Shatavari is an invaluable medicinal plant found all over in India. There are two different species of this plant – Asparagus racemosus and Asparagus gonoclados. Both these varieties occur in Kerala. However, the former is more popular.
The cladodes of A. racemosus are mostly straight. It grows less tall and flowers between June and September, while A. gonoclados has more curved cladodes and flowers between January and March.
Shatavari is a climber which grows well in moist and fertile soil. Its leaves look like needles from which the cladodes originate. The small flowers blossom together during the season, forming an inflorescence. They appear white with a slight pink shade. An individual flower has six petals while the fruit looks rounded and dark.
The plant has tuberous roots which have the most medicinal applications. Apart from containing Asparagine (an alkaloid), Shatavari also contains protein, fat, carbohydrate, and various vitamins like vitamin A, B1, B2, and C.
Distribution & Cultivation
It is native and occurs throughout India. Grows very well in loose, fertile and moist soils. In places like Kerala, Shatavari is found growing as a weed even in shaded fields like rubber plantations.
Cultivation of Shatavari starts by sowing germinated seeds or tuber on well-ploughed soil. After sowing, cover it with enough manure or leaves.
The seedlings start sprouting withing three weeks. Later, transfer these to grow bags as they reach 1 feet tall. Grow them under shade. After a few weeks, these saplings are planted in the field about 1 meters apart. As it grows, provide supporting stumps for the climber to spread.
Rigveda – the one among the four Vedas written during Vedic times – even mentions the numerous medicinal qualities of this valuable plant. Owing to this quality, this plant is known as Sahasraveerya in Sanskrit.
Shatavari is widely used in Ayurveda and folk medicines to treat various ailments. The roots of Shatavari may have the ability to cure many disorders associated with the female reproductive system.
It may cure Vata and Pitta related imbalances, cool the body and to improve the overall vitality.
Name in Various Languages
Sanskrit: Sahasraveerya, Shatavaree, Narayanee, Shatamuli, Sahasramuli
Hindi: Shatavari, Shakakul
Family: Liliaceae / Asparagaceae
Botanical name: Asparagus gonoclados