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Astragalus Therapeutic Uses and Precautions

Astragalus, also referred to as huang qi, is a member of the Leguminosae family of herbs. In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is considered to be one of the most important herbs for natural cures and home remedies. With over 2000 types of this particular root used throughout the world, Chinese astragalus is among the most popular for use in herbal treatments.

astragalus Astragalus Therapeutic Uses and Precautions

Scientific Name

Astragalus membranaceus


Commonly grown in China, Korea and Mongolia, Huang qi literally translates as ‘yellow leader’ in Chinese because of the root’s yellow hue. A perennial plant, astragalus can grow up to three feet tall. Its leaves grow forth from hairy stems, but it is only the root that is useful in medicinal treatments. The root is usually harvested from mature plants that are at least four years old.

Typical Preparations

The astragalus root can be boiled for use as a tea or a soup. It can also be taken in pill or capsule form and is frequently mixed with other strength building herbs, such as ginseng, licorice or angelica.

500-milligram capsules of this powerful herb four times each day is often prescribed for influenza treatments.

In Asian countries, astragalus is used in injectable treatments.

Common Uses

Astragalus is useful in the treatment of:

Astragalus is also believed to be useful as a support for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

The herb may also increase the usefulness of prescription strength antiviral medications.

For thousands of years, traditional Chinese herbalists have used astragalus root to significantly boost the body’s natural immunity and help in effectively thwarting harmful viruses. A particular variety of this herb, astragalus alson, enhances the production of macrophages (white blood cells), which endeavor to destroy and attack harmful bacteria and viral infections.

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An astragalus species known as locoweed, which is grown in the United States, should be avoided as it may have varied side effects that are different from other species of this herb.

Astragalus is not recommended for people who have undergone transplant surgeries, nor is it recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women. People who have been diagnosed with Chrohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus or psoriasis should only use astragalus under a doctor’s supervision.

People who are taking corticosteroid medications should also be advised that astragalus may interfere with the usefulness of these medications. It may also interfere with the effectiveness of pharmaceutical medications that are intended to suppress the immune system.

Astragalus and other herbs are effective health treatments if used with knowledge and wisdom. However, anyone who is under a doctor’s care for a serious ailment is advised to discuss the use of herbal treatments with their doctor before beginning an herbal regimen.

A professional, knowledgeable herbalist should also be visited for proper recommendations of herbal dosages when treating specific ailments.