Sunday, November 14, 2010

ASPARAGUS

Asparagus, perennial garden vegetable (Asparagus officinalis) of the family Liliaceae (lily lily, common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions. Most species are perennial herbs characterized by bulbs (or other forms of enlarged underground stem) from which grow erect clusters of narrow, grasslike leaves or leafy stems. A few are woody and some are small trees. family), native to the E Mediterranean area and now naturalized over much of the world. As in the other species of this Old World genus of succulent plants, the stems are green and function as leaves, while the leaves themselves are reduced to small scales. The tender shoots of asparagus are cut and eaten in the spring. It grows wild in the salt marshes of Europe and Asia, where it has also been under cultivation from antiquity. In early times it was regarded as a panacea. Cato in his On Farming gave directions for growing asparagus similar to those in a modern manual of agriculture. The San Joaquin valley is the main asparagus-growing area of the United States; over half the crop is processed, i.e., canned or frozen. The feathery sprays of the mature garden asparagus are sometimes used by florists, but more popular for decorative purposes are other plants of the same genus-the asparagus fern (A. plumosus, not a true fern) and the florists' smilax (A. asparagoides), both climbing vines native to S Africa. The wild smilax, usually called greenbrier, belongs to the genus Smilax. Asparagus is classified in the division Magnoliophyta Magnoliophyta , division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms,class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.
 Asparagus Officinalis Extract INCI Name Asparagus Officinalis Extract Asparagus Officinalis Root Extract CAS 84649-90-1 EINECS ELINCS No 283-471-7 aqueous extracts of asparagus photo picture image

 Stems - Up to 6 feet tall, herbaceous, erect, much branched, glabrous, from rhizomes. Branches thin and drooping.To 2m tall, herbaceous, erect, much branched, glabrous, from rhizomes, green. Branches thin and drooping.

 Leaves - Fernlike (actually branches functioning as leaves). They appear somewhat like pine needles. Alternate and reduced to scales on main stem, glabrous. Leaves of upper branches linear, to 2.5cm long, .5mm broad, in groups of 1-5 per node, glabrous, appearing as if in fascicles like pine needles.

 Flowers - Seldom noticed; whitish-green; stamens 6; anthers orange; appear from May - June.Perianth segments(tepals) whitish-green, to 6.5mm long, 1.5mm broad, with subscarious margins, rounded to obtuse at apex, glabrous. Stamens 6, adnate at base of perianth segments, included. Filaments to 3mm long, glabrous. Anthers orange, 1.6mm long. Style 1.1mm long, glabrous. Stigmas 3. Ovary superior, 1.8mm long, green, 3-locular. Berries to 1cm in diameter, red, glabrous, with 3-6 seeds.

 Inflorescence - Single or paired flowers from leaf axils. Pedicels jointed, to +1cm long, glabrous.

 Habitat: Pastures, fencerows, old cultivated fields, disturbed sites, open woods, roadsides, railroads. Escaped from cultivation. Native to Europe.

 Asparagus root consists of the rhizome of Asparagus officinalis L. [Fam. Liliaceae], as well as its preparations in effective dosage. The rhizome contains saponins.

 Asparagus Root is also known by the names Sparrowgrass, Tien Men Tong, and Shatavari. Asparagus is a perennial plant with short, horizontal rootstock having long, thick roots and sending up the young shoots that we eat as vegetables. The parts of this plant used medicinally are the root, shoots, and seeds. The word Asparagus is from the Persian "asparag", referring to tender shoots that can be consumed. Due to its phallic shape, it has long been regarded as an aphrodisiac. The Ayurvedic name, Shatavari, means "she who has one hundred husbands". Asparagus Root has been used to help one develop peace of mind, a loving nature, a good memory, and a calm spirit. Asparagus is a highly regarded herb worldwide. Chinese pharmacists save the best roots of this plant for their families and friends in the belief that it will increase feelings of compassion and love. In India, Asparagus is used to promote fertility, reduce menstrual cramping, and increase milk production in nursing mothers. In the Western world, it has been touted as an aphrodisiac. These customs and beliefs are not mere superstition - the root contains compounds called steroidal glycosides (asparagoside) that directly affect hormone production and may very well influence emotions. Asparagus is also high in folic acid, which is essential for production of new red blood cells. Other primary chemical constituents of Asparagus include essential oil, asparagine, arginine, tyrosine, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercitin, rutin), resin, and tannin. Asparagus acts to increase cellular activity in the kidneys and thus increases the rate of urine production. This herb also encourages evacuation of the bowels by increasing fecal bulk with undigested fiber. 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.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. It is also a nourishing, blood-building tonic that enhances the health of both male and female reproductive organs. In India, the racemosa species is used to increase sperm count and nourish the ovum. Known topical applications have included use as a poultice and compress for muscle spasms and stiff joints. This herb also has culinary applications - the young shoots are eaten raw or cooked in salads and omelets; the root and shoots are added to soups; the seeds can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The common name Asparagus also includes the species Asparagus racemosus and Asparagus cochinchinensis, which are often used interchangeably with Asparagus officinalis.
 Asparagus Officinalis Extract INCI Name Asparagus Officinalis Extract Asparagus Officinalis Root Extract CAS 84649-90-1 EINECS ELINCS No 283-471-7 aqueous extracts of asparagus photo picture image

 Physical Characteristics:

 Perennial growing to 1.5m by 0.75m.

 It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant not is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

 The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

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