Jess says: One of my most important Chinese herbs, astragalus is in most of my Chinese herbal prescriptions, and is a must for any of my patients with low energy or serious health complaints. 

It’s a wonderful restorative and energising herb that I have seen give great results for fatigue, preventing infection and helping the immune system. It’s also traditionally used for prolapses and I have seen an improvement in many women’s symptoms, particularly of heaviness and dragging sensations, when taking this herb for a few months. 

Astragalus membranaceous (aka Huang Qi or Milkvetch) is a traditional Chinese herb, thought to nourish the Qi (energy) and blood. It’s primary use is as an immune tonic and for treating fatigue, bruising and prolapses. 

Astragalus’s benefit to the blood is confirmed in a small study of chronic aplastic anaemia, a severe blood deficiency disease, where it significantly improved blood and immune system markers and improved bone marrow function (where our blood is made).1

It’s also used for dizziness and fatigue, and to treat people who bruise easily and to relieve bleeding, rectal and uterine prolapses, frequent infections, water retention and oedema (excess fluid in the body), to help ulcers and wounds heal, and for long term numbness or paralysis. Several studies show that astragalus can significantly help to relieve fatigue from different causes, including post-stroke2 and in patients with chronic fatigue (combined with Chinese sage, Dan Shen).3

Astragalus is also thought to improve the physical symptoms of exhaustion, shortness of breath and wheezing, and is used in Chinese medicine as a lung tonic. A small study on children with asthma taking astragalus showed that it was an effective therapy, when taken throughout the year, to prevent asthma symptoms and improve immune system markers for asthma.4 Patients with severe episodes of COPD (lung disease) had an improvement in lung function when taking astragalus for 14 days.5

References and Links:

  1. Clinical study on effect of Astragalus Injection and its immuno-regulation action in treating chronic aplastic anemia
  2. Effects of the traditional Chinese herb Astragalus membranaceus in patients with poststroke fatigue: A double-blind, randomized, controlled preliminary study
  3. Myelophil, an extract mix of Astragali Radix and Salviae Radix, ameliorates chronic fatigue: a randomised, double-blind, controlled pilot study
  4. [Clinical study of astragalus’s preventing the recurrence of asthma in children]
  5. Milkvetch root improves immune function in patients with acute exacerbation of COPD