Scientific Name: Asparagus racemosus
- Steroidal saponins: Shatavarins I-IV, sarasapogenin, and diosgenin (and glycoside dioscin)
- Alkaloids: Asparagamine
- Polysaccharides & mucilage
- Phytosterols (e.g. isoflavones; racemosol & racemofuran)
- Flavonoids (e.g. quercitin, rutin, kaempferol and hyperoside)
- Male & Female Reproductive Tonic
Mechanism of Action & Pharmacology:
- The precise mechanism by which shatavari rejuvenates ovaries, increases follicular growth and development and improves oocyte quality require further study, however, based on existing studies, it is proposed that anti-stress and antioxidant properties may protect against stress-mediated negative reproductive health consequences in women.
- Steroidal saponins are considered the most biological active constituents; may interact with the hypothalamus or the pituitary to re-establish ovulation and impart hormonal activity. Physical and psychological stress can affect female reproductive health, possibly by modulating ovarian physiology and reproductive hormones (e.g. glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin). Prolonged increase of stress hormones such as cortisol may reduce estrogen synthesis in the ovary resulting in impairment of reproductive functions and associated symptoms (e.g. amenorrhea, anovulation and other menstrual irregularities). Increased levels of stress could also affect follicular growth, development and ovulation by inducing apoptosis within the follicular microenvironment. A poor quality oocyte directly impacts reproductive outcomes and may cause female infertility. Shatavari thus works as a tonic towards both the endometrium and ovarian tissues.
- Steroidal saponin blocks oxytocin-induced uterine contractions in vivo.
- Flavonoids & isoflavones (e.g. racemofuran and racemosol) scavenge reactive oxygen species, increase antioxidant ability, improve ovary as well as endometrium physiology and thereby reproductive health of women.
Safety & Toxicity Concerns:
- Saponins may cause gastric upset.
- None reported.