Herbal Profile: Shatavari by Charlotte Bell
One hundred roots. Intertwined. The very depths of life force.
One of the fundamental reasons people are called towards the Eastern approach to medicine and holistic wellbeing is because of its depth. Rather than engaging with the superficial or the symptomatic presentation of imbalance, whatever form it may take, Ayurveda seeks to heal from within. To address the imbalance from its root.
The physical mechanics of the human body are so incredibly complex, and they are only a fraction of the entire picture. Add the subtle and spiritual energetics that make up the whole and you start to understand why a narrow, chemical approach to medicine is inevitably unsatisfactory.
There is something that we share with plants that we do not with mass produced pharmaceuticals. Life. Plants understand life. They have experienced it in all of its complexities, subtleties and anomalies. Perhaps that is why they are often able to interact with the body on a far deeper and more wholesome level than “conventional” medicine.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you are already a firm believer in, or at least have an interest in, the power of plants and natural/traditional forms of medicine. Yet even in the world of natural medicine, it is easy to become disconnected from the origins of herbs that we find conveniently packaged in health-food stores. It is easy to forget that these herbs know prana, have experienced life. These plants also know rootedness and unobscured connection to the cycles and transitions of nature. They contain an innate knowledge that can penetrate into the deeper bodily tissues and guide us in our pursuit of balance. As life forces in their own right, herbs and medicinal plants should be respected and used reverentially.
Shatavari is an herb that deals fundamentally with the deepest aspects of our wellness. Its name translates as ‘one hundred roots’ – an indication of its subterranean mass of roots, and also a suggestion that Shatavari travels to the root source of imbalance. Above ground a graceful and delicate mass of green foliage is dotted with stars of white blossom. But the real medicinal potency of Shatavari lies in its thick, tuberous roots. These roots are most noted for their effectiveness at restoring harmonious balance to the deepest, most complex, and hard to access, tissues in the body: the reproductive system.
A tonic of femininity, Shatavari is one of the most supportive herbs within ayurvedic pharmacopeia for the graceful transition of women through each stage of life. Through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, nursing, and menopause, Shatavari offers both physical and emotional nourishment. It seeks to promote balance within the hormones, increase fertility, and support healthy, comfortable menstruation. Nevertheless, Shatavari should not be overlooked by men! The healing properties of Shatavari extend beyond the female sphere. The male reproductive system is equally benefitted by the use of Shatavari – increasing fertility and promoting prostate health. As a potent source of antioxidants and an immune boost, Shatavari is beneficial for anyone looking to up their vitality. It is cooling, soothing and nourishing, making it an ideal remedy for those looking to balance aggravated pitta dosha, or soothe vata dosha. It’s unctuous and pacifying properties bring a softness to aggressive fire within the digestive system or the skin, helping to relieve skin irritation or acne-type symptoms.
As a medicine of roots, Shatavari invites us to ground and reconnect with the earth element. To feel support from the world around us and experience growth from a place of cool, serene clarity. Get to know Shatavari. Its potencies, personality, and elemental character. More than a medicine, Shatavari is a plant with its own connections to the earth and the cycles. To truly absorb as much of the healing that Shatavari has to offer, we must be open to receive it with humility – an energetic exchange: one life force to another.