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musli - Asparagus adscendens Roxb.

musli :

musli : Asparagus adscendens Roxb.  Asparagus adscendens Roxb, this herb is usually found in Himalayan mountain ranges. Naturally occurs in forests of western Himalya, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra states that are listed in the endangered species of India. Roots of this plant are used for the preparation of nutritive tonics. This plant is a source of a nutritious starch and low in calories and is very low in sodium and good source of vitamins also. Active compounds present in asparagus are well known for their multiple health benefits because of presence of ingredients like proteins, alkaloids, saponins and tannins. This in turn helps in improving fertility and vitality in women and men. Active composition enriched in asparagus calms down nerve cells and prevents the risk of nervous disorders like depression, anxiety and stress. 


The uses of the medicinal plants are found in Rig Veda, perhaps the oldest repository of human knowledge. Charka Samhita (1000 B.C.) records the use of over 340 drugs of plant origin

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Asparagus
Species: Asparagus adscendens

Allied species:

Broadly, three grades of musli are available: A) 3–4 inch long roots called badi (bigger) musli that get the highest price. B) 3 inch and smaller roots called choti (or smaller) musli that get intermediate prices. C) Broken fragments or chura that get the lowest price. 


Sanskrit: durnamari, mahavrsa, musali
English: West-Himalayan Asparagus
Hindi: Dholi moosli, सफ़ेद मुसली Safed musli
Urdu: musli siyah, satawar, shaqaq-ul-misri, shaqaqul misri,
Telugu: Sallog dooda, Sallogadda
Bengali: -সফেদ মুসলি
Marathi: Pandaari musalee, सफ़ेद मुसली Safed musli
Oriya: -Gaichira
Gujarathi: Dholi musli
Tamil: Naranka pattirakam, Tannirvittang
Malayalam: Shedeveli
Kannada: Billi Mushali
Punjabi: Syahoo Musali,
Sindhi: -musli
Arabic: shaqoqule
French: -Musale Blanc.
Nepal: -musali
Persian: -Musli Safed, shaqoqule
Sinhalese: Hirth Wariya


There are two basic uses of medicinal plants: direct use as dietary supplement or as chemical factories for the production of plants derived drugs. 

2 types 
1.  Chlorophytum Laxum Br.
2. Chlorophytum Tuberosum Baker


मुशली मधुरा गुर्वी तिक्ता वृष्या रसायनी 
वीर्योष्णा बृंहणी हन्ति दुर्नामानि प्रभञ्जनम् 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: mushali, shveta, musali, mushali, dholi

-talamuli - root resembles the root of tala
talapatra , talapatri - leaf resembles the leaf of taala plant
vrukshakanda, mahavruksha, vrushyakandha - tuberus having aphrodisiac properties
Hiranyapushpi - yellow coloured flowers

Rasa: Madhura Tikta
Guna: Guru Snigdha
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Maduram
Karma: Pittahara Vatahara

Active compounds present in asparagus are well known for their multiple health benefits. The powdered dried root exhibits galactogogic properties. It is reported to be useful against diarrhoea, dysentery and in general debility


It can be grown in variety of soil ranging from loamy to sandy soil having good drainage system. It can tolerate mountain slopes or sloppy lands. It gives best result when grown under red soil rich in organic matter. Avoid cultivation in water lock conditions. The soil having pH ranging from 6.5-8.5 is best for plant growth.


Usually propagation is done through tubers or seeds


Plant starts yielding in about 90 days after planting. Harvesting is done in the month of September or October. Harvesting is done when leaves start yellowing and then gets dried.


The roots contain asparagin. One of the sapogenins, isolated from the root, was identified as stigmasterol, which is known to reduce inflammation. The protein content is significantly high in the roots, which strengthens the body

It contains hecogenin, stigmasterol , carbohydrates (35-45%), fiber (25-35%), alkaloids (15-25%), saponins (2-20%), and proteins (5-10%). It contains steroidal saponins, rhamnose moieties, sarsasapogenin, alkaloids, proteins, starch, tannin, isoflavones including 8-methoxy-5,6,4’-trihydroxyisoflavone 7-0-beta-D-glucopyranoside, asparagamine, racemosol, polysaccharides.


important formulation

1. musalikhadiradi kashayam

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Root tuber, ,


powder - 2- 5 gm once or twice a day


 Kali musli and Safed musli are used as substitute of Ashwagandha. Ultimately, Kali musli and Safed musli are regarded as substitutes for Kakoli and Kshirakakoli, respectively. Kali musli and Safed musli are also different plants with different morphological and pharmacological profile then how both are accepted as substitute for single plant i.e. Ashwagandha. Kali musli is used as substitute for Kakoli and Safed musli for Kshirakakoli in the absence of Ashwagandha. 


safed musli being adulterated with lesser priced Asparagus


-‘Safed Musli’ (Liliaceae) is a traditional medicinal  plant found in the natural forests of India from the eastern state of Assam to the western state of Gujarat. In spite of the medicinal value of the product and an increase in demand for it, the true identity of the drug is the subject of considerable controversy. Entirely different plant species are referred to as ‘Safed Musli’ in classical and contemporary texts of the Ayurvedic system of medicine and marketed in different part of the country. The various plant species referred to in classical texts are
 Asparagus adscendens, Chlorophytum arundinaceum and C. tuberosum
. However, in recent times another Chlorophytum species, C. borivilianum has become the most acceptable source of ‘Safed Musli’ in the trade. It is considered as a “wonder drug” in the Indian system of medicine due to its aphrodisiac and natural sex tonic properties, which are responsible for it being referred to as ‘Herbal Viagra’. Because of its high therapeutic importance, ‘Safed Musli’ tubers are the major constituents of more than 100 Ayurvedic  preparations 

Commercial value:

 In the case of safed musli, one of the most expensive medicinal plants, it is totally uprooted leaving little in the soil for future regeneration.
 In south India, Muslim traders control a considerable proportion of the trade.
  a wide range is due to the fact that there are varying qualities of safed musli available in the market and the rate depends on the grade of the raw drug


The plant form of Asparagus adscendens is a shrub of struggling nature much branched, spines with woody stem, It can grow up to an utmost height of 1.5 feet. Cladodes are 0.6-1.2 cm long linear in shape but stout, straight, bear spines . Flowers are small, white, 3-4 cm across, solitary or fascicled with copious racemes. Fruits are 0.8 cm in diameter, globes, 3 lobed berries with only one seed . Tubers can grow up to a depth of 10 inch 



T.S. of young stem showed presence of ridges and furrows along with most of the typical monocot characters such as large pith and irregularly arranged vascular bundles (Fig 2). Epidermis consisted of single layer of dumbbell shaped cells possessing thick layer of cuticle followed by cortex region. Cortex was seen differentiated into outer 3-4 layers of collenchymatous cells below ridges and furrows and an inner continuous layer of parenchymatous cells. Vascular bundles were found scattered irregularly with larger ones placed towards the inner side and smaller ones developing in peripheral region. Vascular bundles were of collateral and closed type with metaxylem present on its outer side. In addition centrally placed pith composed of larger cell size 

2 Microscopic characters of cladodes
Horizontal section of cladodes viewed triangular in outline with a single cell layer of dumbbell shaped epidermal cells. Below the epidermis 2-3 palisade cell layers with centrally placed vascular tissue zone was present. Xylem and phloem were found intermixed in the central zone.

3 Microscopic characters of the root Transverse section of root clearly showed the outermost layer of epidermal cells, compactly arranged, thick walled cells forming the piliferous layer. Below the epidermis two types of cortex were present i.e. outer lignified cortex and inner parenchymatous cortex. Sclerenchymatous fibres were found scattered in the cortex while some of them on maceration appeared as scattered fibres. A well-developed sheath of stone cells surrounding the endodermis was present at all levels of root. The innermost 1 or 2 layers of cortex immediately outside endodermis comprises of thick walled cells, with numerous circular or oval pits on their walls. The endodermis beneath the sheath shows thickened radial and inner tangential walls. Inner to endodermis, a single layer of thin-walled, parenchymatous cells constituting the pericycle was present in form of a ring, which surrounds the central stele. Phloem and xylem groups, many in number, were arranged on alternate radii and form a ring. In some root samples, especially from plants growing in shaded places, the cortical sclerenchymatous fibres were confined either to the peripheral region only or were absent. Tracheids with usual thin pointed tapering ends and wide pith comprising of completely or partially lignified rounded cells were present

Geographical distribution:

Asparagus is a sub-erect prickly shrub with white tuberous root that grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climates with heights up to 1,500 meters. Asparagus adscendens is usually found throughout India and Himalayan Mountain ranges. Naturally occurs in forests of western Himalaya, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra States that are listed in the endangered species of India. In Himachal Pradesh it is found growing sporadically in districts of Una, Chamba, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi, Solan

General Use:

  • The rhizomes of the herb are powerful aphrodisiacs.
  • Asparagus is known to increase sperm count.
  • Traditionally, it has been used as a rejuvenation remedy.
  • The roots of the herb are used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.

Therapeutic Uses:

 Mostly its tuberous roots are used in Ayurvedic medicines. To make salep, the root is dried and ground into a powder and the powdered dried root exhibits galactogogic properties; used for the preparation of nutritive tonic used in general sexual weakness. These roots hold spermatogenetic, spermatorrhoea and chronic leucorrhoea due to some chemical content. This plant is a source of a nutritious starch and low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin also. Steroidal glycosides are identified in tuberous roots. Active compounds present in asparagus are well known for their multiple health benefits. It is reported to be useful against diarrhea, dysentery and in general debility

Systemic Use:

The roots are useful in nervous disorders, dyspepsia, tumors, scalding of urine, throat infections, tuberculosis, cough bronchitis and general debility. It helps with nervousness, pain, restless sleep, disturbing dreams and people with weak emotional and physical heart. It  is useful for treating anorexia, insomnia, hyperactive children and people who are under-weight. Asparagus is a rejuvenating female tonic for overall health and vitality. It improves uterine growth, mitigates dysmenorrheal and menorrhagia, augments fertility and imparts anabolic properties
Arsha (piles), Dourbalya (debility or weakness), Asthi Bhanga (bone fracture), Kamala (jaundice), Shula (Abdominal colic and pain), Mutrakrichchha (dysuria), Pravahika (diarrhoea) Atisara (dysentery)


root powder


adscendens is used for increasing the sperm count, as general health tonic, stimulation of insulin secretion and action, and to inhibit starch digestion. Itis helpfulin postpartum hemorrhage, nourishing fetus during pregnancy, and increasing breast milk flow. It is effective in dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhea, and genito-urinary complaints, such as seminal weakness, impotence, spermatorrhea, leucorrhea, and gonorrhea. Rhizomes are used for general weaknesses, and roots are used for curing dysentery7A. adscendens possess antifilarial activity

Clinical trials:

Tendon, M., Skula, Y, N., and Thakur, R. S. (1990). Constituents of Asparagus adscendens. Fitoterapia, 61(5), 473


  1. Ray, A. B., Chansouria, J. P. N., Hemalatha, S. (2010). Medicinal Plants: Anti-diabetic and Hypoglycemic Activities, p. 46-47, IBDC Publisher, Lukhnow, India.
  3. Singh, R., Khan, N, U., and Singhal, K, C. (1997). Potential Antifilarial Activity of Roots of Asparagus adscendens against setaria cervi in vitro. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology35(2), 168-72.


-Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough information to know if safed musli is safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It should be avoided.

Toxicity studies:

no adverse reaction reported

Use in other system of medicine:

Traditionally, tubers are used in the treatment of rheumatism and the leaves as vegetable in various culinary preparations. It is traditionally used for its aphrodisial properties in lack of libido male impotency, oligospermia. It is also widely used as a general health promotive tonic and for delaying the ageing process. Dried root powder increases the lactation amongst the feeding mothers and lactating cows. It also removes the knee pains within a week if taken daily with milk . Leaves are eaten by the tribal people of Western Ghats as an expectorant. In the traditional diet of nursing mothers (after confinement) its powder is added in the preparation of laddoos (sweet prepared in ball form) to be taken as a energizing food. Efforts are on in countries like the USA and England to make chips/flakes with the tubers to use it as a nutritious item in breakfast. C. borivilianum has been described in ancient Indian literature such as Bhavaprakash nighantu, Rasendra Sarsangrah, Raja Ballabh Nighantu as ‘Vajikaran’ or aphrodisiac. The roots of C. borivilianum are a constituent of ‘Chyawanprash’ an outstanding rejuvenator . It is known as the Indian Ginseng , because of great therapeutic importance and its tubers are the major constituents of more than 100 ayurvedic preparations


Asparagus adscendens is a flowering perennial, spring plant species in the genus Asparagus; Which is a large genus of herbs and under shrubs with stout, tuberous roots and erect or climbing stems. It was once classified in the lily family, like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae has been split and the onion-like plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and asparagus in the Asparagaceae family [9]. Plant  grows one to two metres tall and prefers to take root in gravelly, rocky soils high up in piedmont plains, at 1,300 - 1,500 metres elevation and it was botanically described in 1799.Asparagus adscendens Roxb. is known by various common names i.e. Shatawari, Safed musli, Shatavar, Shatamuli, Sahasrapal, Sainsarbuti. It was initially grown in thick forest in natural form, and is a customary medicinal plant; is an herb with sub-erect lanceolate leaves and tuberous root system.

KEY WORDS: musli Asparagus adscendens Roxb.

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