Shatavari is actually a type of asparagus that grows at higher elevations of Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, and the Himalayas. Ayurvedic healers use the roots and leaves of the shatavari plant to treat gastric issues, inflammation, and nervous disorders.
The scientific evidence for shatavari’s efficacy is essentially nil. Still, a the dried, powdered root is the basis of a juice used to cure ulcers and heartburn in traditional Indian medicine. Ayurvedic practitioners also claim the herb combats stress by boosting the immune system and helping the body better deal with challenging situations that may cause anxiety.
“It’s a really cool herb because it’s pitta-balancing,” says Svetlana Kogan, M.D., a family physician in New York City and author of Diet Slave No More. By pitta, she’s referring to the Ayurvedic belief that three doshas, or energies, circulate through your body and dictate how your body feels and operates. The pitta, one of the three doshas, is your inner fire—it governs metabolism, energy, and digestion. “If your pitta dosha is out of balance, you feel angry, on-edge, impulsive, irritated, and overworked—especially in the heat of summer,” says Dr. Kogan. “This herb helps bring that dosha back into balance, and it basically makes you more resistant to stress.”
How to Use It
For her patients, Dr. Kogan recommends trying one or two tablets with breakfast and dinner—she likes the vegan organic tablets from Banyan Botanicals. “I have to use this herb a lot, because I’m on edge all the time,” she says with a laugh.