Astragalus is a great tonic herb that is often used to support endocrine system function and the immube system. It is an adaptogen, meaning that it increases the body’s resistance to stress. Because of its antioxidant properties and wide range of healing constituents, it is used to treat a wide variety of ailments.
It is the roots of the plant that are used; thus, it can be taken in powdered form, or the roots can be decocted to make a tea. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, zinc, vitamin B1, B2, B3, and C2. Astragalus has more documented research than many other herbs based on its implications in treating chemotherapy symptoms as well as AIDS.
Latin Name: Astragalus membranaceus
Common name: Astragalus
Parts of the Plant Used: Roots.
Extraction Methods: Decoction, Infusion (with powdered roots), tincture, poultice.
Habitat/Bioregion: Astragalus is native to Northern and Eastern China, Mongolia, and Korea.
Actions: Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant. Raises metabolism, promotes sweating, combats fatigue and stress. Protects the immune system, aids adrenal gland function and digestion. Used to treat colds, flu, and immune-deficiency related diseases, including aids, cancer, and tumors. Lowers blood pressure and protects the liver. Also used to treat diabetes and chronic lung weakness2. Sometimes used externally to heal wounds1.
Body Systems Supported: Immune System, Endocrine System, Digestive System, Nervous System, Circulatory System, Integumentary System.
History/Folklore: A popular tonic in Chinese medicine that has been used for thousands of years. The Chinese refer to this herb as Huang Qi. In America it is sometimes called “milk vetch”.
Information on astragalus by The University of Maryland Medical Center
*Because astragalus can promote sweating and raise body temperature, do not take astragalus when fever is present.
1. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2011. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/astragalus-000223.htm
2. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. 2006