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Astragalus Root

  • A. membranaceus
  • Origin: China
Astragalus Root

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Common Name

Standardized: astragalus
Other: membranous milkvetch, hunag qi

Botanical Name

Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch. ex Link) Bunge
Plant Family: Fabaceae

Overview

Introduction

Astragalus has a rich history of use in Chinese and Asian cultures. It is native to China, Mongolia and North Korea, and is an ancient component of traditional Chinese medicine. The herb was mentioned in the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica, written anonymously during the first century AD and attributed to the teachings of the legendary figure Shennong who is thought to have lived approximately 5,000 years ago.

Astragalus is an herbaceous perennial, growing between 25 and 40 centimeters in height. It grows in grassy regions and on mountainsides, requiring plenty of exposure to the sun. When grown for cultivation, the plants are traditionally harvested after four or five years, with the roots collected in spring or fall. The medicinal roots are dried in the sun and then sliced for distribution. The slices are yellow in color and have a sweet, moistening taste with a firm, fibrous texture.

Constituents

Astragalosides and other immunostimulant polysaccharides, beta-sitosterol, flavonoids, and trace minerals, especially selenium.

Parts Used

The dried root in the form of tea, encapsulated or as an extract. Powder is mildly sweet and may be sprinkled on food or whipped into a shake or smoothie.

Typical Preparations

Most authorities on traditional Chinese medicine recommend taking 9-15 grams (3 to 5 tablespoons) of the whole herb per day as a decoction, made by boiling the ground, dried root in water for a few minutes and then brewing the tea. May also be taken in capsule or extract form.

Summary

While clinically proven data is lacking, astragalus is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments and functions. It is traditionally valued for supporting healthy immune function and has been observed to support the heart in healthy subjects.

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7787395?dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12800417?dopt=Abstract

WHO Monographs Vol. 1

Precautions

Specific: No known precautions.
General: For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.