Embody, Nourish

The Woman’s Herb

Sebastian Pole is a master herbalist, Ayurvedic expert and co-founder of Pukka Herbs. I asked the formulator of my favourite women-supporting supplement, to explain just why it’s so effective.

Can you explain precisely how and why Shatavari works so well to balance female hormones and improve fertility?
The name shatavari is derived from the Sanskrit words shat, which means ‘100’ and vri, which means ‘root’. The word vari can also mean ‘husband’. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, this plant is known as ‘she who has a hundred husbands’ reflecting this herbs affinity for strengthening the female reproductive system. Shatavari is a tonic to the female reproductive system and specifically the uterus. It is a naturally nourishing, cooling and moistening herb that provides the required nourishment and strength to support conception, fertility and a healthy reproductive system.

But how does it work?
Shatavari contains plant constituents that help regulate hormone levels. Shatavarin and sarsapogenin are the two key constituents in shatavari. They act as pre-cursors to sex-hormones, oestrogen and progesterone and are thought to be responsible for shatavari’s hormone balancing activity. Shatavari also stimulates the production of prolactin which enhances the libido.

How long should you expect to take Shatavari for, until you start feeling the benefits?
The length of time an individual should be taking any herbal medicine is variable and dependent upon the person’s state of health. As a general rule, when looking at hormone balance in women it’s recommended to allow between 2-3 months treatment, or 2-3 menstrual cycles to pass. This normally allows enough time to assess how well the herb has adapted and how it has interacted with the individual’s hormonal balance.

Are there any herbs you should NOT take alongside Shatavari?
Shatavari is considered as a safe herb, even during pregnancy and breastfeeding – its combined safely with a range of herbs that also complement its effects. It is an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it will help you adapt to current physical and emotional stressors upon the body, allowing your body to respond in a healthy way. However, there are herbs that are not recommended during pregnancy – like some of the stronger antibiotic herbs like wormwood – for example. Combining them with a safe herb like shatavari will not necessarily lessen the risk. Therefore, it is always good to assess the safety of each individual herb and the situation or time of life within which they are being taken. The amount and quality of herb within each of the Pukka supplements and teas has been carefully formulated to ensure safety and assurance of good quality.

Can you breakdown the balance in your Womankind teas and supps? Why are they so effective?
The new combination supplements are designed to support different stages throughout a woman’s lifecycle. Each supplement and tea contain organic shatavari simply because it is such a hero herb for balancing out health issues concerned with female health. For example, the new pregnancy and breastfeeding teas and supplement safely support and nourish both the mother and baby throughout and beyond birth using safe but nourishing herbs such as nettle and raspberry leaf. Womankind Menopause supplement combines time tested traditional herbs like organic sage and aloe vera with shatavari – and a range of organic B vitamins as well as vitamin D – to help the body adapt to its new hormonal balance whilst also tackling common symptoms like hot flushes, dryness and fatigue. Whilst Womankind supplement really supports women through their monthly cycle tackling PMS and irregularities but using a combination of classic hormonal balancers such as pomegranate and maca alongside classic adaptogens like reishi mushroom. Both the supplements and teas combine traditional knowledge and understanding with modern research to present a range of balanced and supportive formulas specific to women’s health.

Interview with Sebastian Pole, co-founder of Pukka Herbs; pukkaherbs.com