Radix Astragali

Overview: Radix astragali ?? (Huán? Qíis also known by the common names Astragalus root, Milk-Vetch Root. Explanation of Name: about the reason why the herb is named ‘Huang Qi’, Li Shizhen (famous herbalist in Ming dynasty) put it this way, Huán? means “yellow” and Qí “the top one”. It is the top tonifying qi. The herb is the dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. Var. Mongholicus (Bge.) Hsiao or Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge., which are the plants of the family Fabaceae. Astragalus membranaceus is a flowering perennial herb. The four-year old roots are gathered in spring or autumn, but autumn ones are of better quality. After the fibrous roots have been removed, the roots are dried in the sun, soaked again in water, and cut into slices. It can be used raw or stir fried with honey. In TCM, this herb is sweet in flavor and slightly warm in medicinal properties; it belongs to the category of herbs that Tonify the Qi.

Properties as described in TCM: Radix astragali tonifies Qi and Blood, raises the Yang, strengthens the Spleen, nourish blood, tonifies Wei (defensive) Qi to stabilize the Exterior, tonifies the Lungs, generates Body Fluids, regulates water metabolism, promotes urination and reduces edema, dispels toxin, drains pus and healing boils to promote tissue regeneration, relieves numbness and pain. It can help sleeping  enhance energy and libido.

Modern pharmacological researches show: the herbenhances and regulates immune system, promotes the interferon system, and improves the body’s resistance to disease; promote metabolism, fight fatigue, increases stamina and endurance, facilitate the renewal of serum and liver protein, protects liver function, regulates blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, prolongs diuretic effect and reduces proteinuria. It also has activities of anti-inflammatory, anti-virus, anxiolytic, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-aging, anti-hypoxia, anti-radiation, memory improvement and lipotropic effects. In addition, Astragalus root has function of anti-platelet aggregation, improving blood rheology, promoting the production of blood cells, improving hematogenesis and anti-pulmonary hypertension.

Application: The herb is used in the treatment of variety of medical conditions such as for recovery from severe blood loss, deficiency of vital energy, weakness and fatigue, morbidity after stroke, chronic nephritis proteinuria, diabetes mellitus, chronic diarrhea, edema, abnormal uterine bleeding, poor appetite, prolapse, fever, spontaneous sweating, excessive sweating, frequent colds or shortness of breath, dampness in the head, chronic ulcerations and sores that either have trouble forming pus or have formed pus but are not draining well, sallow and dull complexion, Wasting and Thirsting disorder, Bi Syndrome (??bì zhèng ) with numbness of the limbs and paralysis. It is also used as a cardiotonic agent.

Radix astragali has multiple effects on cardiovascular system by enhancing myocardial contractility, protecting the myocardial cells, anti-arrhythmia, dilating coronary artery and peripheral blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, anti-platelet aggregation, and reduce thrombosis. Therefore, it has been used in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease, primary hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, arrhythmia and diabetes.

Ingredients. It contains 2?,4?-dihydroxy-5,6-dimethoxyisoflavone, choline, betaine, amino acids, sucrose, glucuronic acid, and trace amounts of folic acid, ?-sitosterol, linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Dosage and administration. For internal use: 10-15 g general and 30-120 g if necessary in decoction, or made into pills or powder. It is used directly in general, while for the purpose of nourishing qi and raising yang it is processed first with honey.

Special Precautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: there is no enough evidence about the safety of astragalus in humans during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, some research in animals suggests that astragalus could be toxic to the mother and fetus. Stay on the safe side and avoid use it. Precaution should be made for patients with auto-immune diseases and using immune modification therapy such as multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other auto-immune disease because Astragalus might make the immune system more active and interfere therapeutic effect. This could worsen the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. Avoid using Radix astragali if you have any of these medical conditions.

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