Astragalus membranaceus (Huang chi) (Radix astragali) is the root of the milk-vetch plant. It is one of the top five Tonic herbs. For over three millennia, Astragalus has been renowned as an adaptogen, immune modulator, athletic strengthener, and general longevity herb, assisting many facets of our health.
Astragalus was initially documented in one of the most famous ancient Chinese medical books, Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, in (as early as) 2975 BC. The manual attributed astragalus to provide a wide range of therapeutical effects and no toxicity. In Western medical history, Astragalus was formally described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum.
Astragalus has been used effectively to fend off and recuperate from a vast array of maladies. Astragalus grows in the Xinjiang Province, traditionally used throughout the region to help endure the rapidly fluctuating and challenging environmental conditions. For this, astragalus holds a place in the elite category of the world’s “adaptogenic” herbs.
As an adaptogen, astragalus can help us adapt to mental and physical stresses of life by strengthening our resistance to harmful elements and discordant energies.
Astragalus it said to support the “Wei Chi”, a branch of the immune system directly below the skin surface, responsible for mitigating the harmful effects of airborne and waterborne pathogens/carcinogens. This branch of the immune system has only recently been identified by Western science.
Astragalus is used by Asian athletes for endurance and stamina to endure physical exertion and bodily strain.
Astragalus is said to strengthen “upright Chi” ~ the upward flow and peripheral distribution of vital bodily energy, benefitting the warm flow of Chi, the vital energy of life. Upright Chi is important for women in reproductive years, as it supports the body to maintain blood vitality. Upright Chi helps keep our organs and tissues from prolapsing, and our musculature firm. Topical application is said to speed wound healing.
Astragalus is considered very safe for regular consumption in moderate amounts. Medical literature states astragalus should not be taken for auto-immune disorders, as it could contraindicate with medical treatments. Pregnant women are advised not to take Astragalus due to insufficient research about possible contraindications.