Tips for using astragalus in herbal medicine and home remedies

Astragalus root is an adaptogenic herb that helps heal any condition that is present in the body. It adapts to your needs! Astragalus increases the body’s resistance to stress. Used for many purposes, the root is extremely useful during the cold and flu season. Regular use of astragalus builds immunity and it also helps rid the body of viruses. It is best to take it before you get sick, ensuring strong immunity to fight off sickness. Astragalus should not be taken when fever is present.

This healthy woman has built up her immunity with astragalus.
© Tomi Tenetz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This woman prepared for cold and flu season by building up her immunity with astragalus root.


Use dried astragalus root for building immunity.

Astragalus has been used as a popular treatment in Asia for many centuries. Native to the northern regions of China, the herb is known as Huang Qi. The Chinese people gather wild astragalus roots in the springtime and dry them for seven years before use in medicinal tonics.

Use astragalus for everything from adrenal exhaustion to ulcers.

Astragalus root is used in the treatment of immune system, stress related conditions, high blood pressure, common colds, flu, sore throat, night sweats, fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach ulcers, circulation problems, fluid retention, hormone imbalances, Alzheimer’s disease, chemotherapy symptoms, and diarrhea. It is a good antioxidant that nourishes the adrenal glands and enhances adrenal function. Astragalus is considered an anti-clotting agent and can help prevent coronary heart disease. This amazing herb also speeds up a slow metabolism rate and is useful in the treatment of obesity.

Astragalus builds up the immunity.

Some of the compounds in the root include flavonoids, polyphenols, and beneficial minerals including iron and zinc. Astragalus is a wonderful immune enhancing herb. It is a strong anti-viral agent, working to produce extra interferon in the body. Astragalus is known to counteract immune suppressing effects of some cancer drugs. According to various studies, astragalus appears to restore T-cell counts to normal in cancer patients. More scientific testing is underway and hopes are high that the herb can help treat HIV patients.

Astragalus roots should be taken daily for six weeks.

I usually start my six week immunity building routine in late summer and am ready to fight off colds and flu by the end of October. I take astragalus root several times a day from the first of September to the middle of October. Fresh astragalus root should be cooked before use.

Growing your own astragalus plants.

In the United States, astragalus is sometimes called “milk vetch” but this is inaccurate since many vetches are toxic to humans. Astragalus and vetch are both in the same plant family as peas. Seed should be scratched or “scarified” before they are planted indoors in spring and may take up to ten weeks to germinate. When chances of frost are past, plants should be set out in a sunny garden or cultivated bed. Astragalus plants prefer dry, sandy soil but will tolerate a heavier loam. In the wild, astragalus is often found growing in meadows, mountain thickets, and evergreen forests although it does best in a sunny area. Once this perennial plant is established, it does not like for its roots to be disturbed. Roots harvested for medicinal purposes should be grown at least four years before harvesting. If you find the plant difficult to grow, remember that members of the pea family require beneficial bacteria to be present in the soil. Also try adding a little lime to raise ph levels to neutral or slightly alkaline.

* Never take astragalus root when feverish as it may raise body temperature. Astragalus plants produce a gummy sap that may cause rash or bring on asthma attacks in some individuals. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medications.

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Herb Articles by Janice Boling

"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... , herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer

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