|Shatawari plant photographed at Pune|
Asparagus racemosus (Satavar, Shatavari, or Shatamull) is a species of asparagus common throughout Sri Lanka, India and the Himalayas. It grows one to two metres tall and prefers to take root in gravelly, rocky soils high up in piedmont plains, at 1,300–1,400 metres elevation). It was botanically described in 1799. Due to its multiple uses, the demand for Asparagus racemosus is constantly on the rise. Due to destructive harvesting, combined with habitat destruction, and deforestation, the plant is now considered 'endangered' in its natural habitat.
Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) is recommended in Ayurvedic texts for the prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers, dyspepsia and as a galactogogue. A. racemosus has also been used by some Ayurvedic practitioners for nervous disorders.
Shatawari has different names in the different Indian languages, such as Shatuli, Vrishya and other terms. In Nepal it is called Kurilo. The name Shatawari means "curer of a hundred diseases" (shat: "hundred"; vari: "curer").
Leaves, flowers and fruits
Satavar has small pine-needle-like phylloclades (photosynthetic branches) that are uniform and shiny green. In July, it produces minute, white flowers on short, spiky stems, and in September it fruits, producing blackish-purple, globular berries.
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Asparagus racemosus is an important plant in traditional medicine in tropical and subtropical India. Its medicinal usage has been reported in the Indian and British Pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha.
The roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine, following a regimen of processing and drying. It is generally used as a uterine tonic, as a galactogogue (to improve breast milk), in hyperacidity, and as a general health tonic.
Five steroidal saponins, shatavarins VI-X, together with five known saponins, shatavarin I (or asparoside B), shatavarin IV (or asparinin B), shatavarin V, immunoside and schidigerasaponin D5 (or asparanin A), have been isolated from the roots of Asparagus racemosus.
- "Asparagus racemosus information from NPGS/GRIN". Germplasm Resources Information Network. USDA. August 6, 2002. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
- Robert Freeman (February 26, 1998). "LILIACEAE - Famine Foods". Centre for New Crops and Plant Products, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture. Purdue University. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
- Asparagus racemosus--an update. [Review] [28 refs] Goyal RK. Singh J. Lal H. Indian Journal of Medical Sciences. 57(9):408-14, 2003 Sep.
- The Ley Group: Combinatorial Chemistry and total synthesis of natural products
- Structure of Asparagamine A (I), a Novel Polycyclic Alkaloid from Asparagus racemosus
- Total Synthesis Of The Antitumor Agent Asparagamine A retrieved 11-02-2011
- Steroidal saponins from Asparagus racemosus. Sharma U. Saini R. Kumar N. Singh B. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 57(8):890-3, 2009 Aug.
- Steroidal saponins from the roots of Asparagus racemosus. Hayes PY. Jahidin AH. Lehmann R. Penman K. Kitching W. De Voss JJ. Phytochemistry. 69(3):796-804, 2008 Feb.
- A new isoflavone from the roots of Asparagus racemosus. Saxena VK. Chourasia S. Fitoterapia. 72(3):307-9, 2001 Mar.
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- Nice picture of A. racemosus flowers from "Flowers of India" website
- USDA GRIN
- Caldecott, Todd (2006). Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life. Elsevier/Mosby. ISBN 0-7234-3410-7. Contains a detailed monograph on Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) as well as a discussion of health benefits and usage in clinical practice. Available online at http://www.toddcaldecott.com/index.php/herbs/learning-herbs/331-shatavari