TCM practitioners may use astragalus to boost overall vitality, build the blood, balance hormones, or to improve circulation. It has been used for centuries in TCM as a restorative tonic for the aged and debilitated.
Astragalus is also widely known for its ability to stimulate the immune system. It may aid the body’s defense system so that it may more effectively ward off pathogens.
In TCM it is said to build the Wei Qi (pronounced “way chi”) which is the TCM way of describing the out-barrier protective function of your body. Imagine it as an energetic barrier that is a part of and just beyond your skin; it is the qi that protects your body from outside influences, such as the wind, the cold, and illness. Astragalus is said to strengthen this Wei Qi to help keep you more protected, particularly during the time of year when your body is more susceptible to illness, such as fall and winter.
In addition, astragalus is included in the database of the National Cancer Institute as an herb that can inhibit tumor growth. Astragalus may be beneficial for individuals with cancer as it may reduce possible adverse side effects of chemotherapy and may aid in cancer recovery.
Other possible conditions in which astragalus may be beneficial include AIDS, blood loss (recovery from), bone marrow depression, frequent colds, diabetes, edema, exhaustion, hepatitis, hypertension, weakened immunity, lung weakness, night sweats, prolapsed organ, poor sperm motility, slow-healing wounds, and wasting diseases.
As a tonic herb, the best way to use astragalus is to have a little bit of it every day, to continually strengthen the immune system. We prefer to add it to home-made bone broth which is sipped every day or used for cooking other foods such as home-made soups and stews.
As a precaution, in TCM, once you come down with an illness, particularly a cold or a flu where a fever is present, it is not advisable to continue the use of astragalus as it may prevent the body from ‘sweating out’ the illness.
Latin Name: Astragalus membranaceus, Astragalus hoangtchy, Astragalus mongolicus
Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Parts Used: Root
Energetics: sweet, warm, moist
Actions: adaptogen, adrenal tonic, antiviral, blood tonic, chi tonic, digestive, diuretic, hypotensive, immune stimulant, tonic, vasodilator
Preparation & Dosage:
Decoction – Astragalus is traditionally added to soups and strews to infuse every-day meals with it’s immune-enhancing qualities. Add a few pieces to each pot of soup or stew you make to allow it to simmer.
(Try our Immune Soup Mix bags!)
To make on it’s own, simmer 2-3 pieces in 16 oz water on the stove for 30 minutes-1 hour. Strain and drink. We recommend adding other