Traditional uses and benefits of Chinese asparagus

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Chinese asparagus Quick Facts
Name: Chinese asparagus
Scientific Name: Asparagus cochinchinensis
Origin Southern part of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and other provinces to the eastern, central and southern parts of Southwest China. Chinese asparagus is also found in Korea, Japan, Laos, and Vietnam
Colors Whitish, ripening to red
Shapes Globose berry, 5–6 mm in diameter
Taste Sweet, bitter
Health benefits Support for fever, cough, hemoptysis, diabetes, constipation, swollen, throat pain, impotence and cancer
Asparagus cochinchinense commonly known as Chinese asparagus is a species in the genus Asparagus which consists of between 217 and 242 species and belongs to the family of the Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family). No subspecies are listed in the Catalogue of Life. The plant is native to southern part of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and other provinces to the eastern, central and southern parts of Southwest China. Chinese asparagus is also found in Korea, Japan, Laos, and Vietnam. Few of the popular common names of the plants are Chinese Asparagus, Cochinchinese Asparagus, Shiny Asparagus and Wild Asparagus. The plant is often gathered from the wild for use in traditional medicine, and the roots are sometimes used locally for food. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

The root of A. cochinchinensis has been used as a traditional medicine in those countries for thousands of years, and it is considered a therapeutic drug owing to its anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antiseptic, antitussive, antibacterial, nervine, sialogoue, antipyretic, and stomachic effects, although there is a lack of scientific evidence of these effects. Moreover, it is commonly used in combination with other herbs to treat the lungs, spleen, immune system and aging.

Chinese Asparagus Facts

Name Chinese asparagus
Scientific Name Asparagus cochinchinensis
Native Southern part of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and other provinces to the eastern, central and southern parts of Southwest China. Chinese asparagus is also found in Korea, Japan, Laos, and Vietnam
Common Names Chinese Asparagus, Cochinchinese Asparagus, Shiny Asparagus, Wild Asparagus
Name in Other Languages Chinese: Tian Men Dong (天门冬 ), Tian men dong (天門冬 )
English: Chinese Asparagus, Cochinchinese Asparagus, Shiny Asparagus, Wild Asparagus
Japanese : Kusa Sugi Kazura (クサスギカズラ), Nangoku Kusa Sugi Kazura, Tachi-Tenmondo,      Nangoku kusa sugi kazura (ナンゴククサスギカズラ), Temmondou (テッモンドウ)
Khmer : Tumpèang
Korean : Cheun Mun Dong (천문동)
Portuguese: Espargo De Jardim
Russian : Sparzha Blestiashchaia (Спаржа блестящая)
Swedish: Kinesisk sparris,
Taiwan : Tian Men Dong, Chōnmuntong
Vietnam : Thiên Môn Ðông, Thiên Môn, Tút Thiên Nam, Tóc Tiên Leo, Dây Tóc Tiên, Mè Nằm, Nằm Săm, Co Sin Sương, Sùa Sú Tùng, Dù Mào siam
Plant Growth Habit Evergreen or deciduous perennials or subshrubs, sometimes herbaceous climbing plant
Growing Climates Thinly forested slopes, roadsides and waste fields from near sea level. It is also found near seashores all over Japan
Soil Full sun on deep, well drained, fertile, loamy soil but is partially shade tolerant and drought tolerant and can grow in dry, sandy soils
Plant Size 2.5 m long
Root Tuberous root is spindle-shaped and expanded in the middle or near the end. The enlarged part is 3-5 cm long and 1-2 cm thick
Stem Smooth, often curved or twisted, up to 1-2 m long, branches angulate or narrowly winged
Leaf Leafy branches are usually in clusters of 3, flattened or slightly sharp triangulates due to midrib keel, slightly sickle-shaped, 0.5-8 cm long, ca. 1-2 mm wide; Scaly leaves on stems extend at base into stiff spines 2.5-3.5 mm long, with shorter or inconspicuous spines on branches
Flowering season May to June
Flower Bisexual, yellowish-white, 6–7 mm long, 1–3, arising
from axils of cladodes; pedicels 7–8 mm long, jointed in the middle or above; male and female flowers separate with perianth in six segments; stamens six, fi laments arising from base of perianth
segments, anthers versatile and the ovary is oblong.
Fruit Shape & Size Globose berry, 5–6 mm in diameter
Fruit Color Initially whitish, ripening to red
Seed Seed one, small and black
Propagation By sowing and division propagation
Taste Sweet, bitter
Plant Parts Used Root, tuber
Season August to October
Other Facts
  • In China, the plant is used as biological pest control against maggots and mosquito larvae.
Precautions
  • It not recommended using if suffering from diarrhea, cold and dampness.
  • Avoid use in case of cough due to cold.

Plant Description

Chinese asparagus is an evergreen or deciduous perennials or subshrubs, sometimes herbaceous climbing plant that normally grows about 2.5 m tall. The plant is found growing in thinly forested slopes, roadsides and waste fields from near sea level. It is also found near seashores all over Japan. The plant grows well in full sun on deep, well drained, fertile, loamy soil but is partially shade tolerant and drought tolerant and can grow in dry, sandy soils. Tuberous root is spindle-shaped and expanded in the middle or near the end. The enlarged part is 3-5 cm long and 1-2 cm thick. Stems are smooth, often curved or twisted, up to 1-2 m long, branches angulate or narrowly winged.

Leaves

Leafy branches are usually in clusters of 3, flattened or slightly sharp triangulates due to midrib keel, slightly sickle-shaped, 0.5-8 cm long and 1-2 mm wide; Scaly leaves on stems extend at base into stiff spines 2.5-3.5 mm long, with shorter or inconspicuous spines on branches.

Flowers

Chinese asparagus flowers usually in 2 axillary, light green; Pedicels are 2- 6 mm long, joints usually midway, sometimes variate; Male flowers: perianth 2.5-3 mm long; Filaments are not adnate to perianth segments; Female flowers are similar in size to male flowers. The flowering period of Chinese asparagus (Asparagus cochinchinensis) is from May to June, and the fruiting period is from August to October.

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by globose berries, 6-7 mm in diameter with single seed. They are initially whitish, ripening to red.

Different function and purpose of Chinese asparagus

Decoration application

Chinese asparagus can be used as a small pot, and it is suitable for indoor ornamental pot, and it is also a good leaf arrangement for bouquet. Chinese asparagus is commonly used in a thousand barrel basin, placed on a few high frames, green leaves fine and soft hanging down like a waterfall, with a sense of movement. It can also be suspended to appreciate.

The international popular cultivation of Chinese asparagus, branches into upright shape, dense leaflet composition such as foxtail, beautiful. Potted Chinese asparagus is suitable for decorating family rooms or halls, and can also be cut stems and leaves as lining leaves for Flower arrangement.

Medicinal value

Chinese asparagus (Asparagus cochinchinensis) is used medicinally for the treatment of fever, cough, vomiting blood, lung impotence, lung carbuncle, sore throat, thirst, constipation, urination. Root tuber is a common Chinese medicine, which has the effect of moistening dryness, clearing fire and relieving cough.

Traditional uses and benefits of Chinese asparagus

  • The plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years.
  • Root is harvested when the plant is dormant and is dried for medicinal use.
  • Dried root is antibacterial, anti-helminthic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, sialagogue, stomachic, nervous stimulant and tonic.
  • The plant is a traditional Chinese medicine used for treating lung- and spleen-related diseases.
  • Dried root is a tonic with antifebrile, antitussive and diuretic activity.
  • Chinese asparagus is often used for the treatment of fever, cough, hemoptysis, diabetes, constipation, swollen and throat pain.
  • Prolonged usage is recommended for the treatment of impotence.
  • The plant also has a folk history for the treatment of cancer.
  • Chinese asparagus has been traditionally used for the treatment of cancer in Korea and China.
  • It also has anti-inflammatory activity and may have therapeutic potential in a variety of immune-related cutaneous diseases.
  • Chinese asparagus is often decocted with other herbs (Rehmannia glutinosa, Scrophularia ningpoensis, Stemona tuberosa, Trichosanthes kirilowii, Schisandra sinensis, Adenophora verticillata, Angelica sinensis, Panax ginseng and Ophiopogon japonicus) in various medicinal formulations.
  • It is used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including pulmonary diseases, impairment of the body fluid, consumptive ailments such as cough, hematemesis, sore throats and constipation and diabetes mellitus.
  • It is taken internally in the treatment of fevers, debility, sore throats, coughs etc.
  • It is often decocted with other herbs and used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including diabetes mellitus.
  • It is commonly used in restorative recipes together with Rehmannia glutinosa and Codonopsis javanica.
  • The root is harvested when the plant is dormant and is dried for later use.
  • The plant has a folk history for the treatment of cancer, modern research has detected anti-tumor activity and it is now being studied for the treatment of lung cancer.
  • The roots and stems are used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine.

Culinary Uses

  • The fusiform tubers are washed to remove the bitterness and the fibrous core removed, and the tubers are then boiled before being consumed
  • Tubers are also eaten after preserving in sugar as sweet conserves
  • The fruit has also been reported to be edible.
  • Tubers are cooked and consumed, it tastes like asparagus.

References:

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asparagus+cochinchinensis

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/ASPCC

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-274989

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus_cochinchinensis

https://en.hortipedia.com/Asparagus_cochinchinensis

https://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Asparagus+cochinchinensis

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200027560

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/chinese-asparagus

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