Herb of the Week: Asparagus

Asparagus officinalis, of the Liliacae family, has been recorded as a nutritive food as far back as the ancient Egyptians in 4000 BC. In the 1st Century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides recommended a decoction of the root to improve urine flow & to treat kidney problems, jaundice & sciatica. He also recommended holding the chewed root against aching teeth. This remarkable plant is used much the same today. Although it is not recommended in cases of diarrhea or in lung congestion accompanied with chills, there are many more uses for which it has proven valuable. For instance, traditional Tibetan medicine recommends its use for reviving blood levels & giving strength to the body, while also helping to protect against diabetes, fatigue, impotency, and in increasing semen. The Chinese use this plant to tonify the yin fluids of the kidney & to moisten the lungs, while the famous 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper once wrote that it helps the sinews which have become “shrunk by cramps & convulsions”. Asparagus has also proven to be a mild laxative in addition to being supportive for rheumatic symptoms by helping to hasten the “flushing” of waste products accumulated in the joints out of the body in the urine.