Medicinal Plants

Shatavri (Asparagus racemosus)


  • Asparagus racemosus Asparagus racemosus popularly know as Shatavri is an indigenous plant used in Sidda and Homeopathic medicines.
  • It belongs to the family Liliaceae and its related species are A. adscendens, A.filicinus which are found in the temperate regions like Kashmir and Bhutan. The other species , viz.,A.officinalis, A.gonoclaudus and A.sarmentous are distributed in the Konkan regions of Karnataka and Maharasthra. Shatavri roots are used mainly as lactogogue which promotes secretion of breast milk.
  • It is useful in improving the lost body weight and is also considered as an aphrodisiac.
  • The root is useful in curing dysentery, diabetes and tuberculosis. In general it helps to maintain the health by providing immunity to diseases.
  • The demand for Shatavri roots are on increase and destructive nature of harvesting the entire whole plant has resulted in shrinking of population. It is estimated that in India, more than 500 tonnes of Shatavri roots are required every year for medicinal preparations.
  • But it is doubtful that such a huge quantity could be available under natural conditions.
  • The supply is rather erratic and inadequate due to the declining forest area. The species hold promising scope for cultivation on a commercial scale under selected environment

Climate and soil

  • The species grows under varied agro climatic conditions ranging from temperate to tropical hill ranges.
  • It is widely distributed in the western and Eastern ghat hills. It can be commercially cultivated in moderate hills like shevroy, kolli, and kalyan hills and medium elevation of western ghat hills where the elevation are between 800-1500 m above MSL
  • Shatavri is a thorny climber which grows to the height of 180 cm. The plants are hardy vines found trailing on bushes along the dry hill slopes.
  • It is an ideal crop for raising as an intercrop in coffee plantations. The crop prefers lateritic, red loamy soils with adequate drainage. The plants are hardy and survive adverse conditions like drought and low temperatures.
  • Being a shallow rooted crop it can be grown in rocky soils where soil depth is hardly 20-30 cm


  • It is propagated by root suckers or seeds. For commercial planting, root suckers are preferred

Land preparation, fertilization and planting

  • The land is prepared well by digging up to 15 cm depth. Application of high level organic manure is generally recommended for this crop.
  • About 15-20 tonnes of FYM should be incorporated for one hectare area. Inorganic fertilizers @ 100 kg N, 60 kg P2O5 and 60 kg K2O per hectare is recommended.. ridges are prepared 60 cm apart.
  • Well developed root suckers are prepared and planted at 60 cm spacing. About 28,000 plants are required for planting one hectare


  • Shatavri, being a climber, requires support for its growth . for this 1.2-1.5 meters long stakes are used to support the growth of vines.
  • Besides stacking, it requires 2-3 manual weedings in the initial stages of the growth.


  • The plants flower during February- March leaving a mild frangnance in its surrounding .
  • By the end of April , fruits can be seen with attractive red berries. Each plant produces 16-20 elongated fleshy tubers which have sweet and mild flavour. The tubers upon maturity are often consumed by the local tribes as a substitute for food.
  • The tubes are economic part and used either as fresh or after drying. The tubes come to maturity within 12-14 months after planting depending upon the soil and climatic conditions

Yield and economics

  • A single plant yields 500-600 g of fresh roots. On a average, 12-14 tonnes of fresh roots can be harvested in one hectare.
  • Up on drying, the roots yield is 10-12 q/ha. Well matured and dried Shatavri roots can be marketed @ Rs.40-50 /ka. Therefore a gross income ranges between Rs.40,000-60,000/ha accordingly net profit ranges from Rs 20,000-40,000/ha