The Health Benefits Of Asparagus (Shatavari)


Latin Name:

  • Asparagus officinalis
  • Asparagus racemosus

In India, asparagus is called shatavari in Hindi. It means "one possessing 100 husbands," indicative of the herb's exceptional ability to tackle sexual debility and fertility issues in both sexes.

In Sanskrit, it is called shatmuli, meaning "a plant with 100 roots." It is also called the Queen of Herbs in ayurveda.

Asparagus racemosus is native to India, the Himalayas, and Sri Lanka, while asparagus officinalis is native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa.

Asparagus racemosus (or shatavari) is the species whose finger shaped roots, and to some extent its leaves, are used extensively in ayurvedic medicine, while asparagus officinalis (or asparagus, as the West knows it) is the variety that is cultivated for its edible shoots.

Asparagus is a herb that grows to a height of 1-2 meters and has thin needle like leaves. Its shoots are considered a delicacy.

White asparagus are produced when the shoots that sprout through the soil are covered with earth. This prevents photosynthesis from talking place, resulting in the white color.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the species whose roots are used in Ayurvedawhite asparagus
Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the species whose roots are used in Ayurveda
Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the species whose roots are used in Ayurveda | Source
white asparagus
white asparagus | Source

Research indicates that unlike other vegetables, in which respiration or metabolic activity ceases the moment they are picked, the metabolic activity in asparagus continues for sometime after. This makes it more perishable than the other vegetables, causing it to lose nutrients and become wrinkly and hard.

The metabolic activity can be slowed by wrapping the ends in a damp paper or cloth towel before storing it in the refrigerator. Also, ensure that it is consumed in a day or two after purchase.

Nutrition Facts

  • Asparagus is a low calorie vegetable having just 20 calories per 100 grams. It has almost no fat and is free of cholesterol. The low calorie content makes it a negative calorie vegetable, as more calories are burnt in digesting it than what is gained from consuming it.
  • The dietary fiber is 5.5% DV per 100 grams, which is considered a good level.
  • It has a number of flavonoid antioxidants in appreciable levels like lutein, carotenes, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthins.
  • It contains the very beneficial and unique carbohydrate inulin which has a major health benefits.
  • Asparagus is a rich source of folates (13% DV in 100 grams) which is a very vital nutrient for a growing fetus.
  • It contains all the important B-complex vitamins including niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin ,and thiamine, that are needed in many metabolic and enzymatic processes.
  • Asparagus has rich levels of the antioxidant vitamin A (25% RDA/100 grams) and moderate levels of vitamins C & E.
  • Vitamin K is found in very good quantities (35% RDA/100 grams) which is especially helpful in ensuring brain and bone health, apart from ensuring normal blood clotting.
  • Various minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc are found in fair amounts, while copper and iron are in good amounts.
  • Contains about 4% potassium and almost no sodium which makes it good for those with hypertension.

Asparagus (A. officinalis), raw,
Nutrition value per 100 grams/ORAC value 2150
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
20 Kcal
3.38 g
2.20 g
Total Fat
0.12 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
2.1 g
52 mcg
0.978 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.274 mg
0.091 mg
0.141 mg
0.143 mg
Vitamin C
5.6 mg
Vitamin A
756 IU
Vitamin E
1.13 mg
Vitamin K
41.6 mcg
2 mg
202 mg
24 mg
0.189 mg
1.14 mg
14 mg
0.158 mg
52 mg
2.3 mcg
0.54 mg
Beta Carotene
449 mcg
Alpha Carotene
9 mcg
710 mcg

Health Benefits

The list of health benefits of asparagus is quite long and very impressive. Primarily shatavari is considered a female reproductive tonic in ayurveda, but the many benefits it provides go far beyond this.

According to ayurveda, the root (the most used part of the plant) has the following properties/benefits:

  • Antiseptic
  • Antidiarrheal and antidystentric
  • Diuretic
  • Galactogogue (increases milk output in breastfeeding women)
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Demulcent (soothing pain and inflammations)
  • Nutritive (nourishing)
  • Refrigerant (cooling effect, pitta pacifying effect)
  • Tonic
  • Antitussive (relieves cough)
  • Antioxytocic (prevents stimulation of the uterus muscles)
  • Antioxidant
  • Immunomodulator
  • Adaptogen (metabolism regulator, helping the body to adapt to environment factors easily)

These properties give asparagus a wide range of health benefits.

  • Cancer

The health benefits of asparagus have largely been attributable to the saponins in the roots. Asparagus officinalis has saponins in the shoots as well. Saponins have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Asparagus contains a unique carbohydrate called inulin that does not get digested in the anterior part of the intestine, but travels to the large intestine where it is broken down by the bacteria residing there (the Bifidibacteria and Lactobacilli). These bacteria use inulin as food to thrive and multiply, thereby lowering the risk of colon cancer and allergies, and increasing the absorption of nutrients.

  • Heart Disease

Its anti-inflammatory properties, and also its various B-complex vitamins (especially choline, biotin, and pantothenic acid) play a key role in regulating blood sugar levels and keeping the levels of the amino acid homocysteine low. This reduces the risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, and reducing risk of heart attack and stroke. It also helps regulate blood fat and cholesterol levels.

  • Digestion

Ayurveda uses asparagus/shatavatri in treating a variety of problems related to digestion. The unique carbohydrate inulin, and the dietary fiber (which is a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber), relieves constipation, dyspepsia, ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery, and colic, and improves digestion by increasing the levels of the enzymes amylase and lipase, which digest carbohydrates and fat, respectively.

  • Blood Sugar

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also translate into the lowering of blood sugar levels, with the dietary fiber also pitching in. This especially reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.

Apart from the above, asparagus (or shatavari) is used successfully in treating:

  • gonorrhea
  • piles
  • cough
  • headaches
  • hangovers
  • detoxification of the body
  • swellings
  • water retention
  • arthritis and rheumatism
  • skin diseases
  • PMS issues
  • stress
  • insomnia
  • nervous disorders
  • amenorrhea
  • leukorrhea
  • dysmenorrhea

Asparagus and Urine Odor

Many people report a strong odor in their urine after consuming asparagus, while many others have no such issues. No simple or single explanation has been forthcoming on this by researchers as there are 21 different substances that are believed to cause this odor.

Also, many people do not experience this smell, either due the different ways their bodies metabolize asparagus, or because they are not being able to perceive this odor. Not enough research has been done on the connection between asparagus consumption, urine odor, and its risk to health.

Therefore, it would be safe to assume that, in view of the above facts, to consume or not consume asparagus is a personal choice. Of course, by not consuming it, one is bound to miss out on its various health benefits.

Medicinal Value of Shatavari/Satavar/Shatamull (Asparagus Racemosus)


Asparagus contains purines so those who suffer from gout or kidney stones, or even those who are susceptible to purine-related problems, should avoid or limit their consumption of asparagus as excess of purines can cause excess of uric acid in the body, and lead to health issues in such individuals.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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Comments 23 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

Funny you should write about this today. My husband brought home several pounds of both green and white asparagus..on sale!! So we will be eating it everyday for at least a week. As always informative and well done. Voting up and sharing.

smnj profile image

smnj 3 years ago from India

Excellent article, enjoyed reading it.

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Very interesting soon Asparagus will be harvested in fields, I knew of some of the benefits , I learned more of the benefits fro you as usuall you have a way of informing me much more thanks

torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

rajan jolly, i've always like asparagus. my mother never liked it so i never tried it until they made it at work one day and i found it absolutely amazing and very tasty. i never knew that it would have health benefits such as the ones you have described in your article. thanks. voted up.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I don't know how you keep producing these quality hubs day after day. Excellent job with all the information anyone would need. I do eat this food but still, thank you for some great facts.

Have a great weekend my friend.

Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 3 years ago from Minnesota

Neat hub! I love asparagus when it's steamed with a little olive oil on it.

bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Great hub Rajan. I love asparagus. I didn't know it was so good for you. Thanks for sharing this with us.

LauraVerderber profile image

LauraVerderber 3 years ago from Mobile, AL

Awesome article! Very complete. It makes me want to eat more asparagus!

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Carol - that's a fine coincidence. Thanks for sharing and good to see you.

@ smnj - thanks for reading. Nice seeing you.

@ Devika - Glad you like the info. Thanks for visiting and nice to see you again.

@ Torrilyn - now that you know the benefits and have tasted it as well I hope you make it a part of your dirt. Appreciate your sparing time to read. Always a pleasure seeing you.

@ Bill - thanks for the thumbs up, my friend. Always good to see you and hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

@ Pinkchic - that's the healthiest way to have asparagus. Appreciate the visit. Nice to see you again.

@ Bill - glad to furnish this health information. Good to see you again.

@ Laura - Thanks for the compliments. Appreciate your visit and good to see you.

wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

I do like asparagus. Now I really need to stock up on some. Thanks for this great hub.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I like asparagus just had some yesterday. My Mom and I use to pick it in the field next to our house. Voted up on your hub.

geetbhim profile image

geetbhim 3 years ago from Ludhiana India

Hi Rajan!

I have read a lot about asparagus but have not seen it, your hub is a complete guide about it. Thanks for writing such informative hub.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, Rajan!

This is one food that I would rather eat raw or slightly steamed than from a store-bought can or bottle. Put another way, I like it better when it's crunchy, not squishy. Ha-ha! And, yes, I've made the mistake of eating too far up on the stem and discovered the hard way that I don't like eating wood. Have a wonderful weekend, Rajan. I always enjoy your most informative hubs about health and nutrition.

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting hub. It is great to find out the benefits of one of my favorite veggies asparagus. Passing this on.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ wetnosedogs - thanks.

@moonlake - glad you like asparagus.

@ Sangeeta - thank you.

@ HO - thanks for your input and visit. You too have a great weekend.

@ Rasma - thanks for visiting.

JCielo profile image

JCielo 3 years ago from England

Wonderful hub Rajan. When we lived in Spain, we were able to harvest wild asparagus that grew all around our house in the country. We loved it, especially in tortillas! Voted up, useful and shared.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Good tip on keeping the asparagus from getting hard - I'll try wrapping it up next time I store it. Another great hub - voted up, useful - and sharing.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

I didn't know that asparagus is a diuretic, or that it irritates kidney stones or gout! Your hubs are always so packed full of information and I do love that you have recipes included too. The cold asparagus salad interests me. I love asparagus steamed and I guess I should write a hub with the recipe!

As a child asparagus grew wild along the country road where I lived. My mother also had a few hills of asparagus in her garden. Shortly after I married my husband and I found an even better source of wild asparagus along a different country road fairly close by. Then we planted about 30 hills of asparagus in our huge garden. We always had plenty of asparagus and it was one of my favorite vegetables.

Voted up and useful!

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ John - Thanks for stopping by to read. I appreciate the votes and sharing.

@ Margaret - I'm glad you got info from this hub that could use. Thanks for stopping by and for the votes and sharing.

@ Au fait - wild asparagus is healthier. I do wish you'd write the steamed asparagus recipe hub. It's a great idea. Thanks for stopping by.

Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


This is a very useful hub, and it is well-written and researched. I have always enjoyed eating asparagus, and remember my folks growing it on our farm in Wisconsin when I was a young boy. After eating asparagus, I, too, I have noticed a strong odor of my urine. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Great hub! Very informative! rated up & useful. thanks for sharing!

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Paul - So glad you could relate to the info here. Appreciate the visit and sharing. Thank you.

@ Elias - Thanks for stopping by. 12 months ago

Hi m following a diet plan which includes asparagus but I don't know of it's available in CHANDIGARH or not can u advice any local name for this shall be grateful... Gourave

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    Rajan Singh Jolly (rajan jolly)1,141 Followers
    309 Articles

    Rajan is a major in Botany and Chemistry. Has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years of his career breeding layer & broiler parents.

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