Asparagus root has been used since ancient times as a diuretic to help increase urine flow and to help support urinary tract health concerns through irrigation therapy. It is also thought to be effective in avoiding the formation of kidney stones.
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis L.
Other Names: Asperge (French); Spargel (German); asparago (Italian); esparrago (Spanish).
Description: A perennial herb (up to 1 m high), with wispy, leafless, green stems and minute white or yellowish flowers. The small green berries turn bright red when they ripen. Young stems are white (when grown underground) or green (above ground) and are a popular vegetable.
Origin: Europe, Asia and North Africa. The plant is cultivated in many temperate regions of the world.
Parts Used: Dried rhizomes, known as asparagus root (Asparagi radix).
Therapeutic Category: Diuretic.
Active Ingredients: Asparagus rhizomes and roots contain numerous steroidal saponins (derivatives of sarsasapogenin and diosgenin), together with flavonolglycosides (rutin and others) and unusual sugars (inulin-like fructans). The shoots contain high levels of the amino acid asparagine, together with tyrosine, arginine and a methylsulfonium derivative of methionme. Ingestion of asparagus leads to a characteristic strong odour in the urine of some people due to metabolic transformation of S-methyl-3- (methylthio) thiopropionate to methylmercaptane.
Health Effects: The roots and rhizomes of asparagus have a distinct diuretic effect that has been confirmed in animal experiments. Asparagine is thought to be at least pardy responsible for this effect.
Notes: The tuberous root of Asparagus racemosus is an important traditional supportive in Ayurveda. It is known as shatavari in Sanskrit and can be used as a coolant, aphrodisiac, nervine tonic, antispasmodic and for several other health purposes. Also used are rhizomes of A. falcatus and A. ascendens.
Status: Traditional health; Pharm.; Comm. E+ (rhizomes).
Preparation and Dosage: The dried rhizome is taken in the form of a hot water infusion. A daily dose of 45 - 60 g of the rhizome (or equivalent preparations) is recommended by the German Commission E. It is important to drink sufficient fluids while under use. Although the stems are generally accepted to also have a diuretic effect, their efficacy is not considered to be adequately documented.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].
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