Drugs A - Z
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
Generic Name: Asparagus
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Asparagamine A, Asparagus africanus, Asparagus gobicus, Asparagus officinalis, Asparagus racemosus, edible asparagus, gobicusin A, gobicusin B, iso-agatharesinol, Liliaceae (family), racemofuran, racemosol, Shatavari, sparagrass, Spargel (German), sparrow grass, sperage.
In its wild form in Ancient Greece and Rome, asparagus was used as a diuretic (increasing urine flow) to flush out the kidneys and prevent the formation of kidney stones. In Asian medicine, asparagus root is given for cough, diarrhea, and nervous problems. Asparagus roots and leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine for female infertility.
Today, asparagus is most often used as a food. There is very limited research in human on the medicinal uses of asparagus.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Galactagogue (promotes secretion of milk):
Asparagus may help promote the secretion of milk in women. There is currently insufficient available evidence in this area. Additional study is needed.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitumor, anxiety, aphrodisiac, blood cleanser, bronchial congestion, cough, demulcent (soothing action on inflammation), diabetes, diarrhea, digestive, diuretic (increasing urine flow), dysentery, food uses, gastric ulcers, hepatoprotection (liver protection), immunostimulation, improving resistance to disease, infertility, inflammation, joint pain and stiffness, kidney stones, liver disease, neurological disorders, rheumatism, soap, tonic, urinary tract inflammation.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is currently no available scientific information about medicinal dosing for asparagus. Traditional dosing has used infusions, fluid extracts and alcoholic extracts for the treatment of urinary tract inflammation and kidney stones. A typical infusion dose uses 45-60 grams of cut herb in 150 milliliters of water and is taken daily by mouth. 45-60 milliliters of fluid extract has been taken daily by mouth. 225-300 milliliters of alcoholic extract (1:5 grams per milliliter) has also been taken daily by mouth.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is currently no available scientific information about dosing for asparagus in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Known allergy/hypersensitivity to asparagus or other members of the Liliaceae family.
Allergic reactions have been documented for asparagus, including itchy conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye), runny nose, tightness of the throat, coughing, acute urticaria ("hives"), inflammation of the skin, and occupational asthma caused by asparagus inhalation
Side Effects and Warnings
Asparagus is likely safe when consumed as a food. The primary adverse effects for asparagus are dermatological (skin reactions) and pulmonary (lung) allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions that have been documented include itchy conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye), runny nose, worsening of asthma symptoms, tightness of the throat, coughing, acute urticaria ("hives"), and inflammation of the skin.
Patients should not take asparagus if allergic to asparagus. Patients with edema due to impaired kidney or heart function should use cautiously, and should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before starting any new therapies.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Interactions with Drugs
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Asparagus may have diuretic effects (increases urine flow), and may positively affect diuretic herbs and supplements. Caution is advised.
This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Mamta Vora, PharmD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration), Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Goyal RK, Singh J, Lal H. Asparagus racemosus--an update. Indian J Med Sci 2003;57(9):408-414.
Rieker J, Ruzicka T, Neumann NJ, et al. [Type I and type IV sensitization to Asparagus officinalis]. Hautarzt 2004;55(4):397-398.
Sharma S, Ramji S, Kumari S, et al. Randomized controlled trial of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) as a lactogogue in lactational inadequacy. Indian Pediatr 1996;33(8):675-677.
Tabar AI, Alvarez-Puebla MJ, Gomez B, et al. Diversity of asparagus allergy: clinical and immunological features. Clin Exp Allergy 2004;34(1):131-136.
Wiboonpun N, Phuwapraisirisan P, Tip-pyang S. Identification of antioxidant compound from Asparagus racemosus. Phytother Res 2004;18(9):771-773.
Yang CX, Huang SS, Yang XP, et al. Nor-lignans and steroidal saponins from Asparagus gobicus. Planta Med 2004;70(5):446-451.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.