Tian Dong

Radix Asparagi, Asparagus


Internal administration: decoction 6 to 15g. 5:1 concentrated extract: 1.2 to 3 grams/day.

Chemical Composition

Steroid saponins: Asp-IV, Asp-V, Asp-VI, and Asp-VII; Methylprotodioscin; Pseudoprotodioscin; 3-O-[a-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→4)-b-D-glucopyranosyl]-26-O-(b-D-glucopyranosyl)-(25R) -furosta-5, 20-dien-3b, 26-diol; Yamogenin; Diosgenin; Sarsasapogenin; Smilagenin; Glucose; Rhamnose; Trimeric; Tetrameric; Pentameric; Hexameric; Octameric; Nonameric; Decameric saccharides; Fructose; Sucrose; 5-methoxymethyl furfural; b-sitosterol; Citrulline; Asparagine; Serine; Threonine; Proline; Glycine; Alanine; Valine; Methio-nine; Leucine; Isoleucine; Phenylalanine; Tyrosine; Aspartic acid; Glutamic acid; Arginine; Histidine; Lysine; Asparagus polysaccharide A, B, C and D. (1)


Contraindications: Diarrhea due to cold of insufficiency type and cough due to wind-cold pathogen attack.


Anti-aging effects

Alcohol-based extracts of Tian Dong can enhance the activity of SOD (Superoxide Dismutase), MDA (malondialdehyde), Na+|, and K+|-ATPase, and reduce MDA levels in the brain of D-galactose-modeled mice. Similarly, it can enhance the activity of Na+| and K+|-ATPase, and reduce MDA level in mice liver membranes, and it can enhance the activity of GSH-Px, Na+| and K+|-ATPase, and reduce MDA levels in the subjects’ testis mitochondria. Chloroform-, alcohol-, and water-based extracts of Tian Dong can reduce MDA levels in the liver cell membrane of modeled senile mice. Chloroform-based extracts of Tian Dong (but not alcohol or water-based extract) can reduce MDA levels in red cell membranes. (2) , (3)

Anti-cancer effect

An 80% alcohol-based extract of Tian Dong can inhibit S180 tumors in mice with a 15% to 45% inhibition rate. Its main anti-cancer active ingredients are asparagus polysaccharides. Experiments show that Tian Dong cannot cause mutation, but can have an inhibitory effect on the mutagenic function of fungal extracts, indicating that it may be of significance in preventing liver cancer. (4)

Antiseptic effect

In vitro antiseptic experiments show that Tian Dong has an inhibitory effect on anthrax bacillus 206, hemolytic stretococcus A and B, Bacillus diphtheriae, diphtheroid bacillus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus citreus, Staphylococcus albus, and hay bacillus. (5)


  1. Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica, State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai Science and Technology Press, 1998.
  2. Qu Feng Yu, et al. The anti-aging effect of alcohol-based extract of Tian Dong. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbs. 1999;27(2):68-70.
  3. Qu Feng Yu, et al. Tian Dong’s effect on MDA level in the red blood cell membrane, and hepatic cell membrane of D-galactose-modeled mice. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1999;27(2):68-70.
  4. Yuan Cui Cai, et al. The inhibitory effect of Wu Wei Zi and eight other Chinese herbs on the mutagenic function of fungi extracts. Guangxi Journal of Medicine. 1995;17(6):473-475.
  5. Wen Jing Yuan, et al. Screening nine herbs of the Asparagus genus. Journal of Shanghai Medical University. 1993;20(2):107-111.