Monograph – Astragalus

Hand-drawn astragalus flowers and leaves by Debora J. Brown

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)

Taste: Sweet, mild, slightly salt
UPS Status: None
Energetics: Warm, Moist, Tonifying

Family: Fabaceae

Principle: Mercury/Mutable
Element: Earth
Planets: Venus

Common NamesMembranous milk-vetch root, Huang Qi, Astragalus, Mongolian milkvetch, Yellow vetch, Yellow leader, Huang Chi/Qi, Bok Kay, Bei Qi (Mandarin), Ogi (Japanese)
Medicinal PartsRoots
Herbal Friends/Pairs Licorice, Ashwagandha, Codonopsis, Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Schisandra, Elder, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng, Withania Root, Ligustrum, Privet, Reishi, Goldenseal
AffinitiesEndocrine System, Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal System, Immune System, Respiratory System, Genitourinary System
Notable ConstituentsQuercetin, Caffeic & Cholorgenic Acids, Kumatakenin, Formononetin, Asparagine, Astragalin, Astragalosides, Saponins, Polysaccharides, Isoflavones, Glycosides. Polysaccharides (High Molecular Weight), Triterpenoid Saponin Glycoside (Astragalosides I-Vii), Flavonoid Glycosides And Aglycones, Phenolics, Phytosterols, And Essential Oil. Amino Acids (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, Canavanine) are also present
Herbal ActionsImmune Trophorestorative, Nutritive, Mucilaginous Expectorant, Hepatic, Cardiovascular Tonic, Alterative, Adrenal Tonic, Adaptogen, Hypoglycemic, Vasodilator, Antioxidant, Diuretic, Hepatoprotective, Hypotensive, Respiratory Tonic/Trophorestorative
Preparation Methodstincture, decoction, and powder
Honey Dry-Roasted

Medical Uses

  • An immune-building herb that supports the adrenals, astragalus has long been known to support healthy immune function and appropriate response to stress.
  • Immune-supportive, moistening, and expectorant, astragalus is particularly appropriate for warding off viruses like cold and flu which live in respiratory tissue.
  • Astragalus is helpful when we need to “lock down the periphery” – it helps to close the pores, protecting from “outside invasions” of opportunistic infections.
  • An important PREVENTATIVE herb during cold and flu season.
  • As a mild adrenal tonic and restorative adaptogen, astragalus is particularly nice for preventing opportunistic infections from gaining a foothold when stress levels are high. When we are under stress, our immune function goes down significantly; astragalus helps us to maintain effective defenses.
  • Astragalus also supports assimilation, and provides nutrition that stimulates the production of new blood cells, giving this herb a significant cardiovascular tonic action.


  • Powdered, dried root or as a decoction in the dosage range 10 to 30 g per day.
  • The adult dosage is 4 to 8 mL per day (30 to 60 mL per week) of the 1:2 fluid extract.
  • Tincture: 40-50% alcohol for the dried plant. 1:2-1:3
  • Strong decoction add 20-25% alcohol


  • Astragalus will reduce the effectiveness of immune-suppressing medications, and should not be taken concurrently with these drugs.
  • Astragalus is contraindicated for those with acute infections. Those with autoimmune conditions should speak with their healthcare provider before using astragalus, as it may stimulate immune function. Similarly, it may also interfere with drugs that are meant to suppress the immune system.

Botanical Information

HERBER ONLY CONTENT – Herbers get exclusive access to bonus content, Herbal Formulations, Herbal Preparations, 10% off all Creations, and more. If you are an Herber, please log in. If not, you can definitely get access! Become an Herber today.

Native Range: China, North Korea, and Mongolia; can be found in America, Europe, and other parts of Asia.
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 3 ft
Spread: 12 to 15 inches
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow-white
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Dry
Soil: Well-drained sandy loam, neutral to alkaline pH

Common Look-A-Likes: None found
Harvest Time: Spring or Fall; yr 4 or 5
Sustainability: No information was found
Environmental Connection: No information was found


Hand-drawn astragalus flowers and leaves by Debora J. Brown
Artwork by Debora J. Brown
Hand-drawn astragalus flowers, leaves, and roots by Debora J. Brown
Artwork by Debora J. Brown

Pet Information


Stay in the Loop!

Get updates and content delivered to your inbox. Subscribe now and you’ll receive a FREE copy of the Vit/Min Formula.

Leave a Reply