- Category: Herbs
|Biological Name: Astragalus membranaceus
|Other Names: Huang qi, Astragalus|
|Parts Used: Roots|
Astragalus contains numerous components, including flavonoids, polysaccharides, triterpene glycosides (e.g., astragalosides I-VII), amino acids, and trace minerals. Astragalus appears to restore T-cell (a specific type of white blood cell ) counts to relatively normal ranges in some cancer patients.
Shen Nong, the founder of Chinese herbal medicine, classified astragalus as a superior herb in his classical treatise Shen Nong Pen Tsao Ching (circa A.D. 100). The Chinese name huang qi translates as "yellow leader," referring to the yellow color of the root and its status as one of the most important tonic herbs. Traditional Chinese medicine utilized this herb for night sweats, deficiency of chi (e.g., fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite), and diarrhea.
Immune tonic, diuretic, lowers blood pressure, Qi tonic
Astragalus is the primary herb used in Chinese medicine to tone the immune system of the lungs. It is useful for conditions of immune deficiency that lead to spontaneous sweating. It is also used for spleen qi deficiency with symptoms of weak, low metabolism; edema; and prolapse of internal organs, as it raises the spleen yang and qi. It can be used for qi and blood deficiency caused by loss of blood or after childbirth.
Astragalus is native to northern China and the elevated regions of the Chinese provinces Yunnan and Sichuan. The portion of the plant used medicinally is the four- to seven-year-old dried root collected in the spring.
While there are over 2,000 types of astragalus world-wide, the Chinese version has been extensively tested, both chemically and pharmacologically'
Textbooks on Chinese herbs recommend taking 9-15 grams of the crude herb per day in decoction form made by boiling the root in water for a few minutes and then brewing the tea. Supplements typically contain 500 mg of astragalus. Two to three tablets or capsules or 3-5 ml of tincture three times per day are often recommended.
Astragalus should not be used for cases of excess or when there is deficiency of yin with heat signs, and it should not be used when there is stagnation of qi or dampness, especially when there is painful obstruction.