Asparagus Extract supplement health benefit, dosage, review, side effects, research studies - Botanical name is Asparagus racemosus herb

Roots of Asparagus racemosus are widely used in Ayurveda as Rasayana to stimulate the immune system, as a galactogogue and as a treatment of medical conditions such as ulcers and cancer. Asparagus racemosus has also been used successfully by some Ayurvedic practitioners for nervous disorders, inflammation, liver diseases and certain infectious diseases. Various studies have indicated immune system enhancement properties of Asparagus racemosus root extracts and formulations. This herb is known in India as Shatavari. A galactogogue is a substance which is used to increase the production of milk in humans and other animals.
    There is some preliminary information that this supplement may help liver health in those who drink heavily or may be helpful as a hangover remedy, but more research is needed.

Over the counter supplements and pills
Asparagus extract supplements are available in various dosages and extract potencies, and different species of asparagus. Here are some examples.

Asparagus officinalis 170 mg Rhizome Extract - Standardized to contain 4% asparagosides
Asparagus officinalis Rhizome Extract standardized to contain 4% asparagosides 170 mg
Asparagus racemosus (root) Shataavari Dried water extract 500 mg
Asparagus racemosus 500 mg standardized extract not less than 30% Sapponins + 350 mg micronised powder (Herb ratio 5:1) = 850 mg

Purchase Asparagus Extract, 60 Capsules

Asparagus extract Supplement Facts:
Serving Size 1 capsule
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) 200 mg
     10 to 1 extract, meaning it is 10 times as potent as regular powder

Recommendations: One asparagus capsule in the morning and lunch or as directed by your health care provider.

Purchase Asparagus extract pills or sign up to a Free natural healing newsletter with the latest information on dietary supplement research

Asparagus officinalis is a flowering plant species in the genus Asparagus from which comes the vegetable known as asparagus. This vegetable  is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.

Asparagus racemosus is a creeper of the plant genus Asparagus. For each plant, many tuberous roots are present. These tuberous roots after proper processing and drying are used as medicine in Ayurveda, with the name of Shatavari.

As you can see, herbal companies provide asparagus supplements from two different species. We are not sure whether the substances in Asparagus officinalis are similar to Asparagus racemosus.

The root of Asparagus racemosus is widely used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India and is known for its steroidal saponin content. The root contains phytosterols, saponins, polyphenols, flavonoids and ascorbic acid. Saponins include shatavarins VI-X, shatavarin I (or asparoside B), shatavarin IV (or asparinin B), shatavarin V, immunoside and schidigerasaponin D5 (or asparanin A).
   Racemoside A, B and C are water-soluble steroidal saponins purified from the fruits of Asparagus racemosus.

Human studies
We could not find any human studies with asparagus officinalis or asparagus racemosus as of July 2009. The long term use of this dietary supplement appears to be safe based on anecdotal information, but until clinical studies are done we won't know for certain.

Benefits of asparagus root extract
Asparagus racemosus is an important medicinal plant in India. Its medicinal value has been reported in the Indian and British Pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Asparagus racemosus is mainly known for its phytoestrogenic properties. The herb is helpful in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and in alcohol abstinence-induced withdrawal symptoms. In Ayurveda, Asparagus racemosus has been described as a rasayana herb and has been used extensively as an adaptogen to increase the non-specific resistance of organisms against a variety of stresses. Besides use in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery, the plant also has potent antioxidant, immune stimulating, anti-dyspepsia and antitussive effects.

Lipophilic phenolics content of asparagus root extract support its use as an antioxidant.

Suppression of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide by Asparagus racemosus root extract using in vitro studies.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2009; Visavadiya NP, Madamwar D. BRD School of Biosciences, Sardar Patel Maidan, Vadtal Road, Satellite Campus, Postbox 39, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India.
Recent clinical and experimental data showed the involvement of reactive oxygen species/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) in many human pathophysiological conditions. Antioxidant activity of the aqueous (ARA) and ethanolic extracts (ARE) of Asparagus racemosus (AR) root were evaluated in a series of in vitro assays including ROS generation in chemicals and biological model systems.  The addition of ARA and ARE root extracts to human serum significantly reduced the formation of lipid peroxidation in medium. Trolox, alpha-tocopherol and mannitol were tested similarly to compare their antioxidant activities. In conclusion, antioxidant activity of ARE as compared to ARA extract is more effective which act as hydrogen donors, metal ion chelators, reducing agents, radical scavengers and anti-lipid peroxidative. These effects are attributed to the high amount of lipophilic phenolics content of ARE root extract.

The roots of Asparagus racemosus are popular for their aphrodisiac and immune enhancing properties. The herb has been traditionally used as Vajikaran Rasayana herb because of its positive influence on sexual performance in humans. Lyophilized aqueous extracts obtained from the roots of Asparagus racemosus were studied for sexual behavior effects in male albino rats and compared with untreated control group animals. Administration of 200 mg/kg body weight of the aqueous extract had pronounced anabolic effect in treated animals as evidenced by weight gains in the body and reproductive organs. There was a significant variation in the sexual behavior of animals as reflected by reduction of mount latency, ejaculation latency, post ejaculatory latency, intromission latency, and an increase of mount frequency. Penile erection (indicated by Penile Erection Index) was also considerably enhanced. The observed effects appear to be attributable to the testosterone-like effects of the extracts. The present results, therefore, support the folklore claim for the usefulness of this herb and provides a scientific basis for its traditional usage. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2009.

Clinical trials in humans will indicate whether his herb is helpful in treating depression.

Antidepressant activity of Asparagus racemosus in rodent models.
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009; Singh GK, Garabadu D, Muruganandam AV, Krishnamurthy S. Pharmacology Division, Department of Pharmaceutics, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.
Asparagus racemosus is an Ayurvedic rasayana used as an adaptogen. Adaptogenic drugs are those which are useful as anti-stress agents by promoting non-specific resistance of the body. Although, the adaptogenic effect of Asparagus racemosus is well documented, its use in psychological disorders like depression is not scientifically evaluated. Hence, the present investigation evaluates the antidepressant effect of methanolic extract of roots of Asparagus racemosus standardized to saponins (62% w/w). Rats were given Asparagus racemosus extract in the doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg daily for 7 days and then subjected to forced swim test and learned helplessness test. The results show that Asparagus extract decreases immobility in FST and increases avoidance response in LH indicating antidepressant activity. In behavioral experiments, Asparagus extract increased the number of head twitches produced by 5-HTP and increased clonidine-induced aggressive behavior indicating facilitatory effect on both serotonergic and adrenergic systems respectively. However, Asparagus extract had insignificant effect on l-DOPA-induced aggressive behavior indicating absence of activity on dopaminergic system. Asparagus extract also reversed changes to the endogenous antioxidant system induced by FST. Thus, Asparagus extract has significant antidepressant activity and this effect is probably mediated through the serotonergic and the noradrenergic systems and augmentation of antioxidant defenses.

This herb may be useful for liver cancer.

The effect of the aqueous extract of the roots of Asparagus racemosus on hepatocarcinogenesis initiated by diethylnitrosamine.
Phytother Res. 2008; Agrawal A, Sharma M, Rai SK, Tiwari M, Chandra R. Dr B. R. Ambedkar Center for Biomedical Research, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.
Histopathological studies of the hepatic tissues of Wistar rats treated with diethylnitrosamine once a week for 2 weeks, followed by treatment with DDT, a tumor promoter for 2 weeks and kept under observation for another 18 weeks, demonstrated the development of malignancy. Pretreatment of Wistar rats with the aqueous extract of the roots of Asparagus racemosus prevented the incidence of hepatocarcinogenesis. Our results prove that the aqueous extract of the roots of Asparagus racemosus has the potential to act as an effective formulation to prevent liver cancer induced by treatment with diethylnitrosamine.

High lipid levels and high cholesterol levels are major risk factors for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.

Asparagus Root Regulates Cholesterol Metabolism and Improves Antioxidant Status in Hypercholesteremic Rats.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007. Visavadiya NP, Narasimhacharya AV. Department of Biosciences, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India,
This study was designed to investigate the cholesterol lowering and antioxidant potential of Asparagus racemosus root in both normo- and hypercholesteremic animals. Normal and hypercholesteremic male albino rats were administered with root powder of Asparagus racemosus (5 and 10 g% dose levels) along with normal and hypercholesteremic diets, respectively, for a duration of 4 weeks. The results of the present study indicate that the potent therapeutic phyto-components present in Asparagus racemosus root i.e. phytosterols, saponins, polyphenols, flavonoids and ascorbic acid, could be responsible for increased bile acid production, elimination of excess cholesterol and elevation of hepatic antioxidant status in hypercholesteremic conditions.

This herb may be helpful to those with gastric ulcer. Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) is recommended in Ayurvedic texts for prevention and treatment of gastric ulcers, dyspepsia and as a galactogogue.

Antisecretory and antiulcer activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. against indomethacin plus phyloric ligation-induced gastric ulcer in rats.
J Herb Pharmacother. 2006: Bhatnagar M, Sisodia SS. Department of Zoology, University College of Science, MLS University, Udaipur, India.
To study the antisecretory and antiulcer activity of Asparagus racemosus (methanolic extract) and its action against indomethacin (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) plus pyloric ligation induced gastric ulcers in rats. Asparagus racemosus was found to be an effective antiulcerogenic agent, whose activity can well be compared with that of ranitidine hydrochloride. The results of this study suggest that Asparagus racemosus causes an inhibitory effect on release of gastric hydrochloric acid and protects gastric mucosal damage.

Antiulcer and antioxidant activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd and Withania somnifera Dunal in rats.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005; Bhatnagar M, Sisodia SS, Bhatnagar R. Department of Zoology, University College of Science, Mohan Lal Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India.
Comparative study of the antiulcer and antisecretory activity of Asparagus racemosus (Shatawari) and Withania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha) root extract with a standard drug, ranitidine, in various models of gastric ulcer in rats is presented. Asparagus racemosus was more effective in reducing gastric ulcer in indomethacin-treated gastric ulcerative rats, whereas W. somnifera was effective in stress-induced gastric ulcer. Results obtained for both herbal drugs were comparable to those of the standard drug ranitidine.

Side effects, caution, risks, use during pregnancy
Asparagus extract should not be used in pregnancy in high dosages. No major side effects have been reported in medical journals.

Teratogenicity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. root, a herbal medicine.
Indian J Exp Biol. 2006; Goel RK, Prabha T, Kumar MM, Dorababu M. Department of Anatomy, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu Univerisity, Varanasi, India.
Methanolic extract of Asparagus racemosus roots (100 mg/kg/day for 60 days) showed teratological disorders in terms of increased resorption of fetuses, gross malformations e.g. swelling in legs and intrauterine growth retardation with a small placental size in Charles Foster rats. Pups born to mother exposed to Asparagus racemosus for full duration of gestation showed evidence of higher rate of resorption and therefore smaller litter size. The live pup showed significant decrease in body weight and length and delay of various developmental parameters when compared to respective control groups. Asparagus racemosus therefore, should be used in pregnancy cautiously as its exposure during that period may cause damage to the offspring.

Personal stories emailed to us
I am a 39 yo male and at New Year's Eve 2009, I took 4 capsules of Advance Physician Formula Asparagus extract at 1 PM, and another 4 capsules around dinner time. I drank at least 5 shots of tequila and 3 vodka cranberries spread out between 8 pm to 1 am. My wife drove me home after the party. I woke up in the morning with no headache and no feeling of a hangover and I was up by 7 am on New Year's day. I know my body, I am pretty sure if I had not taken the Physician Formula supplement pills, I would have had a hangover and headache the next day.