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Botanical Name: Astragalus membranaceus

Other names: Mongolian milk vetch, yellow vetch and Huang Qi

Family: Fabaceae

Astragalus is a member of the legume family and is a herbaceous perennial. It will grow up to 4 feet in height. It has yellow flowers that are present from midsummer to late autumn.

It grows with in partial shade, with well drained soil and moderate water.

There are many varieties of astragalus so it is important to identify it has the correct botanical name before use.

Parts Used: The root

Astragalus membranaceus

Traditional Use: Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to help tonify qi, blood and spleen. It was used for postpartum fevers and recovering from severe blood loss and fatigue that was linked to decreased appetite, diarrhoea and anemia (Bone, 2003).

Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins (astragalosides), flavonoids, polysaccharides (Bone, 2007) along with trace minerals including selenium, molybdenum, uranium (Holmes, vol. 1, 2007)

Energetics: Sweet, somewhat warm and dry. Restoring, astringent, solidifying and stabilizing (Holmes, vol.1, 2007)

Actions: Immune enhancing, tonic, adaptogenic, cardiotonic, hypotensive, diuretic, antioxidant (Bone, 2007).

Indications: Astragalus is indicated for those who are busy or stressed but need to look after their immune systems to help prevent sickness. It helps to nourish the body over time - the effects are not immediate.

Astragalus is a gentle adaptogen so it is ideal to use in those that are depleted due to stress or illness.

It can be used to help reduce the risk of infections as well as to treat chronic infections (Bone, 2007).

Astragalus can help those with a deficient or poor immune system. It can benefit those with auto immune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus .

Astragalus can be of benefit to those recovering from a viral illness (post viral fatigue), fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (Bone, 2007).

Can be used to help support healthy heart function and kidney function, restoring fluid balance within the body (Bone, 2003).

Astragalus can also have a positive effect on blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.


Cautions: Immunosuppressant medication - use with caution

Not advised during an acute stage of an infection

Monitoring for those with high blood pressure and for those with blood sugar fluctuations

Other species of astragalus can be toxic it is important to have the right herb for medicinal use.


Bone, K. (2003) A clinical guide to the blending of liquid herbs, St Louis Missouri; Churchill Livingstone

Bone, K. (2007) The ultimate herbal compendium, Warwick Queensland, Phytotherapy Press

Holmes, P. (2007) The energetics of western herbs, Vol. 1, 4th edition, Cotati, California; Snow Lotus Press

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