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Asarum – Wikipedia

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– Description:
– Asarum is a genus of low-growing herbs found in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere.
– Most species are in East Asia (China, Japan, Vietnam), North America, and one in Europe.
– The plant has kidney-shaped leaves, brown or reddish flowers, and a rhizome similar in taste to ginger.
– It is called wild ginger but is not related to ginger and contains aristolochic acid, a potent carcinogen.
– Wild ginger thrives in shaded, moist areas with humus-rich soil and can be grown as groundcover.

– Taxonomy:
– Asarum originated in Asia and has species in North America and Asia.
– North American species are monophyletic, derived from Asian species.
– Geotaenium is closely related to Asarum.
– Asiasarum is related to Hexastylis Heterotropa.
– Hexastylis is a genus recognized based on a study by H.L. Blomquist.

– Culinary and Medicinal Uses:
– Wild ginger can be cooked like ginger root or candied.
– It is used in traditional medicine.
– The plant can be grown in shade gardens as an attractive groundcover.
– Asarum is nephrotoxic and contains aristolochic acid, a known carcinogen.
– FDA warns against consuming products containing aristolochic acid.

– References:
– Schaneberg et al. determined aristolochic acid in Asarum and Aristolochia species.
– FDA warned against botanical products with aristolochic acid in 2001.
– Health Canada advised against products with Aristolochia.
– Studies by Lawrence M. Kelley and H.L. Blomquist provided insights into Asarum.
– Angier’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants mentions Asarum.

– External Links:
– Wikispecies and Wikimedia Commons have information and media on Asarum.
– Takashi Sugawara’s taxonomic studies on Asarum are available.
– Lawrence M. Kelley’s taxonomy research on Asarum Section Asarum is referenced.
– A list of Asarum species is provided.
– The International Agency for Research on Cancer may have relevant information.

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