Astragalus Root (Astragalus membranaceus)
Astragalus is the common English name for the Chinese name huang-qi. One interpretation of the word is that “huang” means yellow, referring to the yellow interior of the herb’s root, and “qi” means leader, referring to this herb’s place as a superior tonic in Chinese medicine.
According to various books on Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus invigorates vital energy and strengthens bodily resistance. Health practitioners have prescribed it to treat shortness of breath, general weakness, and lack of appetite, and have recommended it as a diuretic as well as to treat colds, flu, stomach ulcers, and diabetes.
Laboratory and clinical studies confirm the herb’s ability to stimulate the immune system, fight bacteria, viruses, and inflammation, protect the liver, and act as a diuretic and adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that have nonspecific actions and cause minimal disruption to the body while normalizing body functions, no matter the condition or disease.
Astragalus is one of many herbs used in Chinese fu-zheng therapy, which treats disease by enhancing or promoting the body’s defense mechanisms. In the West, we describe this process as stimulating or enhancing the immune system.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus is often used in daily doses of 9 g to 15 g of the dried root, simmered for several hours in a quart of water (the decoction is ready when the water is reduced down to a pint).
Please note: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is compiled from traditional and modern herb books, articles, and research. This information is summarized for its educational value and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease. It should not be used to replace the services of a qualified practitioner.
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