Asparagus Identification: Asparagus is a perennial plant with short, horizontal rootstock having long, thick roots and sending up the young shoots that we eat as vegetables (see Wild Asparagus
Foods For Survival).
Stems – Up to 6 feet tall, herbaceous, erect, much branched, glabrous, from rhizomes. Branches thin and drooping.
Leaves – Fernlike (actually branches functioning as leaves). They appear somewhat like pine needles.
Flowers – Seldom noticed; whitish-green; stamens 6; anthers orange; appear from May – June.
Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Other Names: Asperge, Garden Asparagus, Sparrowgrass,
Tien Men Tong, and Shatavari.
Habitat: Pastures, fencerows, old cultivated fields, disturbed sites, open woods, roadsides, railroads. Escaped from cultivation. Native to Europe.
Parts Used: Root, shoots, and seeds.
Constituents: Asparagus stems are rich in the amino acids asparagine, tyrosone and arginine, plus succinic acid and a methylsulfonium derivative of methionine. Other constituents of asparagus include essential oil, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercitin, rutin), resin, and tannin.Two sulfur-bearing mercaptans, S-methylthioacrylate and S-methyl 3-(methylthio) thiopropionate accounts for the distinctive odor of your urine shortly after consuming a mass of the stems.
Medicinal Properties: The roots considered diuretic, laxative, induce sweating, and are recommended for gout, dropsy, and rheumatism. Chinese studies report that the roots can also lower blood pressure. The powdered seeds have antibiotic properties and help to relieve nausea while calming the stomach. Japanese studies report that green Asparagus aids protein conversion into amino acids. Because Asparagus helps to dissolve uric and oxalic acid, it benefits arthritic conditions and kidney stones. Due to its high folic acid content, eating young Asparagus shoots and seeds will help in the production of new red blood cells.
Preparations and Dosages: 1-1/2 ounces to 2-2/3 ounces of the chopped stem and roots.
Caution: May cause contact dermatitis.
Asparagus is also a wild food.