COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)
Astragalus (Huáng Qí)
Astragalus’ benefits come mainly from its immune-supporting and antiviral properties, which some studies have shown make it an ideal daily supplement for preventing colds and other respiratory infections. It may also have some anti-aging effects when applied regularly to the skin (which is why it’s also part of several different anti-aging and wrinkle-repair creams).
Taking an oral astragalus supplement may have anti-aging properties, both in terms of appearance and the development of age-related health conditions. Taken alone, it may also reduce the severity of nasal/sinus symptoms of seasonal allergies, make menstruation more regular, and reduce feelings of fatigue. What’s more, like aspirin, it’s commonly recommended as an OTC supplement to improve heart health. In combination with other herbs/medications, astragalus supplements may also make menopause symptoms more manageable.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
The dried roots of astragalus plants are available in a wide variety of oral-use preparations, including capsules and liquid extracts, powders, and in decoctions (tonics and teas). Some recipes also call for cooking astragalus roots in lamb stew, rice or a broth (remove after cooking as it is too fibrous to eat). Teas and tinctures are generally more bioavailable than capsules or powders, and are occasionally used topically.
Astragalus is a food grade herb given in doses of up to 30 grams a day in formula. Taking it may decrease blood pressure. People with autoimmune disorders or who are taking immune-suppressants, hormones, anticoagulants, and diuretics should not take astragalus supplements unless recommended/supervised by their physician. Same with pregnant and nursing women.
You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking Astragalus.
Chen KT, Su CH, Hsin LH, et al. Reducing fatigue of athletes following oral administration of huangqi jianzhong tang. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2002;23(8):757-761.
Cheng Y, Tang K, Wu S, et al. Astragalus polysaccharides lowers plasma cholesterol through mechanisms distinct from statins. PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27437.
Dasgupta, Amitava. “Antiinflammatory Herbal Supplements.” Translational Inflammation, Academic Press, 30 Nov. 2018
Goldman, Erik L. “Six Chinese Herbs Every Doctor Should Know.” Holistic Primary Care, 15 June 2001
Liu, Ping, et al. “Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic.” Aging and Disease, JKL International LLC, 1 Dec. 2017
Wong, Cathy. “Are Astragalus Supplements Right for You?” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 17 July 2019
“Astragalus.” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/astragalus.