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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Garden Asparagus

Shatavari Root, Chinese Asparagus
(Asparagus Officinalis
Asparagus Racemosa, Asparagus Cochinchinensis)

For Informational Use Only
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Asparagus Description
  • Asparagus Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Asparagus Dosage Information
  • Asparagus Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Asparagus Supplements & Products

  • asparagus spears bundled



    There are many species of Asparagus which are grown for ornamental purposes. Asparagus racemosa (known as Shatavari) is a traditional root used in Ayurvedic medicine. The garden asparagus is Asparagus officinalis and is the edible species of asparagus.

    Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is also known as Sparrow grass and is a member of the Liliaceae family. Asparagus is a tubular perennial with feathery foliage. This herb can grow to about six foot. It has long fronds of delicate needle like leaves and bell shaped yellow green flowers that produce small bright red berries. Asparagus spears grow from roots called crowns. These crowns, rather than seeds, are usually used for starting an asparagus garden. A single plant will continue to yield for up to 20 years. Garden asparagus plants grow 4 to 12 inches high (10 to 30 centimeters).

    asparagus spears, crown and fern

    The Asparagus plant is native to Europe and grows naturally in central and southern Europe, the Middle East, western Siberia, and northern Africa and is also cultivated worldwide, often in home gardens. Asparagus if often found growing wild along irrigation ditches, water canals, roadside ditches, fencerows, pastures, old cultivated fields, disturbed sites, open woods, along railroad tracts and areas where water may be found and drainage is good.
      Stems: Up to 2 meters tall, herbaceous, erect, much branched, glabrous, from rhizomes, green. Branches thin and drooping.

      Leaves: Alternate and reduced to scales on main stem, glabrous. Leaves of upper branches linear, to 2.5 centimeters long, 0.5 millimeters broad, in groups of 1 to 5 per node, glabrous, appearing as if in fascicles like pine needles.

      Inflorescence - Single or paired flowers from leaf axils. Pedicels jointed, to about 1 centimeter long, glabrous.

      Flowers - Perianth segments (tepals) whitish-green, to 6.5 millimeters long, 1.5 millimeters broad, with subscarious margins, rounded to obtuse at apex, glabrous. Stamens 6, adnate at base of perianth segments, included. Filaments to 3 millimeters long, glabrous. Anthers orange, 1.6 millimeters long. Style 1.1 millimeters long, glabrous. Stigmas 3. Ovary superior, 1.8 millimeters long, green, 3-locular. Berries to 1 centimeter in diameter, red, glabrous, with 3 to 6 seeds. Flowering occurs May to June.

      Other Information: The flowering period is not really as important with asparagus as the sprouting period. This is when its best to find and collect young asparagus shoots to eat. Why bother spending good money on asparagus in the grocery store when you can drive down the road and collect several pounds in a short time. You just have to know where to go and find them. They require a plentiful water source. We used to gather them from the banks of slow moving irrigation canals that run along farm lands in the spring. Since the sprouts are small and hidden among grasses and brush, you have to physically get out and walk the length of the water source. Wear gardening gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms from insects and twig scratches. White asparagus are actually sprouts which have been grown under a layer of mulch so that they do not produce chlorophyll. White and green asparagus come from the same species or even the same plant.

      The upper leaves of asparagus are not actually leaves at all but are, in fact, reduced stem-branches that photosynthesize and transfer energy to the crown of the plant. The crown is a collection of rhizomes (modified stem) and lateral roots that initiate new ferns. The true leaves are scalelike and on the main stem. The spears, which are the harvested portion of the asparagus plant, are immature ferns. Thus, if the spear is not harvested, it develops into a larger fern, which manufactures and stores energy in the crown or next year's crop. Asparagus officinalis is a dioecious plant meaning that male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are produced on different plants. Male asparagus plants (Jersey types) produce more spears than female plants do. Female asparagus plants produce numerous bright, red, berry-like fruits with seeds that can become volunteer weeds in the garden or field.

    Asparagus fruit and fern


    Because asparagus is a perennial vegetable, attention should be given to choosing the best planting site. Like most vegetables, asparagus will not tolerate wet, soggy soil. Choose a well-drained field, or use raised beds to promote drainage. Asparagus will perform best in sandy, light-textured soils. Do not rotate asparagus with vegetables such as onion, leeks, chives or garlic because they can transmit diseases to the asparagus planting. Choose a site with as few weeds as possible. Growing a cover crop during the summer (buckwheat) and the fall and winter (rye or wheat) the year before you wish to plant asparagus will suppress weed growth and increase organic matter in the soil. Take a soil sample the fall or spring before planting for nutrient analysis. The optimal pH for asparagus is 6.5 to 7.0; lime may need to be incorporated into the soil before planting. Before planting, broadcast and plow in fertilizer to supply about 75 pounds of nitrogen (1.7 pounds per 1,000 square feet), and 25 to 200 pounds (0.6 to 4.6 pounds per 1,000 square feet) of P2O5 and K2O per acre.

    Choose a hybrid variety for optimum yield, quality and disease tolerance. Many of the Jersey all-male varieties perform well in planting zone 6 to 7 regions including 'Jersey Giant,' 'Jersey Knight' and 'Jersey Supreme.' 'Apollo,' 'Atlas' and 'UC 157 F1' are also excellent hybrid varieties. Open pollinated varieties such as 'Mary Washington' and 'Viking' are very good for home gardens but lack the vigor of the Jersey types for sustained commercial production. See Plant Hardiness Zone Map to obtain the planting zone for your region.
    • Atlas Hybrid variety with medium to large spears that are slightly purple at the tips. Keeps a tight head in warmer zone 7 temperatures. Larger spears than 'UC157' variety.
    • Apollo Hybrid is an early variety. May perform better in zone 7 regions.
    • Jersey Giant is an all male hybrid variety. Green spear with purple bracts. High yields. Performs well in zones 6 and 5 regions.
    • Jersey Knight emerges a few days later than 'Jersey Supreme'. Green spear with purple bracts. Yields well in zone 7. Does very well on heavy soils.
    • Jersey Supreme is an early variety. It has the potential to out yield 'Jersey Giant'. Spears are medium sized.
    • UC 157 F1 has an excellent yield. Performs well in zone 7. May not survive extremely cold winters.
    • Purple Passion has burgundy colored spears with green interior. Sweeter than green asparagus. Open pollinated variety. Produces many seeds. Produces big spears, so spacing should be reduced to 8 inches between plants.

    Asparagus anatomy.

    Planting: Asparagus should be planted in the spring as early as the soil in the garden or field can be worked. In planting zone 7, asparagus can usually be planted in late March or early April; in zone 6 and zone 5 regions, early to mid April. Some varieties can be grown from seed for transplanting, but this method requires more time than using crowns. If seed is used, the seed is sown in plug trays in a greenhouse the fall before the asparagus is planted in the field. The following spring, the 3- to 4-month-old transplants are planted, but no harvest is conducted that year or the following year in order to increase crown vigor. In planting zone 7, transplants can be planted in either the spring (April) or fall (September).

    If crowns are used, always purchase a healthy, 1-year-old crown from an inspected nursery. Crowns will differ in size. Separate crowns by size, and plant similar-sized crowns together to encourage uniform growth. If crowns cannot be planted immediately, store them in a refrigerator.

    Make a 4- to 6-inch-deep furrow using a garden hoe. Super phosphate fertilizer (0-46-0) can be banded in the furrow (0.7 pounds per 1,000 square feet) or an inch of compost can be applied before planting. Cover the fertilizer or mulch with an inch of soil, and space the crowns 12 to 18 inches apart in the furrow. If a variety produces large-diameter spears, you should reduce spacing within the row to decrease spear size. Each row should be no less than 5 feet apart so the ferns can close canopy and shade weeds during the summer. If rows are spaced too close together, spear size may be reduced. Cover the crowns with about 2 inches of soil, and as the ferns emerge and grow, gradually fill in the furrow through the summer.

    Healthy, one-year-old asparagus crowns should be planted 4 to 6 inches deep in a furrow.

    Growing White Asparagus: White or blanched asparagus is very tender with a unique taste and is considered a rare delicacy by some. If the spear is protected from sunlight, it will not produce chlorophyll. To prevent sunlight exposure to the spear, ridge soil or straw around the crown or place a black plastic cover over the rows.

    Irrigation: Plants that are stressed by drought can become weak and susceptible to insect, disease and weed pressure. Growers should be prepared to irrigate new asparagus plantings for the first two or three seasons after establishment, and each year during the spring harvest season in case of a spring drought. Drought stress after harvest can reduce yields for the following season.

    Weed Management: Weed control is the most challenging component of successful asparagus production. Asparagus is a poor competitor with weeds. On small acreages, very light cultivation with a hoe may be used to remove weeds, but avoid using a rototiller or any other tillage implement that can damage the crown, reduce yields and promote diseases. Organic mulches such as grass clippings, wood chips, straw/hay or compost can be applied 4 to 6 inches thick to suppress weeds. Several herbicides are labeled for weed control in asparagus. Glyphosate (Round-up) can be used as a contact spray to control winter annual and biennial weeds early in the spring before the spears emerge and after the last harvest. Cover crops such as rye or wheat may be spring-seeded in row middles to suppress weeds. Common rock salt was once used to control shallow-rooted weeds in asparagus because asparagus is deep rooted and can tolerate some salt, but it is no longer recommended because the salt can damage soil structure by creating a crust that impedes water infiltration.

    Insect Management: The most significant insect pest of asparagus is the asparagus beetle. The asparagus beetle is about 1/4 inch long with bluish black wing covers and creamy-yellow spots with red borders. The asparagus beetle overwinters as an adult in crop residue or trash around the garden or field. As soon as the spears emerge in the spring, the asparagus beetle begins feeding on the spear tips and laying eggs on the spears. Both the feeding damage and the presence of eggs make the spears unmarketable. On a small-scale planting, asparagus beetles can be controlled by hand-removing them from the spears or ferns. On a larger planting, beetles can be controlled by spraying botanical or synthetic insecticides. Other potentially serious insect pests of asparagus include cutworms, grasshoppers and aphids.

    Disease management: Selecting a site with good drainage and optimal pH will prevent many asparagus diseases. Crown rot, a potentially devastating disease, is caused by overharvesting, growing in acidic and waterlogged soils, and excessive pest pressure. Cercospora needle blight is often observed as reddish brown, elliptical lesions on the ferns. These lesions are followed by death of the foliage.

    Asparagus Spears

    Harvest: The yield of asparagus spears in the spring is directly related to the previous year's fern growth. Asparagus can be harvested for a limited time (two weeks) the second year after planting crowns (three years from seed transplants). Overharvesting one year can weaken the plant and decrease yields the following year. Three years after planting the crowns, asparagus can be harvested for five to eight weeks. Each year during the first several years of production, marketable yields will increase if the planting is managed properly.

    Asparagus spears are best harvested by snapping them off by hand near ground level. Most growers prefer to snap the asparagus spears when they reach 7 to 9 inches in length in cool weather (less than 70°F), or 5 to 7 inches in warmer weather (more than 70°F), and the spear tip is tight. Snapping will break the spear cleanly at a tender point. Cutting with a knife is generally not recommended because it may spread diseases from plant to plant. Spears greater than 3/8 inch in diameter are graded as "large" while spears from 1/4 to 3/8 inch are graded as "small." To preserve freshness, harvest during periods of low field heat (morning or evening). Spear fresh weight is greatest in the morning. Expect to harvest every one to three days as temperatures increase. Spring freezes will not harm the crowns or subsequent harvests but can damage emerging spears. Thus, emerged spears may be harvested before a predicted freeze.

    Asparagus has a short shelf life and should be immersed in cold water (hydrocooled) after harvest and immediately refrigerated (36°F) to maintain quality. Asparagus can be sold as 1/2- to 1-pound bunches. Normal spring harvest extends from April 10 to May 25 in zone 7, April 14 to May 30 in zone 6, and April 20 to June 5 in zone 5, but harvest time can vary by about a week depending on temperature. Field harvesting should stop when the majority of spears are the diameter of a pencil (less than 3/8 inch).

    Research indicates that unlike other vegetable in which respiration or metabolic activity ceases the moment the are picked, the metabolic activity in asparagus continues for sometime after. This makes it more perishable than the other vegetables causing it to lose nutrients and become wrinkly and hard. The metabolic activity can be slowed down by wrapping the ends in a damp paper or cloth towel before storing it in the refrigerator. Also ensure that it is consumed in a day or two of purchase.

    After harvest, the asparagus planting should be fertilized with an additional 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre (1.2 pounds per 1,000 square feet) to stimulate summer and fall fern growth. Herbicides can be applied after harvest to control any weed growth. Frost will desiccate the ferns, and they can then be cut in late fall or early winter. Do not mow ferns in early fall while they are still green because this will reduce the following spring’s harvest. In zone 5 regions, growers may mulch the crowns to protect them from low-temperature injury. The mulch can be raked to the row middles the following spring (early April), and spears will emerge for another harvest­season.

    Asparagus foliage


    Asparagus racemosus or Shatavari is the species whose finger shaped roots, and to some extent its leaves, are used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine while Asparagus officinalis or Asparagus as the West knows it, is the variety that is cultivated for its edible shoots. White asparagus are produced when the shoots that sprout through the soil are covered with earth. This prevents photosynthesis from talking place the resulting the white color.

    Known mainly as a vegetable looking like long spears, it is the root that is used medicinally and unearthed after the shoots have been cut. Judging from ancient Egyptian tomb drawings, asparagus was cultivated as long ago as 4,000 BC. In the 1st Century, Dioscorides, the Greek physician, recommended a decoction of the root to improve urine flow and to treat kidney problems, jaundice, and sciatica (a nerve issue that caused pain in the back and legs). He also recommended holding the chewed root against aching teeth. Also in the 1st Century, Pliny wrote that, 'asparagus, of all the plants of the garden, receives the most praiseworthy care'. 2nd Century Physician, Galen, described Asparagus as 'cleansing and healing'. Claims for medicinal benefits of Asparagus persist to this day. Its botanical species name, officinalis indicates its recognition as an official therapeutic herb.

    Asparagus flowers



    The list of health benefits of asparagus is quite long and very impressive.

    Primarily shatavari is considered a female reproductive tonic in Ayurveda but the many benefits it provides go far beyond this. According to Ayurveda the asparagus root, and this is the most used part of the plant, has the following properties/benefits:
    • Antiseptic
    • Antidiarrheal and antidystentric
    • Diuretic
    • Galactogogue (increases milk output in breastfeeding women)
    • Antispasmodic
    • Anti inflammatory
    • Aphrodisiac
    • Demulcent (soothing pain and inflammations)
    • Nutritive (nourishing)
    • Refrigerant (cooling effect, pitta pacifying effect)
    • Tonic
    • Antitussive (relieves cough)
    • Antioxytocic (prevents stimulation of the uterus muscles)
    • Antioxidant
    • Immunomodulator
    • Adaptogen (metabolism regulator, helping the body to adapt to environment factors easily)

    These properties give asparagus a wide range of health benefits. A few of the health benefits of asparagus these propertie translate into include:
    • Cancer - The health benefits of asparagus have largely been attributable to the saponins in the roots. Asparagus officinalis has saponins in the shoots as well. Saponins have anti inflammatory and anti cancer properties. Asparagus contains a unique carbohydrate called inulin that does not get digested in the anterior part of the intestine but travels to the large intestine where it is broken down by the bacteria residing there, the Bifidibacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria use inulin as food to thrive and multiply thereby lowering the risk of colon cancer, allergies and increasing absorption of nutrients.

    • Heart Disease - The anti inflammatory property and also the various B-Complex vitamins especially Choline, Biotin and Pantothenic Acid play a key role not only in regulating blood sugar levels but also keeping the levels of the amino acid homocysteine low, thus reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart attack and stroke, and regulating blood fat and cholesterol levels.

    • Digestion - Ayurveda uses asparagus/shatavatri in treating a variety of problems related to digestion. The unique carbohydrate inulin and the dietary fiber which is a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber relieves constipation, dyspepsia, ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery, colic, improves digestion by increasing the levels of the enzymes, amylase and lipase that digest carbohydrates and fat respectively.

    • Blood Sugar - The anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties also translate into lowering of blood sugar levels with the dietary fiber also pitching in. This especially reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Apart from the above, Asparagus or Shatavari is used successfully in treating gonorrhea, piles, cough, headaches, hangovers, detoxification of the body, swellings, water retention, arthritis and rheumatism, skin diseases, PMS issues, stress, insomnia, nervous disorders and female problems like amenorrhea, leukorrhea and dysmenorrhea.

    Ancient Grecians and Romans used Asparagus for its diuretic properties. Hippocrates highly regarded Asparagus as a medicinal plant that was used for treating all kinds of conditions from toothaches to healing certain types of cancer. Today, Asparagus is still used as a diuretic, and although there is no scientific evidence, it has also been used to purify the blood. It works great in treating kidney stones and urinary tract infections. It helps flush out the kidneys and help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Sometimes Asparagus is used as an aphrodisiac because the root of this plant contains steroidal glycosides that directly affect hormone production and can very well influence emotions. Due to its high folic acid content, eating young Asparagus shoots and seeds will help in the production of new red blood cells. This plant can be used to treat gout, dropsy, rheumatism, nausea, and calms an upset stomach.

    In India, Asparagus is used to promote fertility, reduce menstrual cramping, and increase milk production in nursing mothers. Shatavari Root (Asparagus racemosa) is a traditional Ayurvedic antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, digestive, diuretic, glactogogue, and is often used for infertility and for women's health. Constituents inlcude steroidal saponins and glycosides (shatavarin, sarasapogenin, diosgenin), isoflavones, mucilage, alkaloids, asparagamine, sistosterol. The parts used is the root, rhizomes and stem. Typical preparations include an infusion or a tincture. The fresh root is often candied or made into preserves to give it a sugary sweet flavor. Shatavari is highly regarded as an herb for women's health and it is the most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for problems connected to women's fertility. The name Shatavari is from an Indian word meaning "a woman who has a hundred husbands". Precautions: Consult with a health care provider before using if pregnant or nursing.

    Chinese pharmacists save the best Asparagus roots for their families and friends, believing that it will increase feelings of compassion and love. Some of the therapeutic uses of Asparagus are as follows:
    • A Remedy For: Kidney and bladder stones, Urinary tract infections.
    • Used Medicinally For: Cystitis, Pyelitis, Kidney disease, Rheumatism, Gout, Edema from heart failure.
    • Female Uses: Female hormone balance and to assist the reproductive system, to promote fertility, relieve menstrual discomfort and to increase breast milk for nursing mothers.
    • Assists With: Tuberculosis, Aids, Chronic fatigue, Back pain, Sports Burnout, Arthritis, Strengthen bones and marrow, Hemorrhaging, Stomach pains, Cramps, Convulsions.


  • Asparagus is a very low calorie vegetable. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of fresh spears give only 20 calories. More calories will be burnt to digest than gained, the fact, which fits into the categaroy of low calorie or negative-calorie vegetables.

  • Asparagus spears contain moderate levels of dietary fiber. 100 grams of fresh spears provide 2.1 grams of roughage. Dietary fiber helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad (LDL) cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that a high-fiber diet helps cut down colon-rectal cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.

  • Asparagus shoots have long been used in many traditional medicines to treat conditions like dropsy and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Fresh asparagus spears are a good source of antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenes and cryptoxanthine. Together, these flavonoid compounds help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body and protect it from possible cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and viral infections. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 2150 µmol TE/100 grams.

  • Asparagus possesses various health benefits and therapeutic uses, owing to its richness of vitamins and minerals. It is renowned as an excellent provider of folate, which is especially essential for pregnant women. 100 grams of spears provide about 54 µg or 14 percent of RDA of folic acid. Folates are one of the important co-factors for DNA synthesis inside the cell. Scientific studies have shown that adequate consumption of folates in the diet during the pre-conception period and during early pregnancy, help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn baby.

  • Asparagus shoots are rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid. These are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.

  • Fresh Asparagus contains fair amounts of antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Regular consumption of foods rich in these vitamins helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

  • Asparagus shoots are a good source of Vitamin K, providing about 35 percent of DRI. Vitamin K in asparagus has potential role in bone health and prevents osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, as the vitamin helps in the repair and formation of the bones by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate Vitamin K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established a role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

  • Asparagus is good in minerals, especially Copper and Iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, and Phosphorus. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the reproduction of red blood cells. Iron is required for cellular respiration and red blood cell formation.

  • Asparagus also provides plenty of potassium in our diet, which is believed to prevent the depletion of calcium from our body. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.

  • Asparagus is believed to balance and rejuvenate the reproductive system in women. It promotes lactation in nursing mothers.

  • The paste of asparagus leaves are used as a topical application in the case of small pox or other skin burns or irritations.

  • The juice or decoction from the roots of asparagus acts as a good tonic for the body. It is a good diuretic and cleanses the body of toxic matter.

  • Asparagus is also believed to be a mood booster, and it can be used to combat depression.

  • The herb also acts as a demulcent for the dry and swollen membranes of the lungs and stomach.

  • Being a good nerve tonic, asparagus allays the onset and intensity of epilepsy and hysteria.

  • Asparagus contains inulin, which consumes the bacteria in the large intestine; thus, it is helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive system. In vitro activity against cyclooxygenase-1 and the effect on human intestinal bacteria has been described.

  • Asparagus is believed to produce estrogens, and hence, it helpful in combating the symptoms of menopause. It also helps provide estrogen to women who have had their ovaries or uterus removed.

  • Asparagus is believed to possess antifungal, antiviral and anti-cancer properties. It is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. Chemical constituents of Asparagus, such as steroidal saponins, have been evaluated in vitro or activity against human and animal cancer cell lines. Free radical scavenging antioxidant activity attributed to the phenolic content of Asparagus has been described.

  • Being an alkaline food and a natural diuretic, asparagus prevents urinary and bladder infections and the growth of stones. Asparagus roots have been used traditiohnall to support kidney functionh and are listed in the Complete German Commission E Monographs for treatment of urinary tract diseases and kidney stones. However, clinical trials are lacking to substantiate such effects. The cardiovascular effect of a combination preparation of Asparagus and Parsley was evaluated in a study investigating the adverse effects of a maximal dosage of the product. A trend toward a hypotensive effect was observed in some of the participants, but as the study was not designed to evaluate this effect, conclusions cannot be drawn from the results.

  • Known for its cholesterol reducing property, asparagus also lowers blood pressure in a natural manner.


  • Medicated oil prepared from asparagus is used for massage of the head and provides a cooling effect.

  • The massage with the medicated oil reduces inflammations, lower back pain, and sciatica, and it is also used in treating paralytics.


    Asparagus is a reservoir of vitamins and essential nutrients. Vitamin B-6, magnesium, and zinc are found in the asparagus shoots. Asparagus is known to be an excellent storehouse of potassium and folates (folic acid). It meets more than the average daily requirement of a person. The reason that asparagus is a very attractive food to eat is that it contains only traces of sodium and calories. Vitamins A, B-1, B-2, C, E and K are also found in asparagus shoots along with the essential minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, copper, manganese and selenium. Chromium, a mineral that helps insulin take glucose from the blood to the cells, is also present in asparagus. The amino acid, asparagines, is also abundantly present in this plant. Green asparagus also abounds in vitamin C.

  • Asparagus is a low calorie vegetable having just 20 calories per 100 grams. It has almost no fat and is free of cholesterol. The low calorie content makes it a negative calorie vegetable as more calories are burnt in digesting it than what is gained from consuming it.
  • The dietary fiber is of the order of 5.5-percent DV per 100 grams which is considered a good level.
  • It has a number of flavonoid antioxidants in appreciable levels, like lutein, carotenes, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthins.
  • It contains a very beneficial and unique carbohydrate inulin that has a major health benefit.
  • Asparagus is a rich source of folates (13-percent DV in 100 grams), which is a very vital nutrient for the growing fetus.
  • It contains all the important Bcomplex vitamins including niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamine that are needed in many metabolic and enzymatic processes.
  • Asparagus has rich levels of the antioxidant Vitamins A (25-percent RDA/100 grams) and moderate levels of Vitamins C and E.
  • Vitamin K is found in very good quantities (35-percent RDA/100 grams) which is especially helpful in ensuring brain and bone health apart from ensuring normal blood clotting.
  • Various minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc are found in fair amounts while copper and iron are in good aomunts.
  • Contains about 4-percent potassium and almost no sodium which makes it good for those with hypertension.

    Asparagus officinalis, Raw

    Nutrition Value Per 100 Grams
    ORAC Value 2150

    (Source: USDA National Nutrient Data Base)
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Energy      20 Kcal      1%
         Carbohydrates      3.38 g      2.5%
         Protein      2.20 g      4%
         Total Fat      0.12 g      0.5%
         Cholesterol      0 mg      0%
         Dietary Fiber      2.1 g      5.5%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Folates      52 µg      13%
         Niacin      0.978 mg      6%
         Pantothenic Acid      0.274 mg      5%
         Pyridoxine      0.091 mg      7%
         Riboflavin      0.141 mg      11%
         Thiamin      0.143 mg      12%
         Vitamin A      756 IU      25%
         Vitamin C      5.6 mg      9%
         Vitamin K      41.6 µg      35%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Sodium      2 mg      <1%
         Potassium      202 mg      4%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Calcium      24 mg      2.5%
         Copper      0.189 mg      21%
         Iron      1.14 mg      14%
         Magnesium      14 mg      1%
         Manganese      0.158 mg      7%
         Phosphorus      52 mg      7.5%
         Selenium      2.3 µg      4%
         Zinc      0.54 mg      5%
    Nutrient Value
    Percentage of RDA
         Beta Carotene      449 µg      --
         Alpha Carotene      9 µg      --
         Lutein-Zeaxanthin      710 µg       --


    Although one may find asparagus all around the season in the supermarkets, it is best available and is most flavorful in the springs. In Europe, its spears are sold in the shops from December until June. Asparagus should be used as soon as possible after harvesting. Otherwise, it loses flavor since most of its sugar will be converted to starch. Therefore, purchase them from the local farms or farmer-markets whenever possible as they tend to be fresh and appetizing. In the markets select tender, firm, straight, smooth, uniform sized, dark green/purple stalks with tightly-closed tips. Avoid thick stalks with wide ridges in the stems, sunken or dull colored, as they indicate old stalk and hence, off flavored.

    As its spears perish early, they should be harvested in the morning hours when air temperatures are cool. After picking, immerse them in ice-cold water to remove the heat; then drain the water and place the spears in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator at 38 to 40°F with 90 to 95 percent relative humidity. At the higher temperatures, its spears lose natural sugar, vitamin-C, as well as flavor, and they become tough and begin to decay.


    peeled asparagus stalks
    Asparagus prepared and stalks peeled.
    snapping asparagus spears
    Asparagus spears will snap where any woodiness begins.
    tie spears into bundles
    Tie Asparagus spears into a bundle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water with tips upward. Then just dip the tips briefly into the boiling water.

    Fresh spears are preferred in cooking. To prepare, wash them in cool running water with gentle scrub. Thin tender spears can be cooked directly. Thick stalks, however, may need peeling before used in the recipes. In general, the spears need to be cooked briefly. In some households, traditional pots are used to cook asparagus where in its stalks immersed in boiling water while tips just allowed cooking by steam only.

    Asparagus shoots are one of the most sought-after vegetables during the spring season. Here are some serving tips:
    • Bruschetta with asparagus, tomato, and cheese toppings.
    • Asparagus spears can be enjoyed raw, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or mixed with vegetables, beans, poultry or seafood.
    • Steamed spears are served with citrus hollandaise sauce, melted butter, parmesan or pecorino cheese in the beautiful French style recipes.
    • Grilled spring onions and asparagus stalks smeared with macadamia nut oil is a mouth-watering appetizer.
    • Stir-fry its tender stalks with sesame seeds, and season in garlic, ginger, and pepper paste.
    • Many restaurants in Germany offer special spargel menus during spring season.



    Asparagus stalks are commonly eaten as a vegetable. Roots, seeds, and extracts have been used as a treatment for various illnesses and as a diuretic, despite the lack of clinical evidence. Other species, such as Asparagus racemosus, are used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine systems.

    There is insufficient clinical evidence to guide the dosage of Asparagus. Asparagus-P contains pulverized, dried asparagus root (200 mg) and dried parsley leaves (200 mg) per tablet. A maximum of 2.4 grams (2,400 mg) daily of dried asparagus root in divided doses contained in a combination preparation with parsley has been evaluated for pharmacological antihypertensive effect; however, adverse reactions led to significant participant withdrawal from the study.

    The standard daily dosage is 1.5 ounces to 2.7 ounces of the chopped stem and roots. Strengths of commercial formulations will vary. For best results, read and follow product label directions.



    Asparagus is generally regarded as safe when taken in the recommended doses.

    However, if your kidneys are inflamed or if you have diarrhea, do not use Asparagus. Do not take Asparagus supplements if you have kidney disease. If you have a weak heart or poor kidneys it is best to consult with your health care provider for the best treatment options for your condition.

    Contraindications have not yet been identified and not interactions have been well documented and toxicity information is lacking. Few clinical trials exist to report adverse reactions. At maximum dosages (12 tablets daily) of Asparagus-P (Asparagus /Parsley combination at 200 mg each herb per tablet), renal pain, peripheral edema, exacerbation of gout, and skin allergies have been reported.

    Sometimes Asparagus can cause dermatitis. In general, asparagus is well tolerated and allergic reactions are quite rare to occur. Symptoms of allergy include rhinitis, occupational asthma, oral allergic syndrome, allergic contact dermatitis and anaphylaxis, are well documented in literature. Lipid transfer proteins, profilin, and glycoproteins may account for the reactions as well as for cross-sensitivities.

    Exacerbation of gout with excessive consumption has been reported. Asparagus contains purines so those who suffer from gout or kidney stones or even those who are susceptible to purine related problems should avoid or limit their consumption of asparagus as excess of purines can cause excess of uric acid in the body and lead to health issues in such individuals. Despite being suggested as a dietary cause of gout, clinical evidence is limited.


    Ingestion of young Asparagus shoots may give an offensive smell to urine. Many people report a strong odor in their urine after consuming asparagus while many others have no such issues. The characteristic pungent odor of some individuals is produced within a few hours of ingestion. No simple or single explanation has been forthcoming on this by researchers as there are 21 different substances that are believed to cause this odor. This odor may be due to the metabolism of asparagusic acid, which breaks down into various sulfur-containing alkyl compounds, degradation products such as methanethiol, sulfides... etc. Also, many people do not experience this smell either due the different ways their bodies metabolize asparagus or these people are not being able to perceive this odor. The condition, however, is harmless. Debate on the issue remains, with some researchers suggesting a genetic predisposition to both the production of and/or sensing the odor. Not enough research has been done on the connection between asparagus consumption, urine odor and its risk to health. Therefore it would be safe to assume that, in view of the above facts, to consume or not consume asparagus is a personal choice. Of course by not consuming it one is bound to miss out on its various health benefits

    Generally recognized as safe when used as food. During pregnancy and lactation, avoid dosages above those found in food because safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver disease is not known. Information is lacking on toxicology. Reports exist of botulism poisoning following the ingestion of improperly home-preserved asparagus.


  • Asparagus Herbal Products


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    Starwest Botanicals: Shatavari Root Powder (Asparagus Racemosus), Organic, 4 oz.
    Starwest Botanicals: Shatavari Root Powder (Asparagus Racemosus), Organic, 1 lb.


    HerbsPro: 7-Keto Naturalean, Ephedra Free, With Asparagus Officinalis Extract (100 mg), 30 Caps
    7-Keto has been shown to be a remarkably effective weight-loss aid in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted by Carlon M. Colker, M.D., Department of Medicine at Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, Conn. Study participants who combined 7-Keto with a healthy diet and exercise lost an average of one pound per week while the placebo group lost less than one-fourth of a pound per week. Weight-loss was due to a loss of body fat, not water weight or muscle tissue. Results of the study are attributed to raised levels of thyroid hormone T3, which increases basil metabolic rate. 7-Keto Naturalean combines clinically studied 7-Keto, the improved, safe form of DHEA, with seven other powerful natural compounds to support thyroid function and metabolism. Ingredients include Iodine (100 mcg), Copper (500 mcg), Manganese (500 mcg), 7-Keto DHEA Acetate (100 mg), L-Tyrosine (100 mg), Asparagus Rhizome Extract (100 mg), Choline Bitartrate (50 mg) and Inositol (50 mg).
    HerbsPro: Asparagus Root Extract (Asparagus Officinalis Rhizome), Enzymatic Therapy, 170 mg, 60 Caps
    Asparagus Extract is a potent detoxifier that nutritionally supports urinary tract function. It is standardized to contain 4 percent asparagosides, the key compound in asparagus.
    HerbsPro: Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus), Avesta Ayurceutics, 200 mg, 60 VCaps
    Recent research supports the traditional classification of Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) as a Rasayana, a dietary supplement or practice promoting rejuvenation, mental and physical health, as well as providing a defense against premature aging and challenging environmental factors. Shatavari has the general ability to promote normal physical functions and counteract the adverse effects of stress. In eight different stress tests, Shatavari produced significant anti-stress and immuno-stimulant effects. Studies have also shown that Shatavari increases the quantity of breast milk and possesses liver-protectant activity.
    HerbsPro: Ultimate Urinary Cleanse, Natures Secret, 60 Caps
    Ultimate Urinary Cleanse is an herbal formulation to cleanse and tone the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys; promote healthy flora throughout the entire urinary tract; and strengthen immune response. The result of in-depth research and insight into the many natural herbs and botanicals that positively affect the bladder, kidney, and urinary systems. Ingredients include Goldenrod, Asparagus Root Extract, Birch Leaf Extract, Cranberry Extract, Orthosiphon Extract, Uva Ursi Extract, Cornsilk, Proprietary Blend: Alfalfa, Cayenne, Bioperine Black Pepper Extract.
    HerbsPro: Orchard Fruits, Natures Way, 450 mg, 60 Caps
    100% Veggie Juice Life & Energy: Each NutriJuice capsule contains over 3,000 phytonutrients taken from 12 vegetables. This broad spectrum of nutrients are essential to health, vitality, and energy. NutriJuice helps you meet the USDA recommended daily serving of fruits/vegetables. 4X more antioxidant power: Tests show NutriJuice delivers more antioxidant capacity (ORAC) than other brands. Unique flash-glancing: Made under low temperature, NutriJuice contains nutrients and enzymes not found in other products. Immediate absorption: Because NutriJuice contains no binders and no excipients, its nutrients are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Proprietary Vegetable Juice Blend: Parsley Juice Powder, Kale Juice Powder, Spinach Juice Powder, Wheat Grass Juice Powder, Brussels Sprout Juice Powder, Asparagus Juice Powder, Broccoli Juice Powder, Cauliflower Juice Powder, Beet Juice Powder, Carrot Juice Powder, Cabbage Juice Powder, Garlic Juice Powder.
    HerbsPro: Female Libido Tonic (With Asparagus Racemosus), Herb Pharm, 1 fl. oz.
    Female Libido Tonic by Herb Pharm Promotes Healthy Libido in Women. The herbs used to prepare this tonic are grown and processed according to Traditional Chinese Methods or are Certified Organically Grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, or they are Custom Wildcrafted in their natural wild habitat. They are hand-harvested at their optimal potency, and are then promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent or after being carefully shade-dried. Ingredients include extracts of Muira Puama stem (Ptychopetalum olacoides), Shatavari root (Asparagus racemosus), Chinese Ginseng root (Panax ginseng), Ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale), Ceylon Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum), In a base of certified organic grain alcohol, distilled water and vegetable glycerine.
    HerbsPro: Female Libido Tonic (With Asparagus Racemosus), Herb Pharm, 4 fl. oz.
    Female Libido Tonic by Herb Pharm Promotes Healthy Libido in Women. The herbs used to prepare this tonic are grown and processed according to Traditional Chinese Methods or are Certified Organically Grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, or they are Custom Wildcrafted in their natural wild habitat. They are hand-harvested at their optimal potency, and are then promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent or after being carefully shade-dried. Ingredients include extracts of Muira Puama stem (Ptychopetalum olacoides), Shatavari root (Asparagus racemosus), Chinese Ginseng root (Panax ginseng), Ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale), Ceylon Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum), In a base of certified organic grain alcohol, distilled water and vegetable glycerine.
    HerbsPro: Ayurvedic Massage Oil, Auromere, 4 fl. oz.
    25 Ayurvedic herbs and botanical extracts recommended for skin and muscle-toning have been selected and blended into a pure cold-pressed sesame oil base according to age-old methods using special clay fire places and pure copper vessels. Highly recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners, massage therapists, body workers, hatha yoga instructors and students for all types of general and special massage. Ingredients include Sesame Oil, Asparagus racemosus, Sweet Flag (extract), Round Zedory, Desmodium gangeticum (extract), Indian Beech, Castor Oil, Solanum xanthocarpum, Indian Nightshade, Uraria lagopoids, Sweet Flag (crushed), Deodar Pine, Spreading Hogweed, Fennel, Sandalwood Oil, Eaglewood, Yellow Lichen, Indian Valerian, Costus, Cardamom, Musk Root, Desmodium gangeticum (crushed), Country Mallow, Winter Cherry, Vanda roxburghii, Rock Salt.
    HerbsPro: Ayurvedic Massage Oil, Auromere, 32 fl. oz.
    25 Ayurvedic herbs and botanical extracts recommended for skin and muscle-toning have been selected and blended into a pure cold-pressed sesame oil base according to age-old methods using special clay fire places and pure copper vessels. Highly recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners, massage therapists, body workers, hatha yoga instructors and students for all types of general and special massage. Ingredients include Sesame Oil, Asparagus racemosus, Sweet Flag (extract), Round Zedory, Desmodium gangeticum (extract), Indian Beech, Castor Oil, Solanum xanthocarpum, Indian Nightshade, Uraria lagopoids, Sweet Flag (crushed), Deodar Pine, Spreading Hogweed, Fennel, Sandalwood Oil, Eaglewood, Yellow Lichen, Indian Valerian, Costus, Cardamom, Musk Root, Desmodium gangeticum (crushed), Country Mallow, Winter Cherry, Vanda roxburghii, Rock Salt.
    HerbsPro: Ayurvedic Hand & Body Lotion, Auromere, 8 fl. oz.
    Auromere Ayurvedic Hand & Body Lotion combines the deep-penetrating, nourishing properties of Sesame oil, the premiere Ayurvedic oil for skin care, along with the moisturizing, soothing and rejuvenative action of Almond oil and Castor oil. These cold-pressed oils are then infused with 13 Ayurvedic herbal extracts traditionally prescribed for skin preservation, conditioning and muscle tone, and blended together in a gentle, hydrating lotion base. Leaves skin extraordinarily soft, smooth and hydrated. Especially beneficial for dry, aging, delicate and problem skin. For all skin types: Vata-Pitta-Kapha. Ingredients include Water, Sesame oil,Ayurvedic herbs: Asparagus racemosus, Desmodium gangeticum, Uraria lagopoids, Round Zedory, Sweet Flag, Castor Oil Plant, Spreading Hogweed, Sandalwood oil, Indian Valerian, Winter Cherry (Ashwagadha), Khus Khus grass, Cardamom, Rock Salt, Almond oil, Castor oil, in a gentle lotion base: (Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid from plant, Sorbitol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Methyl/ Propyl/ Butylparaben).


    Asparagus Powders

    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Asparagus cochinchinensis) Granules, Sun Ten, 100 grams (3.5 oz): V (Special Order)
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Asparagus cochinchinensis) 5:1 Extract Powder, Plum Flower 100 gm: V (Special Order)
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber Granules, Tian Dong (Tian Men Dong), Evergreen, 3.5 oz (100 Grams): V
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (High) Whole, Tian Men Dong (High), Asia Naturals, 1 lb: V
    Kalyx: Shatavari Root Powder (Asparagus Racemosa), Certified Organic, Starwest Botanicals, 1 lb: C
    Kalyx: Shatawari (Shatavari) Root Powder, Certified Organic (Asparagus racemosus), Vadik Herbs, 1 lb: B
    Kalyx: Asparagus Cochinchinensis Tuber Powder, Plum Flower, 500 gm (1.17 lb): V (Special Order)
    Kalyx: Asparagus Cochinchinensis Tuber, Whole, Plum Flower, 500 gm (1.17 lb): V (Special Order)
    Kalyx: Asparagus Juice Powder (Asparagus officinalis), Kalyx Bulk Products, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
    Kalyx: Asparagus Shoot Powder, Kalyx Bulk Products, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
    Kalyx: Asparagus Shoot 4:1 Powdered Extract (Asparagus Officinalis), Kalyx Bulk Products, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
    Kalyx: Shatavari Root Powder, Certified Organic, Starwest Botanicals, 25 lb Box: C

    Asparagus Liquid Extracts

    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Tian Men Dong) Single Herb Alcohol Fluid Extract, Golden Lotus, 2 fl oz: GL
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Tian Men Dong) Single Herb Alcohol Fluid Extract, Golden Lotus, 4 fl oz: GL
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Tian Men Dong) Single Herb Alcohol Fluid Extract, Golden Lotus, 8 fl oz: GL
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Tian Men Dong) Single Herb Alcohol Fluid Extract, Golden Lotus, 16 fl oz: GL
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Tian Men Dong) Single Herb Alcohol Fluid Extract, Golden Lotus, 32 fl oz: GL
    Kalyx: Asparagus Tuber (Tian Men Dong) Single Herb Alcohol Fluid Extract, Golden Lotus, 1 Gallon: GL

    Tablets & Capsules

    Kalyx: Shatawari (Shatavari) Root Powder (Asparagus racemosus), Vadik Herbs, 100 VCaps: B
    Kalyx: Shatavari Root (Asparagus Racemosa), Certified Organic, Starwest Botanicals, 540 mg, 100 VCaps: C
    Kalyx: Shatavari Root (Asparagus Racemosa), Certified Organic, Starwest Botanicals, 540 mg, 500 VCaps: C

    Asparagus Vegetables

    Kalyx: Pickled Asparagus Bites, Jake & Amos, 16 oz (Case of 12): GR
    Jake and Amos Pickled Asparagus Bites are a natural asparagus made with just the right combination of dill and other seasonings. These bite-size pieces of our Pickled Asparagus will be sure to have you coming back for more.
    Kalyx: J&A Pickled Asparagus, Bryant Preserving, 16 oz. (Case of 12): GR
    Kalyx: White Cheddar Asparagus Soup Mix, Dutch Valley, 15 lbs: GR


    Amazon: Asparagus Plants, Food, & Herbal Products
    Amazon: Asparagus Plants & Seeds Garden Products
    Amazon: Asparagus Fresh, Canned and Jarred Grocery & Gourmet Food Products
    Amazon: Asparagus Herbal Supplement Products

  • Nutrition Basics: Asparagus Herbal Information

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