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Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Astragalus membranaceus


Names: Milk-vetch root, huang qi

Part Used: Root.

Constituents: Glycosides, Polysaccharides, choline, betaine, rumatakenin, [[beta]]-sitosterol

Actions: Immunomodulator
Indications: Used since ancient times in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has become an important remedy in the west since its effects upon the immune system came to light. As the power of immunological research is focused on medicinal herbs a whole new array of effects are being discovered. The polysaccharides in Astragalus have been shown to intensify phagocytosis of reticulo-endothelial systems, stimulate pituitary-adrenal cortical activity and restore depleted red blood cell formation in bone marrow. Astragalus is also one of the herbs known to stimulate the bodies natural production of interferon. The therapeutic potential offered is very exciting. The conclusion being drawn by most western herbalist's is that Astragalus is an ideal remedy for anyone who might be immuno-compromised in any way. This can range from someone who easily `catches' colds to someone with cancer.

Preparations & Dosage:

Decoction: put l teaspoonful of the root into a cup of water, bring to boil and simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Astragalus:

Astragalus, Chai ZN [Effects of Codonopsis pilosular-Astragalus injection on the cyclicnucleotide levels and phosphodiesterase activity in platelets]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1984 Aug) 4(8):486-7 (Published In Chinese)Chai ZN [Effects of Codonopsis pilosulae-Astragalus injection on superficial activity and ultrastructure of platelets]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1984 Aug) 4(8):484-5 (Published In Chinese) Chang CY Hou YD Xu FM [Effects of Astragalus membranaceus on enhancement of mouse natural killer cell activity]

Chung Kuo I Hsueh Ko Hsueh Yuan Hsueh Pao (1983 Aug) 5(4):231-4 Chen LJ Shen ML Wang MY Zhai SK Liu MZ [Effect of Astragalus polysaccharides on phagocytic function in mice(author's transl)]

Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao (1981 Sep) 2(3):200-4 (Published In Chinese) Chu DT Lepe-Zuniga J Wong WL LaPushin R Mavligit GM Fractionated extract of Astragalus membranaceus, a Chinese medicinal herb, potentiates LAK cell cytotoxicity generated by a low dose of recombinantinterleukin-2.

J Clin Lab Immunol (1988 Aug) 26(4):183-7 Chu DT Wong WL Mavligit GM Immunotherapy with Chinese medicinal herbs. II. Reversal of cyclophosphamide-induced immune suppression by administration of fractionated Astragalus membranaceus in vivo.

J Clin Lab Immunol (1988 Mar) 25(3):125-9 Chu DT Wong WL Mavligit GM Immunotherapy with Chinese medicinal herbs. I. Immune restoration of local xenogeneic graft-versus-host reaction in cancer patients by fractionated Astragalus membranaceus in vitro.

J Clin Lab Immunol (1988 Mar) 25(3):119-23 Dong DC Zhou LF Chen JX [Changes in proteinuria, renal function and immunity after treatment withinjections of a solution of Astragalus membranaceus]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1987 Jul) 7(7):403-4, 388 (Published InChinese) Geng CS [Advances in immuno-pharmacological studies on Astragalusmembranaceus]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1986 Jan) 6(1):62-4 (Published In Chinese) He ZP Wang DZ Shi LY Wang ZQ Treating amenorrhea in vital energy-deficient patients with angelicasinensis-astragalus membranaceus menstruation-regulating decoction.

J Tradit Chin Med (1986 Sep) 6(3):187-90 Hikino H Funayama S Endo K Hypotensive principle of Astragalus and Hedysarum roots.

Planta Med (1976 Dec) 30(4):297-302 Li WS Liao JZ Yue ZS Liu XF Wu ZM Kang TP Effects of codonopsis pilosula-astragalus injection on platelet aggregationand activity of PGI2-like substance.

J Tradit Chin Med (1986 Mar) 6(1):9-12 Liao JZ Chai ZN Li WS Liu XF Wang S Qin L Guo WQ Pharmacologic effects of codonopsis pilosula-astragalus injection in thetreatment of CHD patients.

J Tradit Chin Med (1988 Mar) 8(1):1-8 Pan SY [Pharmacological action of Astragalus membranaceus on the central nervoussystem in mice]

Chung Yao Tung Pao (1986 Sep) 11(9):47-9 Ponomarenko AP [The effect of astragalus on the functional status of the liver in patientswith chronic circulatory insufficiency]

Vrach Delo (1966 Apr) 4:72-4 Published In Russian Qian ZW Li YY [Synergism of Astragalus membranaceus with interferon in the treatment ofcervical erosion and their antiviral activities]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1987 May) 7(5):268-9, 287, 259 Shen ML [Biological activities of Astragalus polysaccharides]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1984 Oct) 4(10):615-7, 581 Skakun NP Blikhar EI Oleinik AN [Use of Astragalus dasyanthus in lesions of the liver in patients withpulmonary tuberculosis]

Vrach Delo (1988 Jun) (6):51-4 Published In Russian Sun Y Hersh EM Lee SL McLaughlin M Loo TL Mavligit GM Preliminary observations on the effects of the Chinese medicinal herbs Astragalus membranaceus and Ligustrum lucidum on lymphocyte blastogenicresponses.

J Biol Response Mod (1983) 2(3):227-37 Wang DY Yang WY [Effect of Astragalus polysaccharides on ribonucleic acid metabolism of spleen and liver cells of mice]

Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao (1982 Sep) 3(3):204-7 (Published In Chinese) Wang DY Zhang W Xu GY [Protective effect of Astragalus polysaccharide on ribonucleases and theribonuclease inhibitor system]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1987 Feb) 7(2):93-6, 70 (Published InChinese)

Zhang YD Shen JP Song J Wang YL Shao YN Li CF Zhou SH Li YF Li DX

[Effects of Astragalus saponin 1 on cAMP and cGMP levels in plasma and DNA synthesis in the regenerating liver]

Yao Hsueh Hsueh Pao (1984 Aug) 19(8):619-21 Zhang YK Wang HY Wang SX [The effect of the Chinese medical herbs Astragalus membranaceus and Angelica sinensis on 3 kinds of experimental nephritis]

Chung Hua Nei Ko Tsa Chih (1986 Apr) 25(4):222_5, 254 Zhao YH [Preliminary observation on the therapeutic effect of Astragalus membranaceus in experimental anti-glomerular basement membrane nephritis in rabbits]

Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (1983 Sep) 3(5):302-3 (Published InChinese)

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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