Astragalus, Huang-Qi, Yellow Vetch,
Milk Vetch Root, Yellow Emperor
Huang-Qi (Astragalus membranaceous) is a sprawling
perennial legume, with pea like flowers. It is a beautiful, yet short-lived plant that has long
been coveted by Asian cultures for its medicinal qualities.
Growing Info: Astragalus
seeds need to be scratched (scarified) before planting. Rubbing briefly between two pieces of
fine sandpaper works well for this. They are best planted in a slightly sandy starting mix using
a small peat pot or individual seed cell setup. Bottom water if possible and start your planting
sometime near mid February. It will then transplant well into your garden and produce pea-like
pods containing seeds in late summer of its first year.
Huang-Qi will grow to about 2 - 3 feet tall and likes
deep, sandy, well drained soil that is somewhat alkaline. A full sun location is
Standard Uses: Can be used
as an ornamental plant, but most common use is as a medicinal plant.
Medicinal Uses: The
Chinese have used Astragalus for many thousands of years as a superior tonic that is often
combined with Ginseng and
Codonopsis for replenishing a persons vital energy. The root of
this plant is said to strengthen the body's surface resistance and is supposed to invigorate and
promote tissue regeneration. It's also been seen as an immune system stimulant as well as a
protector of adrenal cortical function. Some say it shows promise for cancer patients undergoing
radiation and chemotherapy and may help fight against environmental allergies.
The plants are often planted yearly in batches so that
established plants can be harvested for their roots. Each year, existing perennial plants grow
larger and more woody. They should be harvested for the root by the fourth year.
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