Scientific: Astragalus membranaceus [WikiPedia]
Astragalus is also called huang qi or milk vetch. It
comes from a type of bean or legume. While there are multiple species
of astragalus, most astragalus supplements contain Astragalus
Appearance: 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.
Parts Used: The dried root in
the form of tea, encapsulated or as an extract. Powder is mildly sweet
and may be sprinkled on food or whipped into a shake or smoothie.
Common Uses: Astragalus has
been used for at least 2,000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, in
which it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs and is an
important tonic herb for maintaining vitality (qi) and strengthening
resistance (immunity). From a Western perspective, astragalus is useful
with a wide range of conditions, both preventively and as a treatment.
While we often think of it as an immune system modulator, useful with
many forms of cancer and especially to help support the body through
chemotherapy, it has many other applications for human, and canine
health as well. Even though astragalus is a powerful immune supporter,
it is not stimulating in the same sense as echinacea.
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
For respiratory combines well with coltsfoot, grindelia or mullein leaf.
For kidneys, couch grass, corn silk, pipsissewa and goldenrod. For
liver, cancer, or depressed immunity, dandelion, burdock, red clover,
licorice and alfalfa.
Topic Specific References:
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and
other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe
and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any
other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.
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