Astragalus, Huang Qi, 黄芪, Astragalus membranaceus

Disclaimer    For educational purposes only.  Do not use as medical advice

AboutPlantsChinese MedicineCaution
Health Benefits
For: Chronic hepatitis • Fibromyalgia • Chronic fatique syndrom • Poor immune system • Cold/flu • Upper respiratory infection • Diabetes • Lower blood pressure

Attributes: Antioxidant • Immune System Booster • Diuretic • Anti-aging • Hypoglycemic • Hypotensive • Hepatoprotective

Products (online examples)


Root Slices





Root Slices


Research (sample)
Constituents:  Asparagine • Calycosin • Formononetin • Choline • Betaine • glucoronic acid • Saponins • Astragaloside • Isoflavones • Kumatakenin • Polysaccharides • Pterocarpans • Traces of coumarins

Photos (Click to enlarge)
Fun Facts
Other Names: Wolf's bane • Leopard's bane • Mountain tobacco • Mountain arnica
Plant Family: Asteraceae
Arnica flowers treat inflammation for mouth, throat and other sores. It's more commonly used for insect bits, muscle tightness, pain and bruises.  In Asia, the roots are more popular.  They are soaked in alcohol and the combination treats injuries and skin disorders.[Ref]
Arnica is listed in the following pharmacopeias: German Commission E 1992 • Martindale Extra Pharmacopoeis 1972
None noted
Astragalus membranaceus is NOT in the USDA database. 

USA: Astragalus membranaceus is not found in the wild.  

USDA Zones: 6-9

World: China, Korea, Mongolia

Habitats: Sandy soil, valleys and mountains

Properties, Actions, Indications, etc.              Category: Tonify Qi 
English: Astragalus    Pinyin:  Huang Qi      Pharmaceutical: Radix Astragali Membranacei  
Organs: Lung • Spleen  Temperature: Slightly warm  Taste: Sweet  Toxicity: None noted  
Patterns: Blood deficiency • Qi deficiency • Poor immune system 
Actions:  Tonify Qi • Tonify protective qi • Tonify blood • Raise stomach yang qi • Raise spleen qi • Relief Edema • Lung qi deficiency • Spleen qi deficiency • Improve urination
Indications: Poor urination • Unexplained sweating • Frequent cold/flu • Frequent upper respiratory infections • Edema • Weak • Fatigued • Sores • Ulcers • Shortness of breath
Contraindications: Autoimmune diseases • Exterior excess • Qi stagnation • Damp obstruction • Food stagnation • Yin deficiency
Typical Dosage: Small dosage boosts immune function, however, dosage > 28 grams might cause immunosuppression. Plants should be 4 years or older. [ref]
Parts Used: Roots (4 or more year old plants)  
Combine With Purpose
Ren Shen Qi deficiency: fatigue, unexplained sweating, loss of appetite
Fu Zi Yang deficiency: unexplained sweating
Bai Zhu Spleen qi deficiency: loose stool, diarrhea, weakness
Dang Gui Blood deficiency: fatigue, mild fever, thirsty, numbness, obstruction
Sheng Ma + Chai Hu Sunken Spleen qi: rectal prolapse, uterine bleeding, uterine prolapse
Fang Feng + Bai Zhu Exterior deficiency from weak protective qi: unexplained sweating
Gui Zhi Qi and blood deficiency, weak protective and nutritive qi: numbness of body parts
Shan Yao + Sheng Di Huang Diabetes
Qiang Huo + Jiang Huang Bi syndrome
Dang Gui +Tao Ren + Hong Hua For healing qi deficiency and blood stasis after a stroke
Sheng Di Huang + Huang Bai Yin deficiency: night sweats
Mu Li + Fu Xiao Mai Unexplained day sweating that worsens at night
Han Fang Ji + Fu Ling + Gui Zhi Swelling of hands and feet
Dui Yao Pairs Purpose
Huang Qi + Mu Li Yang, Qi and Yin deficiency: night sweat and unexplained sweating
Huang Qi + Zhi Fu Zi Yang collapse
Huang Qi + Fang Ji Wei Qi deficiency: Wind edema and Bi Syndrome
Formulas with Dang Gui

Ai Fu Nuan Gong Wan • An Chong Tang • An Tai Yin • Bao Chan Wu You Fang • Bao Yuan Tang • Bu Fei Tang • Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang • Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang • Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang • Dang Gui Yin Zi • Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang • Gu Ben Zhi Beng Tang • Gu Chong Tang • Gui Pi Tang • Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu TangHuang Qi Jian Zhong Tang • Ju Yuan Jian • Juan Bi Tang • Mu Li San • Ren Shen Bu Fei Tang • Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang • Shen Qi Si Wu Tang • Sheng Yu Tang • Shi Quan Da Bu Tang • Tai Shan Pan shi San • Tong Ru Dan • Wu Tou Tang • Yu Ping Feng San • Yu Ye Tang • Zai Zao San

Be cautions with all medicine.
  • Dosage greater than 29 mg may cause immunosuppression.  
  • Huang Qi is a diuretic and may interact with other diuretic drugs.
  • Avoid use after an organ transplant because of its immunostimulant effects.
Potential Drug Interactions

Herbal medicine may interact negatively with pharma drugs and other herbs.  Examples below:

Herbs: ♦Huang Qi is antagonized by Bai Wei, Chuan Xiong, Xi Xin, Xing Ren, and Xuan Shen ♦ Huang Qi is counteracted by Kuan Dong Hua ♦ Diuretic: heal all ♦ Hypotensive: ginseng, goji berry, cinnamon ♦ Antidiabetic: Mei Gui Hua, Du Zhong, Dang Shen, HuoLong Guo, rougui, Celery, Chamomile, Moringa Tree, Basil, Ku Gua, Hibiscus, Gou Qi Zi, Ju Hua, Xia Ku Cao, Dang Gui, Zhi Mu, Shi gao, Xuan Shen, Cang Zhu, Shan yao, Huang Qi, Artichoke

Pharma Drugs:♦ Astragalus may interact with immunosuppressive drugs like cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, basiliximab, cyclosporine,, daclizumab, and more ♦ Diuretic: Lithium, Acetazolamide, Aldactone, Amiloride Hydrochloride, Bumex, Diuril, Diulo, Demadex, Dyrenium, Edecrin ♦ High blood pressure: captopril (Capoten), benazepril (Lotensin), Perindopril (Aceon), irbesartan (Avapro), telmisartan (Micardis), valsartan (Diovan), acebutolol (Sectral), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor), amlodipine (Norvasc), felodipine (Plendil), verapamil (Calan), labetalol (Trandate)

Information in this post came from many sources, including class notes, practitioners, websites, webinars, books, magazines, and editor's personal experience.  While the original source often came from historical Chinese texts,  variations may result from the numerous English translations.   Always consult a doctor prior to using these drugs.  The information here is strictly for educational purposes. 

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