Asparagus has been prized as an epicurean delight and for its medicinal properties for almost 2000 years. Its presence across most

continents is partly due to its many different species. Some of these species — like Asparagus officinalis — are widely cultivated

and consumed as staple foods. Other species – like Asparagus racemosus, widely found in India and the Himilayas – have been

used in a more medicinal context. In the case of Asparagus racemosus, also known as Shatavari, there is a long history of use in

Ayurvedic medicine, especially in relationship to digestive problems. Various species of asparagus were cultivated by Egyptian

cultures beginning as early as 3000 B.C., and by European cultures including early Greek and Roman cultures. Asparagus also

became particularly popular in France during the 18th century during the rule of Louis XIV. In terms of commercial production,

China (587,500 tons) and Peru (186,000 tons) are currently the world’s largest producers and exporters of asparagus. Next in line

as commercial producers are the United States (102,780 tons) and Mexico (67,247 tons).

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