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I've heard several times that asparagus contains arsenic and there is some mention of this on the web as well <spammy link removed>; if this is true, then why no mention in the article? I'm thinking that if it is true then it is a pretty cool tidbit. I've heard that the otherwise toxic arsenic in small amounts is actually good (or necessary) for the human heart. Anyone know any definitive information on this and have references? Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:25, 31 March 2010 (UTC) It is popularly called Subseege in kannada —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 24 March 2011 (UTC)


I've read that asparagus is a diuretic due to its high potassium levels, possibly worthy of a mention? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ClarkMills (talkcontribs) 03:40, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

The plural and singular forms of the word are both asparagus

I see asparagus has its own family. I always thought it was part of the lily family.

Is there any truth to the urban legend (rural legend?) about asparagus being more hardy in salty soil than most other economically useful plants?

Yep - it's native to seashores, so asparagus beds were traditionally 'salted' so that normal weeds could not survive. FlagSteward 01:56, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Is there any particular reason there's nothing at "Asparagus", which simply redirects here? It would seem like it should either be at "Asparagus" or have a Disambiguation page there if there are other things also called "Asparagus".

Botulism mention strongly misleading[edit]

The main article currently says:

The bottom portion of asparagus often contains sand, and as such proper preparation is generally advised in cooking asparagus. A case of botulism borne on asparagus was recorded in Australia in 1991.[9]

This wrongly implies that botulism is associated with asparagus, when in fact it is associated with improper canning. Read about it at Botulism#Prevention if you're interested. The point is, the outbreak in the source material was from improper canning, not from asparagus per se. I'm going to remove the second sentence. (talk) 20:56, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Where is it cultivated?[edit]

I think there should be a concise overviev here regarding the places all over the world where asparagus is grown, just in order to show how popular asparagus is around the world. BTW: Is asparagus also grown in the U.S.?

What? Yes, asparagus is grown (and loved) in Canada and the US.--Flying fish 00:37, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I see no mention of the fact that asparagus is a perennial, which I believe is very rare for vegetables. BrianHFL 01:14, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Not so rare really. A lot of veg are 'grown as' annuals, i.e. sown annually and discarded after the first season for productivity reasons. For example: Tomato 'is a perennial, often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual'. Even gardening books that mention this (I don't mean just with reference to tomatoes) usually give advice limited to growing a perennial 'as an annual'.
Standard procedure in the gardening advice industry is in the first instance to write something based on commercial practice (often in one climate and soil) and sell it under false pretences as advice for home gardeners (often world-wide) without considering the utterly different criteria that apply; then plagiarise, plagiarise, plagiarise. This method is easier for 'authors' and cheaper for publishers.
I grow eggplants for two seasons, sometimes three. My best crop is usually second season. Any perennial, if it is the fruit that is eaten, is likely to give earlier harvesting in second season than first. The gardener's choice in these matters depends on many things such as space available, climate, soil, work involved, etc.-- (talk) 04:48, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Commercial Asparagus plants here (Netherlands, province Limburg, white kind, hilling method) don't even produce anything commercial in the first year. The shoots are too thin, and any produce is fed to cattle. The first years of harvesting is subsidized by the owner, because the plants must be harvested to stimulate the plant. The 2nd year does produce some acceptable shoots, but it is not yer commercially worthwhile, so afaik still subsidized.

Only the 3rd year and later the shoots are thick enough, with the best period times being the 4th..7th years. Depending on the ground, the plants commercial life lasts up to 10-12 years, after which they are replaced, but I've know people growing them in their garden for 20years. Production suffers though, because of pests developing in the ground. Commercially after two, three production runs, the field is rotated and not used for asparagus for at least 20-30 years. (note that this is the traditional way, I don't know if pesticides or new breeds improve this, this is all eighties knowledge)

As far for the original question, afaik it is grown in many places in North Western Europe where the soil is mostly sand. (NL, Belgium, Germany, northern France), and Poland also adopted it. Directly after the fall of the communism, many Poles worked as seasonable workers in the asparagus harvest in the above regions, and they probably took it (larger scale commercial growth) home with them. (talk) 12:20, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Asparagus is a popular spring vegetable here in New Zealand. Local wisdom is to start harvesting after 3 years, and continue for 15-25 years, depending on how the bed is doing. The commercial depreciation time is 6 years, however--commercial operations tend to till up the beds around that time. The very thin and very thick shoots are sold and eaten locally, the "perfect" ones are exported to China, Europe and the USA. M. A. Broussard (talk) 04:00, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Eat with hands?[edit]

I've grown up in Southern California and haven't ever heard of eating asparagus with hands. Am I just uncultured, or is it less common than the article suggests?

I hadn't heard of it either, but I've now learned that it apparently used to be _mandatory_ to eat it with your hands!--Flying fish 00:37, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I - being from Belgium and being an amateur of aspargus - have never seen anyone eat aspargus with their hands. If it is common anywhere it certainly isn't in western europe.. From where does this assumtion come? Fisheke 17:56, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I remember seeing a cookbook from Time Life, where the illustration showed the person taking the aspargus with her hand and dipping in the sauce. Unfortunately I don't have the book with me, anymore. SaintCahier 20:11, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

It's instructive to see the results of both these google searches: There are a lot references to eating with the fingers, but the subject is seemingly a little controversial. SaintCahier 20:23, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm from Spain and also have never heard of eating asparagus with hands, nor ever seen it... It just seems a bit messy.
Well, I from England & I regularly see people eating asparagus with their hands! As stated in the article, it is one of the few things that is socially acceptable to use your hands to eat. Markb 07:28, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Possibly it's not great manners, but asparagus is kind of made to be picked up. Kind of like a chicken leg, it just works. It's better if not cooked too much though. BrianHFL 01:13, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

You may pick up and eat asparagus if it is served in the proper manner. It's part of cultural lore (at least in some socialogical cirlces) that polite diners, even ladies all dressed up in their finery at a well-appointed table, commonly eat asparagus by picking them up from a side plate and dipping the tips in a small, personal bowl of hollandaise, delicately eating the tips (and only the tips, mind you) in a dignified, particular and carfeul manner. On the other hand, I think most most of you are correct: one is not supposed to chase it around the dinner plate, digging one out from underneath the mashed potatoes and roast beef juices to hungrily shove it in his mouth, voraciously gobbling it down while gripping a can of beer in the other hand, making sure to make lip-smacking finger/licking noises like some uncouth American eating greasy fried chicken while wearing his three-day underway and watching 'football' or wrastlun. Good Lord.DocEss 16:54, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
LOL I totally agree! Also the statement is too general as with different cultures there are different customs. 00:21, 7 February 2007 (UTC)KnowledgeSeeker
Strange. I never would eat asparagus with my hands at a fancy dinner, but the latter description much better describes when I might decide to eat asparagus with my fingers.
In my opinion, it just depends on the asparagus. If it's floppy and smothered in hollandaise, I (obviously!) use a fork. On the other hand, I may eat it using my hands if it's very firm and if there is little or no sauce on it.
I find DocEss's description of the "uncouth American" sickeningly accurate. LOL. (talk) 22:08, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

History and grammar... confusion![edit]

From History:

"Asparagus gained popularity in France in England in the 16th Century..."

Ok, so is it "in France and England", or should one of those countries not be there? I am not a vegetable historian so I don't know!  ;)

Rassilon 04:03, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

The last sentence in the Biology section makes no sense "A remarkable adaptation is the edible asparagus, while in the Macaronesian Islands several species, (A. umbellatus, A. scoparius, etc.), are preserved the original form, a leafy vine; in the Mediterranean, the asparagus genus has evolved into thorny species." I would edit it, but I don't know what is trying to be said.

I do (I think) understand what is meant, but it's actually about the evolution of the genus Asparagus, not about the edible asparagus Asparagus officinalis, so I removed it. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:25, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Large stalks[edit]

"Unlike most vegetables, where the smaller and thinner are the more tender, thick asparagus stalks have more tender volume to the proportion of skin."

NO NO NO! Large stalks are like a rope. They have tougher fibers as they get older. This explains the baseball bats people foist on me at the market. Any comment? Dominick (TALK) 14:30, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I've always liked the larger stalks, but they require some different preperation then the realy thin ones. First, the very bottom needs to be snapped off and discarded. Then the remaining stalk, up to just under the tip, should be peeled like a carrot using a vegetable peeler. Finally, there should be enough water in the (vertical) asparagus pot to submerge the bottom 1-2" of the stalks in water. This way the bottom, which needs more cooking, is boiled and the upper section is only steamed. Engrmike (talk) 13:55, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Besides, "more tender volume to the proportion of skin" just don't make no damn sense. Tenderness is not measurable by volume. --funkendub

The larger ones get a lot more fiber. Maybe thats what I mean. Dominick (TALK) 17:00, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm also skeptical, but I have seen it claimed that thicker asparagus stalks are better, for one reason or another. One asparagus trade group even bluntly says "The larger the diameter, the better the quality!", although they aren't quite an unbiased source. --Delirium 05:16, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Dominick is right. The larger the stalk, the tougher it is. The fibers are much more rope-like in thicker stalks. "better" could mean higher in fiber (or fibre), which is probably healthier. When served in "nice" restaurants you'll almost always see small tender shoots. Supposedly the tips are more prized, but I like the whole stalk. BrianHFL 01:18, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Dominik is certainly correct: the larger ones have a woody character that just gets more bitter and spongy as the size increases. Dark green, thin, long ones are the best because they are the most tender and flavouful. So, if you see these in the stuper-market, please leave them for me and you can go eat those giant green trunks of 'celery.' We need to edit this Article to ensure that people know which 'guses are the best 'guses!DocEss 16:59, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I suspect a lot depends on how fresh the asparagus is, maybe the thicker shoots stand up better to a delay between harvest and purchase, hence why some retailers push it. However, I find that when freshly cut from the garden and quickly steamed, the thicker shoots are more tender than the thinner and are more flavoursome. Markb (talk) 14:09, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Does being grown without access to light affect the nutritional value of white asparagus?


The article says that the Romans were freezing asparagus in 200BC. I think an explanation of this may be useful as it seems highly improbable. Was it taken up in the mountains en masse, or was there a freezing device available etc?

I clarified the freezing reference, which was from here. However, it would be good to get the original reference, rather than a modern webpage. -- WormRunner 23:15, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Urine Odour[edit]

Someone had written this: According to Zach Zellmer (a leading resologist in the area) it also makes one's urine smell peculiar. This is believed to be due to the breakdown of the amino acid methionine, which causes the production of the sulphur-containing methylmercaptan. This theory can be viewed along with another at Then, someone else removed it but he shouldn't have - this information is accurate and I can personally attest to it. I've always been fascinated by asparagus's ability to alter the odour.DocEss 17:50, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Ooops - scratch that - it is indeed included in the article but was included twice. Superfluous, I believe too.DocEss 17:53, 22 October 2006 (UTC)DocEss 17:55, 22 October 2006 (UTC)


Here's the relevant paragraph from the reference:

Allison and McWhirter first showed that the ability to produce methyl mercaptan after eating asparagus is not universal. Some people would produce detectable amounts in the urine after eating only three or four spears of asparagus, while others would produce none even after eating as much as one pound (0.45 kg) of asparagus. In their random sample of 115 human subjects, they demonstrated that this ability occurred in about 40% of the population, with an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. In a larger study of 800 volunteers, Mitchell and co-workers verified these findings in both men and women, and from a pedigree analysis of two families, with one spanning three generations, the autosomal dominant mode of inheritance was also confirmed. Interestingly, the BMJ later reported a study in which all the subjects could produce methyl mercaptan, but their ability to smell it in the urine differed. Those who were able to smell the odour in their own urine could smell it in the urine of anyone who had eaten asparagus irrespective of whether or not that person could smell it. The authors suggested that the ability to smell these substances in one's or, indeed, another's urine was also genetically determined.

The summary on the wiki page completely misrepresents this. Two studies, one shows variation in production, a later study says production is universal (if varying) but ability to smell varies. This is not at all the "no correlation" that the article claims.

The references in the article are correct, but the article is wrong. What we know is that there exist a) people who produce methyl mercaptan and can smell it both in their own urine and in other producers' urine, b) people who can produce methyl mercaptan but cannot smell it in their own, or other producers' urine c) people who cannot produce methyl mercaptan, but can detect it in the urine of those who produce it, and d) people who can neither produce methyl mercaptan nor detect it in the urine of people who produce it.

The confusion is because the newspaper article,,1576765,00.html was only about a study of mercaptan producers, which demonstrated that group b) existed. Before, some people denied the existence of groups b) and d) and thought the matter was one of production alone.

Is it best to call this section "Asparagus Pee"? Shouldn't it be something like "Effect on Urine Odor"? --Colinbartlett 11:27, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

It's unfortunate we get only a glimpse in the quote given of the poetic obsession with asparagus that Proust provides in his "Swann's Way". The full quote runs as follows:
"But what delighted me were the asparagus, steeped in ultramarine, and pink, whose tips, delicately, painted, with little strokes of mauve and azure, shade off imperceptibly down to their feet--still soiled though they are from the dirt of their garden bed--with an iridescence that is not of this earth. It seemed to me that these celestial hues revealed the delicious creatures who had merrily metamorphosed themselves into vegetables and who, through the disguise of their firm, edible flesh, disclosed in these early tints of dawn, in these beginnings of rainbows, in this extinction of blue evenings, the precious essence that I recognized again when, all night long following a dinner at which i had eaten them, they played, in farces as crude and poetic as a fairy play by Shakespeare, at changing my chamber pot into a jar of perfume." (translated by Lydia Davis, 123-4). Martinevans123 (talk) 20:32, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I had smelly flatulations after eating asparagus. It smelled just like my urine which I produced a few minutes later. What is the material that makes urine/flatulence smell? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:16, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Persian origin of the word[edit]

Does someone has a good source for the persian origin??: "This term itself derives from the Greek aspharagos or asparagos, and the Greek term originates from the Persian asparag,"? The German standard dictionary for etymology (Kluges et. Wörterbuch) doesnt believe it, see edits in the German WP. Plehn 19:41, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Are The Berries Illustrated Edible?[edit]

This article is very incomplete. The illustration used shows that asparagus makes berries of some sort. The article does not mention them in any way. Basically there is no botanical information on asparagus in this article. Someone needs to fix that. 09:36, 5 February 2007 (UTC)KnowledgeSeeker


Can anyone track down what part of the world asparagus originates from?--Chuckygobyebye 05:32, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Lily family?[edit]

A part of this article says that asparagus are in the lily family, and I would believe it if not for the taxobox at the start that says they are something like asparagacae, not liliaceae. 19:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I was actually confused myself on this untill I saw this on Asparagaceae "Asparagaceae is the botanical name of a family of flowering plants. Such a family has been recognized by quite a few taxonomists, but hardly universally: often the plants involved are treated as belonging to the family Liliaceae" Witch means they are mostlly reconized as being in the lily family. Latulla 03:56, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

I have augmented and slightly revised the entries. I moved the list of Asparagus species to the WP "Asparagus genus" article, made the page-title presentation uniform, added the WP-policy format note to the PDF file, and tacked on a few links. (Full disclosure: I maintain the linked for home-growing information). If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the changes, please post them here.

Eric Walker 21:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Asparagus Hunting?[edit]

Am I the only person in the world who goes hunting for wild asparagus? I live in rural South Dakota, and lots of people around here look for and collect the wild asparagus to eat. Should that be included in the article? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Yipely (talkcontribs).

Great idea! Include it.CApitol3 16:01, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I think that, like everything else on Wikipedia, information should be backed up by a reliable source. It's interesting to read about people collecting wild asparagus, but if you write about your own experiences, that would be original research. Wild asparagus are typically collected everywhere they grow, so I think it would be more appropriate to simply detail the places where they do. —msikma (user, talk) 06:14, 25 June 2007 (UTC)


I inserted the where template to show regional bias in the Culinary section. Wikipedia should reflect a world-wide view. China eats more asparagus than anywhere else, and it's certainly not served with hollandaise in China. That sentence about hollandaise needs a qualifier, and a reference too. ralmin 12:27, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion. When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top. The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes — they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). Thanks again for explaining that tag. I hope that my edits have addressed at least some of your concerns. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, even in Holland sauce Hollandaise is not the common recipe, classically it is boiled with Lovage and wrapped in ham and eaten with boiled eggs. That said, the article can really do with some Chinese input. As such a large grower I assume there must be a considerable Chinese aspargus tradition. (talk) 19:16, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

This article is not neutral enough![edit]

Didn't anyone notice the obvious and blatant biases all throughout this article? Did someone vandalize this article and put their own liberal media thoughts into it or what? Let me know. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:28, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree completely. "Asparagus rhizomes and root is used ethnomedically to treat urinary tract infections, as well as kidney and bladder stones. It is also believed to have aphrodisiac properties"?!? Come on! The Pro-Asparagus Radicals have had their way with this country for far too long, we can't allow the now prevalent Orwellian revision of history happen here in the comparatively free world of Wikipedia. -

Thank you for bringing this to light. I myself have often questioned the original author's integrity while he or she was putting together this article. It reads like an editorial. I think it's pretty despicable, and Wikipedia isn't the place for it. A7x1337 (talk) 07:58, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Agree to all above. It's discouraging, and I would appreciate if I could do research on liliopsida without having somebody's crude opinions shoved down my throat. (talk) 22:43, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

No sources are cited for any of the outlandish asparagus claims. It is obvious that the asparagus submissives have infiltrated deep into the wikipedia staff. At this point it is highly unlikely that any of the silent antagonists to the asparagus supremacy movement will risk speaking out against it. Haven't you noticed that wikipedia is keeping track of our ip addresses? (talk) 01:25, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

We see even further corruption where Wikipedia itself says, and I quote, "This article has been rated as High-importance on the importance scale." What makes this more important than any other article? The Pro-Asparagus radicals have shamefully shoved their slanted views down our throats. (talk) 08:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

What is this world coming to? CHILDREN are being subjected to this nonsense! I am very worried about the future of the world... we must do what we can to prevent more of this.... for the children. (talk) 21:29, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Commercial production[edit]

"The United States' production for 2005 was ... 90,200 tonnes, making it the world's third largest producer, after China (5,906,000 tonnes) and Peru (206,030 tonnes)"

But the graphic claims to show production in 2005 when top producer China's output was also 5,905,000 tonnes. Is this just a coincidence? And there seem to be no producers who even approach 10% of China's output, so that yellow blob code seems a bit redundant.

Sorry to sound like a GCSE question. Any suggestions? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:01, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Asparagus consumption charts?[edit]

Is there any good source for consumption trends for asparagus in the US? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:11, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Asparagus will make life on Mars possible[edit]

I just read on Yahoo that scientists proved that Asparagus can grow on the ground of Mars. That would be an interesting thing to add. Here's the link: Mars could grow Asparagus

                                        --Nino  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:04, 27 June 2008 (UTC) 

Price and gastronomic qualities not Biology[edit]

I want to delete, edit, or move the following passage, currently in the Biology section:

Green asparagus is eaten worldwide, commonly with eggs in China and with beef in Britain. It is not considered a delicacy as it is very cheap and easy to obtain.[5] This does not hold for white asparagus, see below. These are considered a popular but expensive May-June seasonal delicacy in northwest Europe, locally nicknamed "white gold".

However, I don't think removing it is right (for me at least) as it may not be entirely fiction. For instance there may be somewhere in the world that green asparagus is very cheap. Also I'm not sure what happens to the footnote if I just delete. I don't feel able to edit it, as I'm not sure how much should be retained. I'm not happy just moving it, as I'll then feel responsible for damaging the section to which it is moved. --Alkhowarizmi (talk) 15:24, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

the aliens eat it :D —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

The whole business of the prices and gastronomic qualities seems to be skewed.

The claim that white asparagus is the food of kings or the "royal vegetable" is probably well founded as the origin would seem to be bringing the crowns indoors in winter to force them under horse manure (Louis XIV - is there any justification for this claim?) - an expensive process. That the resultant vegetable is "superior" to green asparagus is a doubtful claim. I live in an asparagus growing area in the centre of France and green asparagus commands the same price in the market as white while the local Michelin star restaurant serves green asparagus.

The claim that white asparagus "is less bitter and much more tender" is total nonsense. Our green asparagus is edible direct from the plant. The local white asparagus is so tough and bitter that it has to be peeled and then boiled to death (up to 20 minutes as opposed to 2-3 minutes for green) before serving with about as much flavour and texture as overcooked turnip.

So what is the real difference? It's commercial. White is more labour intensive but white can be cropped longer than green and white is so tough that it can be easily transported whereas green is more delicate and needs to be eaten with in a few hours of picking. On balance white is more commercial. Increasing labour costs and faster, refrigerated transport are shifting the balance for commercial production, but for grow your own - its no contest. TonyTebby (talk) 08:44, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Picture of plant ready to be picked?[edit]

There don't seem to be any pictures of a plant ready to be picked. - (talk) 05:36, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Asparagus isn't picked. Instead the new young tender plant shoots are sheared frequently during harvesting. (You bring up a good point that there is not a mention of harvesting within the article.) If an asparagus plant is allowed to bolt (grow up normally), then you have nothing to harvest. Mature shoots are astringent and bitter. The grown plants in the photos are showing the natural state of the plant when not tended.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 11:44, 15 June 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sergei Gutnikov (talkcontribs)

Asparagus as a remedy for cancer[edit]

Can somebody tell me whether this palnt is also used to cure cancer. That is the roots of the plant when boiled & taken in puree form, everyday with either hot or cold water, the effect of it starts from the 8th week of intake. Does it also helps the patient when he/she is in their last / IIIrd stage. Can anybody explain this matter.

I received this artical several times from many of my different email friends; and it is my contention that nothing ventured, nothing gained as well as the old adage; if it doesn't kill you, it will only make you stronger and better. With that said, here is what I have on the topic:

Asparagus, Who Knew?

My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus that she pureed and she took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3 lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week. Her oncologist said she does not need to see him for 3 months.


Several years ago, I had a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a photocopied copy of an article, entitled, Asparagus for cancer 'printed in Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health for over 50 years. Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project; we have accumulated a number of favorable case histories.

The Six Step Recipes: Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases STEP – 1 Cook the asparagus / canned or fresh cut STEP – 2 Then puree one full-stalk style of canned asparagus or fresh cut STEP – 3 Store in the refrigerator STEP – 4 Take 4 full tablespoons in the morning STEP – 5 Later in the day; take another 4 full tablespoons STEP – 6 Do this everyday for a month or better

Here are a few examples:

Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated! Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.

Case No. 2, A successful businessman 68 years old who suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years! After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he went on asparagus. Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No. 3, A man who had lung cancer! On March 5th 1971, he was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable. The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the Asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it By August, x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared.. He is back at his regular business routine.

Case No. 4, A woman who was troubled for a number of years with skin cancer! She finally developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after starting on asparagus, her skin specialist said that her skin looked fine and no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus.

I was not surprised at this result, as ‘The elements of materia medica’, edited in1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates! We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.

For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using, and therefore canned asparagus is just as good as fresh. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives. Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.

As a bio chemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent’. Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold. For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink.

As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.

Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic.

In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good. It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:39, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Why only young shoots?[edit]

Why are only the young shoots eaten? I've found a source explaining that the berries aren't eaten because they're poisonous, but what about older shoots or ferns? Is it just more efficient to harvest the shoots and grow a new crop, or does the plant become unpleasant tasting, woody, toxic or otherwise undesirable as food as it matures? Could someone with access to an adequate source add an explanation to the article? -- Gordon Ecker (talk) 01:33, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

They become woody with age. Don't have a source for this though. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:55, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Found a reference. Modal Jig (talk) 19:38, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Commercial production[edit]

The Chinese production of 5,906,000 TONS (!) of asparagus seems unlikely compared to 90,000 tons in USA, even for a country with a 4 times larger population. Can you verify that outrageous number?--dunnhaupt (talk) 21:42, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

These are the figures provided. There were two cites listed on the page, and I've updated the stats according to the 2010 figures with another cite. Greenman (talk) 10:50, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Aswan, 20,000BC?[edit]

This is extremely interesting, but unsourced. A quick search only found results for articles borrowing text from this very article. 20,000BC also appears to be before the commonly accepted time of the development of agriculture, although it's possible that asparagus was simply picked in the wild rather than cultivated then. It would be nice to find a source for this claim, otherwise Wikipedia might possibly be popularizing some original research or false claim... (talk) 22:32, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I removed this claim as per WP:RS. It hasn't been sourced since it was first challenged and I agree that it seems highly implausible. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:48, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Medicinal uses[edit]

The section below is entirely either unsourced, poorly-sourced or irrelevant. I am moving it from the article to here until proper sourcing (if any) can be found Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:57, 18 March 2014 (UTC)


The second century physician Galen described asparagus as "cleansing and healing".[citation needed]

Nutrition studies have shown asparagus is a low-calorie source of folate and potassium. Its stalks are high in antioxidants.[citation needed] "Asparagus provides essential nutrients: six spears contain some 135 micrograms (μg) of folate, almost half the adult RDI (recommended daily intake), 20 milligrams of potassium," notes an article in Reader's Digest.[citation needed]

Research suggests folate is key in taming homocysteine, a substance implicated in heart disease. Folate is also critical for pregnant women, since it protects against neural tube defects in babies. Studies have shown that people who have died from Alzheimer's Disease have extremely low to no levels of folate. Several studies indicate getting plenty of potassium may reduce the loss of calcium from the body.

Particularly green asparagus is a good source of vitamin C.[citation needed] Vitamin C helps the body produce and maintain collagen, the major structural protein component of the body's connective tissues.

"Asparagus has long been recognized for its medicinal properties," wrote D. Onstad, author of Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers and Lovers of Natural Foods. "Asparagus contains substances that act as a diuretic, neutralize ammonia that makes us tired, and protect small blood vessels from rupturing. Its fiber content makes it a laxative, too."

Water from cooking asparagus may help clean blemishes on the face if used for washing the face morning and night.[citation needed] From John Heinerman's Heinerman's New Encyclopedia of Fruits and Vegetables: "Cooked asparagus and its watery juices are very good for helping dissolve uric acid (causes gout) deposits in the extremities, as well as inducing urination where such a function may be lacking or only done on an infrequent basis. Asparagus is especially useful in cases of hypertension where the amount of sodium in the blood far exceeds the potassium present. Cooked asparagus also increases bowel evacuations."

South Korean scientists discovered asparagus can help with hangovers. Research to be published in the Journal of Food Science says extracts taken from leaves and shoots were found to boost levels of key enzymes that help break down alcohol.[1]


  1. ^ "Asparagus: an Unlikely Hangover Cure". Yahoo News. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 


There doesn't seem to be much reliable material about asparagus and health. NICE say that avoiding excessive consumption can help prevent gout[!scenariobasis:10] as asparagus is purine-rich (the opposite of what we were saying). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 08:15, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

This reference discusses the folate content of asparagus as well as other foods: I was unable to find a pubmed-indexed review article that discussed this, but if I missed one then we should add it if someone finds it. I should also note that the source states there are 89 micrograms of folate in 4 spears differing from the above claim about how many micrograms there are in six spears though they sound like they would arrive at similar estimates. This source: verifies that asparagus contains potassium though it does not specify how much, but does mention that asparagus is a good source of fiber and specifies the amount. Adding the bit about fiber content could be a good talking point for this section. TylerDurden8823 (talk) 07:00, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Here is a source from the California Department of Public Health that has a list of nutrients present in asparagus (but does not specify how much): TylerDurden8823 (talk) 07:23, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Here's another one from OSU in Ohio. This one specifies the amount of Vitamin K in asparagus and discusses specific notable antioxidants present in asparagus. This one discusses other antioxidants present in asparagus: TylerDurden8823 (talk) 07:29, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Cool! Looks like there's a basis for something in the article then. Not sure where - the current top-level section "Effects on urine" (with sub-section "Chemistry") gives rather odd structure. Perhaps re-cast as a "Biology and health" section or something? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:41, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

China cultural stuff?[edit]

The article says that it's by far the biggest producer but all the cultural/historical centers on Europe... They aren't exporting it all to Europe, are they? It must be a big thing in Chinese cuisine itself that deserves some mention. I, as a German, have never associated Asparagus with Chinese food so it would be realy interesint to have that in the article but I dont't know anything about it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:8108:1CC0:11D4:CDBE:F3E1:B71E:FFD6 (talk) 14:36, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

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