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Shatavari or asparagus racemosus is a potent therapeutic agent which promotes overall well-being and good health. Shatavari, which roughly means ‘acceptable to many’, holds great importance in Ayurveda and is a solution to various health conditions. Shatavari is used as a special tonic by women of all age groups to help them ease through many of the natural transitionary phases of life.
Can You Use Shatavari While Pregnant?
Shatavari strengthens the uterus and is known to help stimulate breast milk production during lactation. Taken after childbirth, it also improves immunity and strength and enhances the production of breast milk. However, it is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic doctor before consuming Shatavari during pregnancy to know the optimum amount that should be consumed and also to understand its interactions with other supplements you may be on.
Nutritional Facts of Shatavari
Shatavari is a source abundant in phytochemicals, which are non-nutritive plant chemicals that protect the body against disease-causing agents and promote good health. Phytochemicals present in Shatavari are known for strengthening the immune system and combating oxidative stress along with possessing anti-cancer properties. Some of the phytochemicals present in Shatavari include:
- Steroidal saponins called Shatavarins
- Alkaloids, mucilage, oligosaccharides, isoflavones
- Sterols such as sitosterol found in the roots of Shatavari
- Flavonoids such as rutin and quercetin that are found in the fruits and flowers of the Shatavari plant
Shatavari roots have various minerals such as copper, zinc, manganese, and cobalt present abundantly in them. They also contain other essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and more. Along with minerals, Shatavari is also abundant in vitamin A and ascorbic acid. It is rich in essential fatty acids such as gamma-linolenic acid, which is highly beneficial for treating diabetes mellitus, arthritis, depression, high cholesterol and heart disease.
Benefits of Eating Shatavari During Pregnancy
Asparagus racemosus has been used as a traditional healer for ages. It possesses phytochemicals that play an important role with anti-fungal, diuretic, anti-tumour and immunostimulatory properties. Shatavari is also a galactagogue which increases the production of breast milk in lactating mothers. The presence of other compounds such as saponins, sulfur-containing acids, oligosaccharides, and amino acids makes it a beneficial herb that promotes good health.
Here are some of the benefits of consuming Shatavari Kalpa during pregnancy:
1. Rich in Folic Acid
Asparagus racemosus is rich in folic acid which is a critical nutrient required for the development of the foetus. It is required both before and during the pregnancy to have a healthy baby.
The benefits of folic acid for pregnant women include:
- Critical for neural development of the foetus
- Important for the formation of new cells and DNA in the body
- Reducing the chances of heart problems
- Maintains health and prevents cancer
2. Helps With Lactation
Shatavari is known for its function as a galactagogue (milk enhancing substance) which is helpful in increasing the production of breast milk in lactating women. Its galactagogue effect is attributed to the presence of steroidal saponins in the plant and confirmed by the evaluation of parameters such as levels of the hormone prolactin. Clinical trials with Shatavari root powder have shown elevated prolactin levels that were up to 3 times higher than normal with no toxic effects.
3. Contains Glutathione
Taking Shatavari churna during pregnancy is highly beneficial due to its content of glutathione. It is an essential nutrient for pregnant women as it functions as an antioxidant. Antioxidants counteract the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body. Left unchecked, free radicals can attack the foetal DNA and cause damages that manifest as birth defects. They can also make the mother and foetus susceptible to diseases associated primarily with the body’s immunity.
4. Stimulates the Immune System
It is said that the root extracts of Shatavari powder can stimulate the immune cells of the body. The body’s immunity after an infection can be suppressed and Shatavari roots can stimulate the immune system to fight against any new infection and speed up recovery. An active compound called sapogenin in Shatavari is a powerful immune-stimulator which is known to augment the body’s resistance in normal and immunity-suppressed phases.
5. Contains Inulin
Eating Shatavari during pregnancy supplies the body with plenty of inulin which is highly useful for the health of the gut. Inulin is a starchy substance that is not digested or absorbed by the stomach. It travels to the bowel where certain useful bacteria are able to use it to grow. These helpful bacteria are involved in improving bowel function and overall health.
6. Rich in Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral required for the proper functioning of the body and development of teeth and bones. Pregnant women need ample amounts of calcium to support the development of the baby. Some of the functions of calcium include:
- Build and strengthen the bone structure
- Assist the foetal development in the uterus
- Help in the formation of bones in the foetus
- Prevent abnormal bone development in the foetus
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is abundantly present in Shatavari and is an essential nutrient for the body. It works as an antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage. Vitamin C boosts the body’s immunity and prevents viral infections such as colds. It is also important for the formation of collagen which is the main protein that helps form the skin and other connective tissue.
8. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a much-needed nutrient for both the mother and the foetus. Shatavari is rich in vitamin E, and here are some of its uses:
- Protects the body from pollutants and toxins
- Prevents health conditions associated with nerves in babies
- Improves immunity and protects pregnant women from diseases
- Helps maintain the health and vitality of the body
9. Vitamin B6
Shatavari is rich in vitamin B6, which is an essential vitamin for the body. It is needed by both the foetus and the mother to boost the immune system and regulate bodily functions. It also prevents the occurrence of nausea and morning sickness and regulates blood pressure.
10. Vitamin K
Vitamin K, which is also an essential vitamin for the body, is abundant in Shatavari. It is essential for maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing coronary heart disease. It also helps maintain the functions of the blood vessels in the mother and baby.
Side-Effects of Shatavari
- Shatavari has properties similar to the female hormone oestrogen. Therefore, women who are on Shatavari kalpa during pregnancy can experience breast tenderness if they already have elevated oestrogen levels.
- In some women, it may also lead to variation in the size of the breasts which may not be favourable.
- Some women are known to experience weight gain for no particular reason. (unsure of this point as the weight gain should have a reason. need expert’s confirmation on this)
- It is considered unsafe for individuals with kidney and heart problems.
Dosage of Shatavri for Pregnant Women
To get the best benefits of Shatavari root during pregnancy, consume Shatavari kalpa granules as per the directions of your healthcare provider. The dosage is usually 1 to 2 teaspoons twice a day with milk, consumed for 2-4 months.
Shatavari is immensely helpful for lactating mothers. However, as it has positive as well as negative side-effects and it should be used only under the supervision of your doctor during pregnancy.