Asparagus racemosus and A.sarmentosus are the 'Satavari'
and 'Maha-satavari' of the 'Nighantas'. The tubers are
candied and eaten as a sweetmeat. The fresh juice of the
root is given with honey as a demulcent in bilious dyspepsia
or diarrhea. It is a constituent in the preparation of
medicated oils for external application in nervous and
rheumatic affections and urinary troubles.
Found through out tropical
Africa, Java, Australia, India, Sri Lanka
| and southern parts
of China. In India it is found in plains to 4,000 ft high,
in tropical, sub-tropical dry and deciduous forests and in
Morphology Description (Habit)
It is an under-shrub, climbs up to 1-3 m high, with stout
and creeping root stock. The root occurs in clusters or
fascicle at the base of the stem with succulent and tuberous
rootlets. The stem is scandent, woody, triquetrous, striate,
terete and climbing. The young stem is delicate, brittle and
smooth. The spines are long, sub-recurved or straight.
Cladodes are in tufts of 2-6 in a node, slender, finely
acuminate, falcate divaricate. The flowers, solitary or
fascicles, simple or branched racemes of 3 cm long. The
pedicel is slender and jointed in the middle. Perianth lobes
white, fragrant and 3 mm in length. The anthers minute and
purple. The berry globular or obscurely 3 lobbed,
purple-reddish, seeds hard with brittle testa.
Apart from saponins, the material contains alkaloids,
proteins, starch, tannin, mucilage and diosgenin. The type
of saponin varies with the geographical distribution of the
species. Plants found in south India have saponin-A4
fraction but not in north Indian samples1.
Steroid saponin, shatavarin - is the major glycoside with 3
glucose and rhamnose moieties attached to sarsasapogenin,
whereas shatavarin-IV has 2 glucose and one rhamnose
moieties with sarsasapogenin. Vanillin, coniferin and
sarsasaponin were also identified from the roots. The plant
contains triterpene saponins - Shatavarin I - IV, which are
Alcoholic extract has anti-oxytocic activity, saponin-glycoside
(A4) produced a specific and competitive block of the
pitocin-induced contraction of rat, guinea pig and rabbit
uteri in vitro and in situ. It also blocked the spontaneous
uterine motility. Also found that the hypotensive action of
syntocinin in cat was unaffected by previous administration
of saponin A42. Root extracts increase the weight
of mammary glands in post-partum and estrogens-primed rats
and uterine weight in estrogens-primed group3. It
also has galactogogue action in buffaloes4. It
increased the force and rate of contraction in isolated
frog's heart, but in higher doses it caused cardiac arrest5.
Both aerial parts and roots have amylase and lipase
activities6. Aerial parts have anticancer activity in human
epidermal carcinoma of the nasopharynx7.
It is proved that it increases milk production in lactating
There is no report of toxic and adverse effects on use of
this plant but Asparagus officinalis is an allergenic plant8.
The roots have oleaginous, cooling, antispasmodic,
indigestible, appetizer, alliterative, stomach, tonic,
aphrodisiac, galactagogue, astringent, antidiarrhoeatic,
antidysenteric, laxative properties and is useful in tumors,
inflamations, diseases of blood and eye, throat complaints,
tuberculosis, leprosy, epilepsy, night blindness and kidney
- Kanitkar, J Res Ind Med, 3, 2, 1969;
Sankarasubramanian, Curr Sci, 38, 414, 1968.
- Gaitonde and Jetmalani, Arch Int Pharmacodyn, 179,
121, 1969; Indian J Pharm, 31, 175, 1969.
- Sabnis, Indian J Exptl Biol, 6, 55, 1968.
- Patel, Indian Vet J, 46, 718, 1969.
- Roy, Indian J Pharm, 30, 289, 1968; 6,132, 1971.
- Dange, Planta Medica, 17, 393, 1969.
- Dhar, Indian J Exptl Biol, 6,232,1968.
- Tampion, J. Dangerous Plants.