Astragalus is a perennial plant from the pea family that has been used in Chinese medicine for years. Other popular names for the Astragalus plant are milk vetch or huang-qi. As an adaptogen, the astragalus herb is known to boost the immune system and is used for many bodily ailments. Chinese Milk Vetch, Astragalus membranaceus, is native to China. In the past decade, it has become a popular medicinal plant in North America and has recently been planted in Saskatchewan.
The multi-stemmed plant grows to about 1 to 1.5 m in height and has alternate, compound leaves composed of 12 to 18 pairs of small leaflets. Mature plants have yellow pea-like flowers in long clusters during early summer. These are followed by seedpods growing up to 15 cm in length.
Astragalus herb is an adaptogen; this means it has substances that help the body maintain its normal health. It has also been used for treating chronic diarrhea and reducing blood pressure, and for treating the common cold.
Astragalus Root is an energy tonic is a mild stimulant that combats fatigue and prolonged stress. It is used to increase metabolism, stamina, strength and vitality. Taken as a tonic, astragalus is believed to build stamina and vitality. Astragalus plant has a reputation for improving overall health by helping the body to fight off viral and bacterial infections responsible for causing colds, theflu, bronchitis, and sinus infections. As an antioxidant, it helps to counteract cell damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals.
Astragalusherb increases the flow of bile and digestive fluids and supports good digestion and also helps to support adrenal gland, liver and spleen function. It is an antibacterial that helps to eliminate toxins, thus promoting the healing of damaged tissue.
Sometimes it is used in cooking to fortify soup stock.