Asparagus racemosus (Satavar, Shatavari, or Shatamull)
Syn. Asparagus volubilis
(Satmuli, Shatamuli, Wild Asparagus, Satawari, Kurilo, Satawar)
Native to the Himalayas, at elevations from 300 to 6,500 feet, hardy to 20° F. Shatavari is a spiny-stemmed, woody climber reaching as high as 6 feet, bearing small, white flowers that give way to red berries. In Sanskrit, Shatavari means “one who posesses a hundred husbands.” The spring shoots, mucilagenous roots and the leaves are all used. This is the main Ayurvedic rejuvenative tonic for females, used for treating sexual debility, infertility, menopausal symptoms and as a galactagogue. Current studies show marked adaptogenic, cytoprotective, and anti-oxytocic effects. Plant prefers a south or west exposure and deep, rich soils. Germination in 35 days warm/moist. Current seed lot has been tested viable, and its a bit exciting. The best soil pH for growing Shatavari is barely acid (pH 6-6.7) Note: if your climate is too cold for overwintering, the rhizomes may be lifted, stored in the root cellar, and replanted the following spring. Harvest is in the second year and ongoing. The tubers are washed, parboiled, the outer skin removed, and the tuber dried in the sun. The tubers may then be ground to a powder and taken in the usual Ayurvedic manner, as a powder placed on the tongue and washed down with water, milk or juice. Otherwise, they may be made into tea, encapsulated or made into a tincture at 1:4 50% alcohol and 50% water. The herb contains sarsapogenin and glycosides.