Wild Asparagus Root
Wild Asparagus Root (Tian Men Dong)
Botanical Name: Western – Asparagus acutifolius L. Eastern – A. cochinchinensis, A. racemosus.
Wild asparagus is edible and the root, (aka tian men dong in TCM, and another variety called Shatavari (“She who has a thousand husbands”) is used in Ayurvedic medicine) as a tonic for the lungs, heart, and spirit promoting health, compassion, and love. It is used by both men and women but is especially used by women to aid female disorders including PMS, menopause, and sexual dysfunction. It is often eaten raw. The best quality is considered to be soft, chewy and sweet like a jelly bean.
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Also Known As: Asparagus Tuber, Chinese Asparagus, Lesser Asparagus
Organs/Systems: Lungs, Skin, Reproductive System
Key Actions: Adaptogen, Diuretic, Tonic, Demulcent, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Laxative, Depurative, Relaxant
Medicinal Uses: Dry coughs, dry mouth and throat, insomnia, depression, infertility, menses, dry vagina, constipation, swollen joints, headaches, dry skin, hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms.
Pin Yin: Tian Men Dong
Also Known As: Tian Dong, Red Asparagus Root, Radix Asparagi, Shatavri (A. racemosus)
Meridians: Lung, Kidney, Heart
Key Actions: Tonifies Yin, Clears Lung Heat, Tonifies the Lungs, Moistens and Purifies the Lungs, Calms Shen (Spirit)
Medicinal Uses: Dry cough, edema, asthma, wheezing, insomnia, dry vagina, swollen prostate, kidney disorders, swollen bile ducts, headaches, hangover, arthritis, neurodegenerative disorders, convulsions, generates fluids, moistens skin, impotence, infertility, agitated anxiety, restlessness, poor memory, night sweats, hot flashes, promotes lucid dreaming, supports mediation, Yin Deficiency with Heat signs in the Upper Burner, typically with dry mouth or throat, especially used for wasting and thirsting disorders (such as diabetes and tuberculosis). Treats constipation due to dry Intestines, clears toxins from the lungs and body. Supports immunity by increasing white blood cell count and enhancing humoral immune function.
A member of the Lily and Asparagaceae family, the genus has about 300 varieties. A. cochinchinensis is a climbing perennial herb. Stems are thin with longitudinal grooves. 2-3 leafy branches cluster in leaf axils that are linear and flat. Leaves are reduced to scales and on the main stem often turn into short re-curved spines. 1-3 yellowish white or white flowers cluster at leaf axils. The berry is spherical and red when ripe. Flowering time is in May. Seeds take at least a year or more to go to crop. It can grow to be 3-6 feet tall.
Habitat: It is native to the Mediterranean, but is also found wild in the mountains of China and Korea and growing on the seashores of Japan. It can be cultivated and likes water but not water-logged areas.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Root, Stem
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Slightly Bitter, Cold
Caution: Considered safe, it is not recommended for Damp Spleen Deficiency conditions.
Key Constituents: Asparagine, Steroids, Saponin, Amino acids, Glutathione, Octulose, Oligosaccharides, Mucilage, Vitamin A, C, K, rich in B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9), Potassium, Rutin, Inulin, Chromium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Calcium, Fiber
History/Folklore: Wild asparagus root has a long history as a female rejuvenation tonic, with all generations of women using it. It is considered an excellent reproductive and sex tonic. It is famous for softening skin and preventing the signs of aging, which are important signs of radiant health in the Taoist tradition.
There are over 300 varieties of asparagus. Do not confuse typically store-bought asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) with wild asparagus (A. acutifolius L) or Chinese asparagus (Asparagus cochinchinensis) which are also edible. The Chinese use their species orange-red root as a medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine the variety A. racemosus is also highly prized for treating infertility, coughs, promoting breast milk, and supporting immunity. Its root is beige in color and is commonly called Shatavari. The Chinese variety is more expensive than the Ayurvedic variety as it is less common. Both the Chinese and Ayurvedic roots contain compounds that are not found in common grocery store asparagus (as nutritious as it is!). Both varieties support fertility, boost the libido, and counter stress and mental agitation.
The Ancient Egyptians cultivated wild asparagus and the name asparagus derives from the Greek and Persian word “asparg” means shoot or sprout.
The varieties of asparagus include white (Grown out of the sun, it is lacking in chlorophyll, and is therefore lower in nutrients.) and purple which is sweeter and is higher in antioxidant properties.
High in nutrient content, wild asparagus supports overall health and brain function. Being 90% water, they are low in calories and help to eliminate toxins. They also contain glutathione, a well-known antioxidant that promotes detoxification. The roots contain phytoestrogens that can be used as a natural substitute for HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
The name aparagus derives from the Greek word for spout.
The Chinese have a saying that “wisdom comes from the lungs.” As a major lung tonic, wild asparagus helps support the lung’s function in transitioning old painful experiences into wisdom. It helps the lungs extract “Heavenly Qi” from the air we breathe, making us stronger, calmer and less depressed.
Taoists used the herb to help them on their path to radiant health and spiritual awareness. Taoists felt the herb balanced the internal functions of the body and if you consumed enough of it over a long time you will feel so light you can fly. They called it the “flying herb.” This idea of flying references the plant’s ability to support spiritual attainments by transcending the body and entering the etheric realms. It also referred to the roots ability to support lucid dreaming and flying in one’s dreams. Wild asparagus root is credited by Taoists to strengthen Shen (Spirit), the Vital Treasure associated with a person’s spirit. It is known for opening the heart, moistening and purifying the lungs, and promoting Kidney Yin.
The Taoists consider Chinese wild asparagus root (aka red wild asparagus) to be the best quality. It is a treasure to Taoists who called it the “flying herb” or “The Divine Spirit Herb.”
A powder ground from wild asparagus root (A. cochinchinensis or A. racemosus) is said to have excellent skin whitening properties helping to brighten and clean the skin. It can be used as a facial mask to moisturize the skin. The roots also help to clear toxins from the system, reducing edema, cellulite, and further supporting skin and lung health.
Studies show the roots also increase peripheral white blood cell count and boost humoral immunity.
The plant is used to aid the expulsion of the placenta in cows and sheep.
In the Meditarrean area the Western variety of wild asparagus can often be found growing in olive-tree groves. The Eastern varieties are often found in mountainous areas of China and Korea, or in Japan by the sea.
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How to use Wild Asparagus Root (Tian Men Dong) and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
Find out how to safely use this powerful herb and get specific recipes you can make use of immediately. Dive deep into Eastern and Western perspectives about HOW and WHY this herb works. Includes uses, benefits, essential oils, gardening tips, and much, much more.
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