunized animals (treated and untreated) were challenged with B. pertussis 18323 strain and the animals were observed for 14 days. Results indicate that the treated animals did show significant increase in antibody titers as compared to untreated animals after challenge. Immunoprotection against intra-cerebral challenge of live B. pertussis cells was evaluated based on degree of sickness, paralysis and subsequent death. Reduced mortality accompanied with overall improved health status was observed in treated animals after intra-cerebral challenge of B. pertussis indicating development of protective immune response. Present study indicates applications of test material as potential immunoadjuvant that also offers direct therapeutic benefits resulting in less morbidity and mortality.

Bioactive constituents from Asparagus cochinchinensis.
J Nat Prod. 2004.
Bioassay-directed fractionation of the dried roots of Asparagus cochinchinensis led to the isolation of a new spirostanol saponin, asparacoside, two new C-27 spirosteroids, asparacosins A and B, a new acetylenic derivative, 3' '-methoxyasparenydiol, and a new polyphenol, 3'-hydroxy-4'-methoxy-4'-dehydroxynyasol, as well as five known phenolic compounds, asparenydiol, nyasol, 3' '-methoxynyasol, 1,3-bis-di-p-hydroxyphenyl-4-penten-1-one, and trans-coniferyl alcohol.

Experimental excitotoxicity provokes oxidative damage in mice brain and attenuation by extract of Asparagus racemosus.
J Neural Transm. 2004.
Excitotoxicity and oxidative stress are the major mechanisms of neuronal cell death in neurodegenerative disorders that occurs in both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are generated extracellularly and intracellularly by various mechanisms are among the major risk factors that initiate and promote neurodegeneration. Therefore, it is important to find the compound which retard or reverse the neuronal injury. We designed this study to investigate the potential of extract of Asparagus racemosus against kainic acid (KA)-induced hippocampal and striatal neuronal damage. The dose of Asparagus racemosus extract given to experimental animals was based on the evaluation of its total antioxidant activity. Extract of AR displayed potent reductant of Fe(3+). The excitotoxic lesion in brain was produced by intra-hippocampal and intra-striatal injections of kainic acid to ketamine and xylazine anesthetized mice. The results showed impairment of hippocampus and striatal regions of brain after KA injection marked by an increase in lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content and decline in glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity and reduced glutathione (GSH) content. The Asparagus racemosus extract supplemented mice displayed an improvement in GPx activity and GSH content and reduction in membranal lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl. We show that the minimizing effect of Asparagus racemosus extract on oxidative damage in addition to the elevation of GPx activity and GSH content could eventually result in protective effect on the KA-induced excitotoxicity.

Questions
Q. Would you not recommend Shatavari for reducing surgically-induced hot flashes (post ovary removal) for a BRCA2 gene positive patient without a cancer diagnosis? It works very well for hot flashes but I have read that it has estrogenic activity. Should it be avoided in BRCA2 patients?
   A. I have not studied the role of shatavari in BRACA2 positive patients.

Shatavari - Asparagus Root Extract 4%~10 Asparagoside