The medicinal herb Astragalus as an alternative herbal remedy to enhance the immune system – Native to China, astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. A whole medical system that originated in China. It is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang. Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi.. In the United States, the herb gained popularity in the 1980s. Common Name–astragalus, bei qi (In traditional Chinese medicine, the vital energy or life force proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang.), huang qi, ogi, hwanggi, milk vetchLatin Name–Astragalus membranaceus, Astragalus mongholicus
Plant Description: Astragalus is a perennial plant, about 16 – 36 inches tall, that is native to the northern and eastern parts of China as well as Mongolia and Korea. It has hairy stems with leaves made up of 12 – 18 pairs of leaflets. The root is the medicinal part, and is usually harvested from 4-year-old plants.
- Huang qi (Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries as a natural rejuvenating tonic. Currently, much of the pharmacological research on Astragalus is focused on its benefits for the immune system (Wang DC. “Influence of Astragalus membranaceus (AM) polysaccharide FB on immunologic function of human periphery blood lymphocyte”. Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi 1989;11:180-183). The main constituents of Astragalus membranaceus include polysaccharides, saponins, flavonoids and amino acids. (Bombardelli E, Pozzi R. “Polysaccharides with immunomodulating properties from Astragalus membranaceus and pharmaceutical compositions containing them”. Eur pat 441278 A1;1994). Astragalus has also been studied for its ability to support lung health. (Niu HR, Lai ZH, Yuan L. “Observation on effect of supplementary treatment by Astragalus injection in treating senile pulmonary tuberculosis patients”. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 2001;21(5):349-350.)