- What other names is Asparagus known by?
- What is Asparagus?
- How does Asparagus work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Asparagus.
Asparagi Rhizoma Root, Asparagus longifolius, Asparagus officinalis, Asperge, Asperge Comestible, Asperge Commune, Asperge Officinale, Asperges, Espárrago, Espárragos, Garden Asparagus, Spargelkraut, Spargelwurzelstock, Sparrow Grass.
Asparagus is a plant. The newly formed shoots (spears), root, and “underground stems” (rhizomes) are used to make medicine.
Asparagus is used along with lots of fluids as “irrigation therapy” to increase urine output. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections and other conditions of the urinary tract that cause pain and swelling.
Other uses include treatment of joint pain (rheumatism), hormone imbalances in women, dryness in the lungs and throat, constipation, nerve pain (neuritis), AIDS, cancer, and diseases caused by parasites.
In foods, asparagus spears are eaten as a vegetable. This can produce a pungent odor in the urine.
The seed and root extracts of asparagus are used in alcoholic beverages.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Urinary tract infections.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the urinary tract.
- Increasing urine production (“irrigation therapy”) when taken with lots of water.
- Joint pain and swelling that resembles arthritis (rheumatism).
- Hormone imbalances in women.
- Dryness in the lungs and throat.
- Nerve pain and swelling (neuritis).
- Parasitic diseases.
- Preventing kidney stones.
- Preventing bladder stones.
- Preventing anemia due to levels of folic acid that are too low (folic acid deficiency).
- Acne, when applied to the skin.
- Face cleaning, when applied to the skin.
- Drying sores, when applied to the skin.
- Other conditions.
Asparagus is safe when eaten in food amounts. However, there isn't enough information to know if asparagus is safe when used in larger medicinal amounts.
Asparagus can cause allergic reactions when eaten as a vegetable or used on the skin.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Asparagus is UNSAFE to use in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. Asparagus extracts have been used for birth control, so they might harm hormone balances during pregnancy.
Not enough is known about the safety of using asparagus in medicinal amounts during breast-feeding. It's best to stick to food amounts.
Allergy to onions, leeks, and related plants: Asparagus might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to other members of the Liliaceae family including onions, leeks, garlic, and chives.
LithiumInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Asparagus might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking asparagus might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
The appropriate dose of asparagus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for asparagus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, et al. Herbal Medicine, Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000.
Dalvi SS, Nadkarni PM, Gupta KC. Effect of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) on gastric emptying time in normal healthy volunteers. J Postgrad Med 1990;36(2):91-94. View abstract.
Eng PA, Yman L, Maaninen E, et al. Inhalant allergy to fresh asparagus. Clin Exp Allergy 1996;26(3):330-334. View abstract.
Escribano MM, Munoz-Bellido FJ, Serrano P, et al. Acute urticaria after ingestion of asparagus. Allergy 1998;53(6):622-623. View abstract.
Gearhart HL, Pierce SK, Payne-Bose D. Volatile organic components in human urine after ingestion of asparagus. Clin Chem 1977;23(10):1941. View abstract.
Hausen BM, Wolf C. 1,2,3-Trithiane-5-carboxylic acid, a first contact allergen from Asparagus officinalis (Liliaceae). Am J Contact Dermat 1996;7(1):41-46. View abstract.
Hoffenberg L. A note on polymorphism: the ability to smell urinary metabolites of asparagus. Diastema 1983;11:37-38. View abstract.
Huang J, Sun Y, Lu S. [Experimental study on apoptosis induced by ursolic acid isolated from asparagus in HL-60 cells]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 1999;19(5):296-298. View abstract.
Koo HN, Jeong HJ, Choi JY, et al. Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced apoptosis by Asparagus cochinchinensis in Hep G2 cells. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73(1-2):137-143. View abstract.
Lison M, Blondheim SH, Melmed RN. A polymorphism of the ability to smell urinary metabolites of asparagus. Br Med J 1980;281(6256):1676-1678. View abstract.
Lopez-Rubio A, Rodriguez J, Crespo JF, et al. Occupational asthma caused by exposure to asparagus: detection of allergens by immunoblotting. Allergy 1998;53(12):1216-1220. View abstract.
Mitchell SC, Waring RH, Land D, et al. Odorous urine following asparagus ingestion in man. Experientia 1987;43(4):382-383. View abstract.
Mitchell SC. Asparagus and malodorous urine. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1989;27(5):641-642. View abstract.
Mitchell, S. C. Food idiosyncrasies: beetroot and asparagus. Drug Metab Dispos. 2001;29(4 Pt 2):539-543. View abstract.
Oketch-Rabah, H. A., Dossaji, S. F., Christensen, S. B., Frydenvang, K., Lemmich, E., Cornett, C., Olsen, C. E., Chen, M., Kharazmi, A., and Theander, T. Antiprotozoal compounds from Asparagus africanus. J Nat.Prod. 1997;60(10):1017-1022. View abstract.
Paterson DL, King MA, Boyle RS, et al. Severe botulism after eating home-preserved asparagus. Med J Aust 1992;157(4):269-270. View abstract.
Richer C, Decker N, Belin J, et al. Odorous urine in man after asparagus. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1989;27(5):640-641. View abstract.
Rieker J, Ruzicka T, Neumann NJ, et al. [Type I and type IV sensitization to Asparagus officinalis]. Hautarzt 2004;55(4):397-398. View abstract.
Sanchez MC, Hernandez M, Morena V, et al. Immunologic contact urticaria caused by asparagus. Contact Dermatitis 1997;37(4):181-182. View abstract.
Sati OP, Pant G, Nohara T, et al. Cytotoxic saponins from Asparagus and Agave. Pharmazie 1985;40(8):586. View abstract.
Shao Y, Chin CK, Ho CT, et al. Anti-tumor activity of the crude saponins obtained from asparagus. Cancer Lett 1996;104(1):31-36. View abstract.
Shao Y, Poobrasert O, Kennelly EJ, et al. Steroidal saponins from Asparagus officinalis and their cytotoxic activity. Planta Med 1997;63(3):258-262. View abstract.
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. View abstract.
Tabar AI, Alvarez MJ, Celay E, et al. [Allergy to asparagus]. An Sist Sanit Navar 2003;26 Suppl 2:17-23. View abstract.
Waring RH, Mitchell SC, Fenwick GR. The chemical nature of the urinary odour produced by man after asparagus ingestion. Xenobiotica 1987;17(11):1363-1371. View abstract.
White RH. Occurrence of S-methyl thioesters in urines of humans after they have eaten asparagus. Science 1975;189(4205):810-811. View abstract.
Wiboonpun N, Phuwapraisirisan P, Tip-pyang S. Identification of antioxidant compound from Asparagus racemosus. Phytother Res 2004;18(9):771-773. View abstract.
Wortler K, Beerwerth W, Peters PE. [Chronic recurrent ileus. Recurrent mechanical ileus of the small intestine caused by a high fiber diet (canned asparagus)]. Radiologe 1997;37(1):95-97. View abstract.
Yang CX, Huang SS, Yang XP, et al. Nor-lignans and steroidal saponins from Asparagus gobicus. Planta Med 2004;70(5):446-451. View abstract.
Amaro-Lopez MA, Zurera-Cosano G, Moreno-Rojas R. Trends and nutritional significance of mineral content in fresh white asparagus spears. Int J Food Sci Nutr 1998;49:353-63. View abstract.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
Huang X, Kong L. Steroidal saponins from roots of Asparagus officinalis. Steroids 2006;71:171-6. View abstract.
Jang DS, Cuendet M, Fong HH, et al. Constituents of Asparagus officinalis evaluated for inhibitory activity against cyclooxygenase-2. J Agric Food Chem 2004;52:2218-22. View abstract.
Makris DP, Rossiter JT. Domestic processing of onion bulbs (Allium cepa) and asparagus spears (Asparagus officinalis): effect on flavonol content and antioxidant status. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:3216-22. View abstract.
Rademaker M, Yung A. Contact dermatitis to Asparagus officinalis. Australas J Dermatol 2000;41:262-3. View abstract.
Rieker J, Ruzicka T, Neumann NJ, Homey B. Protein contact dermatitis to asparagus. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004;113:354-5. View abstract.
Rodriguez R, Jaramillo S, Rodriguez G, et al. Antioxidant activity of ethanolic extracts from several asparagus cultivars. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:5212-7. View abstract.
Sun T, Tang J, Powers JR. Effect of pectolytic enzyme preparations on the phenolic composition and antioxidant activity of asparagus juice. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:42-8. View abstract.
Tabar AI, Alvarez-Puebla MJ, Gomez B, et al. Diversity of asparagus allergy: clinical and immunological features. Clin Exp Allergy 2004;34:131-6. View abstract.
Tyler VE, Brady LR, Robbers JB. Pharmacognosy. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Fibiger, 1981.
Volz T, Berner D, Weigert C, et al. Fixed food eruption caused by asparagus. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005;116:1390-2. View abstract.