Asparagus racemosus Willd.

Last updated: 01 Oct 2015

Scientific Name

Asparagus racemosus Willd. 


Asparagopsis abyssinica Kunth, Asparagopsis acerosa Kunth, Asparagopsis brownei Kunth, Asparagopsis decaisnei Kunth, Asparagopsis floribunda Kunth [Illegitimate], Asparagopsis hohenackeri Kunth, Asparagopsis javanica Kunth, Asparagopsis retrofracta Schweinf. ex Baker, Asparagopsis sarmentosa Dalzell & A.Gibson [Illegitimate], Asparagopsis subquadrangularis Kunth, Asparagus acerosus Roxb. [Illegitimate], Asparagus dubius Decne., Asparagus fasciculatus R.Br. [Illegitimate], Asparagus jacquemontii Baker, Asparagus penduliflorus Zipp. ex Span., Asparagus petitianus A.Rich., Asparagus stachyoides Spreng. ex Baker, Asparagus tetragonus Bresler, Asparagus zeylanicus (Baker) Hook.f., Protasparagus acerosus (Kunth) Kamble, Protasparagus jacquemontii (Baker) Kamble, Protasparagus racemosus (Willd.) Oberm., Protasparagus zeylanicus (Hook.f.) Kamble [1]

Vernacular Name

English Asparagus fern, native asparagus, wild asparagus, wild carrot [2], asparagus [3]
Malaysia Asparagus [3]
China Chang ci tian men dong [2]
India Acchadi gaade, ammaikodi, bahusuta, bhhya, challagadda, catamulam, devnadni, dvipashatru, halavumakkala thayi gida, jayibem, madhura, mirutam, matacaranai, naaraayani, nagdore, nirunti, nittam, painajaperi, paranai, pichara, piritivu, sandavari, satabri, sataron, satavali, sedavari, tannir mitten, kizhangu, tucuppu, varivari, varunamuni, vishvasya, visva [3], shatavari [3]
Indonesia Songga langit [3]
Thailand Chadiu, chandiu, samsit [3]
Nepal Ban kurilo, kopi, kurilo, pujutoro [2]
Tibet Chitawar, ne u sin, nye-shing, satmuli, shatawari [2]
Congo Minimanva, otende [2]
Tanzania Ling’oto [2].

Geographical Distributions

Asparagus racemosus is common throughout Sri Lanka, India and the Himalayas. It grows one to two metres tall and prefers to take root in gravelly, rocky soils high up in piedmont plains, at 1 300-1 400 m elevation. Its habitat is also common at low altitudes in shade and in tropical climates throughout Asia, Australia and Africa. Out of several species of Asparagus grown in India, A. racemosus is most commonly used in indigenous medicine. [4]

Botanical Description

A. racemosus falls under the family of Liliaceae. It is a woody climber growing up to 1-2 m in height. [5]

This plant is a thorny, climbing shrub with woody stems. [5]

The leaves are reduced to minute scales and spines. [5]

The fruits are globular, purplish black. [5]

The roots are succulent and tuberous which are tapering at both end. [5]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

A. racemosus has been reported to contain steroidal saponins, oligospirostanoside, polycyclic alkaloid-Aspagamine, isoflavones-8-methoxy-5,6,4-trihydroxy isoflavone-7-0-β-D-glucopyranoside, cyclic hydrocarbon-racemosol, dihydrophenantherene, racemofuran, polysaccharides, mucilage, glycosides of quercitin, rutin and hyperoside, sterols, sitosterol, 4,6-dihydryxy-2-O(-2-hydroxy isobutyl) benzaldehyde, undecanyl cetanoate, manganese, copper, cobalt, calcium, magnesium, potassium zinc and selenium. Other miscellaneous compound includes essential fatty acids, vitamin A, diosgenin, quercetin 3-glucourbnides. [6]

Plant Part Used

Roots (tuber) and leaves [1][2][5]

Note: Bark is poisonous

Because of its numerous uses and the increasing demand of those uses, A. racemosus has recently been classified as endangered. Conservation of A. racemosus is a growing concern. [4]

Traditional Use

Most typically, the root of the A. racemosus, or Shatavari, plant is the part considered of greater value in Ayurvedic medicine. Shatavari translated literally means “She who possesses 100 husbands”. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, A. racemosus is primarily used to rejuvenate the female reproductive organs. It can be used to minimize severity of menstruation as well help decrease inflammation in the reproductive organs of women. Though the usage is found most helpful for women, it also can be used, to some degree to do the same for the male reproductive system. Because of its natural diuretic properties, A. racemosus can also be used to protect the body from bladder and intestinal infections. [1][3][4][10]

A. racemosus balances the Pitta dosha and contains the Madhura (sweet) and Tikta (bitter) attributes. These properties are thought to give A. racemosus a cooling effect on the body. Other noted uses in Ayurveda include being used as an antioxidant, an antitussive as well as an immunostimulant. A. racemosus also can be used for hyperacidity, dehydration, cough and chronic fevers [2].

A. racemosus has been shown to assist in healing peptic ulcers, as mentioned in ancient Indian texts. Other than that, A. racemosus also considered in Ayurveda to improve the vision (chakshushya). [1][6]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

The roots of A. racemosus were air dried and extracted with methanol for test solution preparation. The extract of A. racemosus was diluted into three different concentrations, in sterile dimethyl formamide (DMF): 50, 100, 150 µg/mL. The solutions were tested on Gram-negative organism: Escherichia coli, Shigella dysenteriae, Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneri, Vibrio cholera, Salmonella typhii, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas putida and Gram-positive organism: Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. The antimicrobial activities of A. racemosus were determined by the disk diffusion method. A. racemosus extract at concentration of 100 µg/mL, inhibit the growth of all bacteria, except for Pseudomonas putida 302. While at concentration of 50 µg/mL, all microorganisms showed inhibition except for Escherichia coli 3P, Vibrio cholerae 1023, Salmonella typhimurium NCTC 74 and Pseudomonas putida 302. [7]

Diuretic study

In a diuretic study, Wistar rats (uni-sex) were used and divided into five groups namely: control (normal saline 5 ml), standard (furosemide 25 mg/kg), 800 mg dose, 1600 mg and 3200 mg. The urine output of the rats at 24 hours was collected and measured. The rats showed a diuretic response when rats were treated with a 3200 mg/kg of extract compared to a furosemide with significant (p<0.05) increase in the excretion of potassium, phosphate and chloride. [8]

Antidepressant activity

Methanolic extract roots of A. racemosus were being administered in rats at doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg daily for 7 days and then being subjected to forced swim test (FST) and learned helplessness test (LH). The result of the study shows that, the rats administering methanol A. racemosus decreases immobility in FST and increases avoidance response in LH indicating antidepressant activity. [9]

Antioxidant activity

Roots of A. racemosus were extracted and DPPH assay was carried out to assess the antioxidant activity. The absorbance of the DPPH solution in methanol was measured at 515 nm. The percentage of DPPH remaining of the various fractions of A. racemosus extracts at a fixed concentration of 500 µg/ml significantly exhibit the highest antioxidant activity compared to the other fractions. [11]

Apoptotic activity

The subconfluent monolayer of H460 cells were being pre-treated with various concentrations of AR1-4 (100, 500 and 1000 µg/ml) for 1h and the untreated cells were used as a control. Apoptosis of the H460 cell was determined by the Hoechst 33342 assay. The results of the Hoechst assay showed that, treatment of H460 cells with Lipofectamine caused extensive apoptosis compared to the control. However, pre-treatment of the cells with AR1-4, Lipofectamine-induced apoptosis was significantly decreased with increasing concentration of AR1-4. The protective effect of AR1-4 against lipofectamine-induced apoptosis in this study can probably be attributed to the reduction in oxidative stress-induced toxicity imposed by its antioxidant activity. [11]


Acute toxicity

Aqueous extract of A. racemosus roots at concentration of 2000 mg, 4000 mg, 8000 mg, 16000 mg and 32000 mg were given orally to Wistar rats accordingly to each group and normal saline (5 ml) were given orally to the control group. After administration, the rats were observed continuously for the first 2 hours for neurobehavioural alterations and intermittently for 24 hours to find out neurological changes, autonomic responses and mortality. The toxicity study shows no behavioural, autonomic or central nervous system changes and no death occurred for any dose. [8]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

Evaluation of the galactogogue action of the roots of A. racemosus during clinical trial on lactating mothers having symptoms of deficient lactation exhibits significant galactogogue activity in comparison with the control group without any significant acute toxicity effect. [10] The mean prolactin hormone level of the subject showed a percentage increase of 32.87 ± 6.48 through the study period in research group. While in the control group showed a percentage increase of only 9.56 ± 4.57 in the mean prolactin hormone level during the same period. [10]


No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Methanolic extract of A. racemosus roots, 100 mg/kg per day for 60 days, showed teratological disorders in terms of increase resorption of fetuses, gross malformation e.g. swelling in legs and intrauterine growth retardation with a small placenta size in Charles foster rats. Dams exposed to A. racemosus during gestation showed a higher rate of resorption and therefore smaller litter size. The pups showed decrease in body weight and length, and delay in developments compared to the control group. Therefore, A. racemosus should be used cautiously during pregnancy. [6]

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Asparagus racemosus Willd. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Oct 01]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume I A-C. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC, 2000; p. 448-449
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 89
  4. Freeman R. Liliaceae - famine foods. Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University: Centre for New Crops and Plant Products; 2009.
  5. Database of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Rajasthan. Asparagus racemosus. [homepage on the Internet]. c2015. [cited 2015 Nov 23]. Available from:
  6. Alok S, Jain SK, Verma A, Kumar M, Mahor A, Sabharwal M. Plant pofile, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): A review. Asian Pac J Trop. 2013;3(3):242-251.
  7. Mandal SC, Nandy A, Pal M, Saha BP. Evaluation of antibacterial activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. root. Phytother Res. 2000;14(2):118-119.
  8. Kumar MS, Udupa AL, Sammodavardhana K, Rathnakar UP, Shvetha U, Kodancha GP. Acute toxicity and diuretic studies of the roots of Asparagus racemosus willd in rats. W Indian Med J. 2010;59(1):3-5.
  9. Singh GK, Garabadu D, Muruganandam AV, Joshi VK, Krishnamurthy S. Antidepressant activity of Asparagus racemosus in rodent models. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009;91(3):283-290.
  10. Gupta M, Shaw BP. A double-blind randomized clinical trial for evaluation of galactogogue activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. Iran J Pharm Res. 2010;10(1):167-172.
  11. Kongkaneramit L, Witoonsaridsilp W, Peungvicha P, Ingkaninan K, Waranuch N, Sarisuta N. Antioxidant activity and antiapoptotic effect of Asparagus racemosus root extracts in human lung epithelial H460 cells. Exp Ther Med. 2011;2(1):143-148.