Astragalus Root

Astragalus Root

Astragalus membranaceus

Astragalus Root is an adaptogen, that will help the body deal with stress. It strengthens the immune system and will help ward off any infection or disease.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Hwanggi
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Root
  • Side Effects: None
Use left and right arrows to navigate between tabs. Plants Informations

About Astragulus

Astragalus is appraised as the big cheese in the world of herbalism due to the myriad of fringe benefits it confers. This grandee also sits proudly among the 50 fundamental herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Astragalus rolls in from the Fabaceae family and is marked by its highly aromatic vetch-like leaves and flowers that are reminiscent of peas. Its flowers come in various colors, including white, orange, and yellow.

Astragalus accounts for the treatment of a wide array of diseases like anorexia, fatigue, diarrhea, common cold, and heart diseases. The herb also improves the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections like tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and asthma. Also, astragalus is hailed as a potent immune-boosting plant at certain places.

With further clinical trials, astragalus has aced in stabilizing the blood sugar levels which makes it fruitful for diabetic patients. It outshines dramatically as doctors/pharmacists are readily prescribing astragalus as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of cancer as it inhibits the proliferation of cancerous cells in the body.

Astragalus roots are extremely celebrated as they are brimmed with isoflavonoids, polysaccharides, astragalosides, coumarins, amino acids, numerous trace minerals, and so forth.

Growing

Astragalus seeds are preferred to be started indoors but they can be started both indoors during late winters and outdoors by directly subjecting them to the garden bed after all the chances of frost are dead and buried. 

Growing Astragalus from seeds is a bit exasperating as the seeds demand at least 3 weeks of cold stratification to get on with germination. For indoor germination, the seeds are sown 3 inches deep in well-drained sandy soil or good quality pot mix. The soil is kept damp (not wet) until the seeds sprout.

The plant obliged to stay moist, especially in summers to avoid wilting. The plant can be mulched with compost to avoid water evaporation and help retain the water in the soil.

Even after the provision of extra-special treatment, astragalus seeds (being the big shot they are) take more than 9 weeks to sprout. After the strenuous germination, comes the part where they grow mega-slowly to reach a point to give the modestly usable size of roots.

Astragalus steps into its flowering phase in June and keeps up with the task till August. The hermaphrodite flowers invite bees, butterflies, and moths to help with the pollination.

After the pollination, the seeds form which are thankfully quick to ripe .i.e. from July till September. The seeds get dispersed from the parent plant to start their own life and keep the family chain thriving.

Harvesting

A newly born Astragalus plant does not equate with the idea of harvest. The plant should be at least two years old to render adequate root size and constituents that can be utilized in the making of medicine. 

On the other hand, the stem and leaves of this grandee aka Astragalus can be harvested in fall, but they aren’t much cheered as they do not impart any medicinal perk.

The roots of Astragalus are harvested by digging up the plant from the base of the stems. The required amount of Astragalus root is cut with a sharp pair of pruning shears.

Astragalus roots are dried in a clean, well-ventilated, and closed area, preferably away from the sun to preserve its active components. The roots are then chopped or grounded and stored in an airtight container for later use.

Usage

With the passage of time, the popularity of Astragalus is traveling past the borders of China and seeping in the West due to its highly beneficial medicinal perks.

  • Tincture - Infuse dried, chopped astragulus root in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - A teaspoon of dried astragalus root powder is simmered in water for 10 minutes to yield astragalus tea.
  • Decoction - Astragalus roots are paired with licorice roots and decocted for an hour to form the decoction.
  • Syrup - Dried astragalus roots are rolled to boil in water along with ginger and clove to form Astragalus syrup.
  • Infused oil - Astragalus roots are heated with a carrier oil for 6 to 8 hours to produce Astragalus oil.