Astragalus Root Use: How To Grow Astragalus Herb Plants

Astragalus Root Use: How To Grow Astragalus Herb Plants

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By: Laura Miller

Astragalus root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. While this herbal remedy is considered safe, there haven’t been sufficient studies to prove Astragalus benefits to those who take it. With over 2,000 species of Astragalus, it’s also important to note that some of these species are toxic. If you plan on growing Astragalus, be sure to acquire seeds or plants from a reputable source.

Astragalus Benefits

Also called Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Ogi, Hwanggi, and milk vetch, Astragalus root has been used for a number of illnesses including:

  • Anorexia
  • Blood sugar control
  • Cancer therapy
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart Disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Upper respiratory infections

Also believed to stimulate the immune system, improve kidney function, and prevent senility Astragalus root is one of the 50 fundamental Chinese herbs. Clearly more studies are needed to prove the usefulness of this herb in Western medicine.

NOTE: Before using Astragalus herb plants or commercially prepared Astragalus supplements, it’s advisable to consult healthcare providers.

How to Grow Astragalus

Growing Astragalus from seed is more difficult than other herbs. The seeds require a minimum three week cold stratification period. To further aid germination, soak the seeds in water or scarify the seed coat with fine grade sandpaper before sowing. Seeds can take as long as nine weeks to sprout.

Astragalus herb plants can be directly seeded in the garden, but the general recommendation is to give them a head start by sowing indoors during late winter. Transplant seedlings as soon as danger of frost has passed. Astragalus forms a taproot and older plants don’t transplant well.

Here is more info on growing Astragalus conditions:

  • Location – Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil – Well-drained sandy loam, neutral to alkaline pH
  • Moisture preference – Dry
  • USDA hardiness – Zones 5-9
  • Plant height – 4 feet (1.2 m.)
  • Plant spacing – 12 to15 inches (30-38 cm.)
  • Flower period – June to August
  • Flower color – Yellow-white
  • Lifespan – Perennial

Harvesting Astragalus Root

The roots are the medicinal part of Astragalus herb plants. While it can take anywhere from two to four years for the taproot to grow to a usable size, roots of any age can be harvested. Older roots are considered more potent.

Harvest Astragalus in the fall by first removing the foliage and stems. The Astragalus herb plants have no medicinal value and can be composted or discarded. Next, carefully dig around the base of the stem to expose the taproot. Continue digging and twisting until the majority of the root can be extracted from the ground.

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Astragalus Species, Chinese Astragalus, Chinese Milkvetch

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Astragalus (ass-TRA-gal-uss) (Info)
Species: mongholicus
Synonym:Astragalus membranaceus
Synonym:Astragalus membranaceus var. mongholicus
Synonym:Astragalus membranaceus f. propinquus
Synonym:Astragalus mongholicus var. dahuricus
Synonym:Astragalus penduliflorus var. membranaceus


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Where to Grow:


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Seed Collecting:


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Aug 19, 2014, Lodewijkp from Zwolle,
Netherlands (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very easy to germinate from seed.. it's almost like an annual

just soak them for a few days in water , often they will germinate in the water. if they do not swell up after a few days you have to use sand paper and rub the coating away the prevents water from entering the seed.

Very fast growing, in 6 months both 3 my astragalus are about 3.5 foot height ( 3 growing in one 15 litre container ). They are drought tolerant but do need watering in prolonged hot weather. slugs and insects LOVE this plant, do not plant it next to moist spots in the garden. i had 8 plants but 5 got DECIMATED by slugs and insects.

im growing it for medicinal value but im pleased with the overall ornamental value. you can also use the leaves instead of the roots. I ger. read more minated them indoors, they never had any pests , mites or any other problems. They could possibly be grown as indoor plants ( they do need cool temperatures in winter ) , since they are hardy to around -15C i rather have them outdoors and grow non hardy plants indoors.

On Jan 28, 2009, TwistedCreek from Hillsboro, OH wrote:

Scarify the seed by rubbing it between two pieces of sandpaper. Either plant in Spring, or start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last Spring frost.

Dried root is a terrific immune stimulant. No known toxicity.


  • 1 Description
  • 2 Ecology
  • 3 Taxonomy
  • 4 Selected species
  • 5 Uses
    • 5.1 Traditional medicine
    • 5.2 Phytochemicals and supplements
    • 5.3 Side effects and toxicology
    • 5.4 Ornamental use
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Milkvetch species include herbs and shrubs with pinnately compound leaves. There are annual and perennial species. The flowers are formed in clusters in a raceme, each flower typical of the legume family, with three types of petals: banner, wings, and keel. The calyx is tubular or bell-shaped. [5] [6]

Astragalus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including many case-bearing moths of the genus Coleophora: C. cartilaginella, C. colutella, C. euryaula, and C. onobrychiella feed exclusively on Astragalus, C. astragalella and C. gallipennella feed exclusively on the species Astragalus glycyphyllos, and C. hippodromica is limited to Astragalus gombo.

The genus was formally described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum. [7]

The name Astragalus is Greek, an old name for this group of plants which were believed to have a positive effect on goat milk production. [8]

Medicinal properties of Astragalus

Medicinal properties of Astragalus (according to the literature) the first said and began to apply the Scythians. They called this plant the Royal grass or herb of immortality.

But today it is believed that medicinal herb Astragalus rejuvenates the body, relieves senile weakness, has a significant effect in fatigue, physical stress, increases vitality, and thus prolong life.

Through a unique combination of chemical composition, conventional medicine has developed on the basis of the Astragalus, the number of drugs used to treat the cardiovascular system and blood clotting.

The content of isoflavone delays the development of tumors, and increased amounts of selenium positively affects the whole body. Modern medicine today special attention is paid to all plants that contain selenium. It is not a secret that the deficit of selenium in organs and tissues greatly reduces the body’s resistance to cardiovascular and oncological diseases. So, the amount of selenium in Astragalus — one of the Champions among the herbs!

Infusions and decoctions of Astragalus are used in diseases of the liver and kidneys, as a sedative, to lower blood pressure, expansion of coronary vessels, etc. Today at drugstores you can buy «Syrup-Astragalus», infusions, ointments, creams, entitled «Astragal».

Finished products on the basis of Astragalus used in cosmetics: they smooth wrinkles, give the skin elasticity, relieve boils, abscesses and purulent abscesses.


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Astragalus membranaceus

Family: Fabaceae

Part used: Root

Energetics: Sweet, warm, moist

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardiotonic, immune amphoteric, nutritve tonic

Astragalus, part of the pea family, is a perennial that we grow here on the farm. We harvest the roots in its third year to make into tincture or dry for teas, soup stocks, syrups and elixirs. Astragalus is a great herb to use when building back strength and vitality. I like to use it as immune support to help prevent colds and flu and help with allergies. Astragalus is a rejuvenative herb for when you are depleted and weak, helping restore vitality and energy. Helps improve digestion, nutrient absorption and cardiovascular function. This is a great front-line herb for immune support and preventive care.

Contraindications: None known.

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Watch the video: Top 10 Astragalus Huang Qi Benefits u0026 Uses