Plant Profile: Astragalus Root

Astragalus immune TCMBotanical Name:
Astragalus membranaceous

 Family: Fabiaceae

Common Name:

Huang Chi – Mandarin

Primary Characteristics for Field ID:
Some species in the Astragalus genus are native to the Southwest but they cannot be substituted for this Chinese species.

Part Used for Medicine:

Habitat in Which it is Found/ Harvesting Season/ Special Considerations:
The sliced root should have a yellow interior and resemble a large tongue depressor. The older and bigger, the better. Avoid cut/ sifted as one cannot tell the size of the original root. The larger roots need to be grown more years so top quality is moderately expensive.

Energy & Taste:
Warm and sweet (nourishing)

Builds the Wei Chi, also known as Protective Chi. This is similar to the Western concept of the immune system. This herb is an immune tonic, especially for winter colds and flu. It has also been researched and used for long term cancer therapy and building bone marrow.
Tonic for building the lung and spleen (digestive) chi
Must be used long term (several weeks) for best results

Herbal Combos:
Use with Reshi and Ashwagandha for an immune tonic.
Use with Ashwagandha and Dong Quai for a blood tonic.

Safety Issues:
A very safe and mild herb that may be used long term over many years. It is especially beneficial to use during the winter months.

Preferred Method of Preparation:
The polysaccharide compounds are water soluble
Use a decoction or simmer in soups and stews

The Plant Profiles are brief materia medica summaries of plants encountered during plant walks or introduced during class on our longer programs. They are presented here to help students organize plant info on an ongoing basis. Although the Profiles are not meant to be comprehensive, they are offered here to the public in the hope that others find these pages useful.


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