Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is over 2000 years old. This medical system is one of the world’s oldest and it has remained popular in East Asia despite the emergence of Western Medicine. In fact, it has become more popular as it spreads to different parts of the world. People are attracted to it because of its holistic approach to healing. Chinese Medicine focuses on a person’s entire well-being since it is based balance, harmony, and energy.
One of the practices that TCM promotes is the use of herbal products to address health problems. The Astragalus plant (Astragalus membranaceus), which is also known as Huang Qi is a medicinal herb commonly used in Chinese Medicine. Its Chinese name is composed of two words. “Huang” means “yellow” which is the color of the “middle”, the “earth”, and the “spleen”. The second word “Qi” means superior. Therefore, as its name suggest, the Astragalus herb is considered as a superior herb used for tonification, a treatment used in TCM that replenishes and nourishes the yin and yang of the body, the qi, and the blood. It is used a tonic for the lungs and also for treatment of a number of ailments which includes diarrhea, postpartum fever, cough, colds, shortness of breath, fatigue, and nervous symptoms.
Characteristics of the Plant
The Astragalus Membranaceus (Mongolian milkvetch in English) is a medicinal herbaceous perennial that belongs to the pea family. This plant which has yellow or white flowers and leaves grows up to approximately 1.5 feet. The leaves with 10-18 pairs of leaflets are pinnately compound, alternate, and elliptically shaped. The yellow taproots of four to seven- year-old plants are used valued for their medicinal purposes. This herb is found in Northeast China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Siberia, and Korea. It is being cultivated mainly in China and Korea.
Modern Medicinal Value
Astragalus or Huang Qi is full of nutrients that can do wonders to the human body. No wonder, it is considered a superior herb in Chinese Medicine. A cup of Astragalus Root Tea is not only refreshing, it also cures, treats, strengthens, and energizes. Below is the list of the benefits one can get from drinking it regularly:
- It can help reduce physical and mental stress.
Astragalus is known as a potent medicinal herb that helps the body fight off stress and other diseases. According to a study, it may enhance spatial learning, improve memory, and reduce anxiety. It can also help treat behavioral and neurochemical impairments which are caused by stress.
- It improves sleep and helps treat sleep issues.
Stress and constant worrying about work can cause many of us sleep-less nights. A cup of Astragalus root tea can help ensure a good night’s sleep since it can treat insomnia, relax people who suffer from interrupted sleep, improve metabolism, and help balance the hormones.
- It has anti-aging properties.
The DNA is the most important component of all living things. This molecule provides directions on how to make proteins that are important in the growth, development, and overall health of the human body. It makes up all our cells. In order for us to live longer and delay the aging process, the vital information in the DNA and the cells need to be protected. This is what telomeres do. Without their protection, cells grow old and die. Telomeres are shorted by age and poor lifestyle. Astragalus can slow the process of aging by activating the telomerase enzyme production which is responsible for telomere regeneration.
- It is good for the heart.
Astragalus is good for cardiovascular health since it can improve heart function, provide protection against heart disease, and may help lower cholesterol levels. A study also found out that people who survived heart failure was able to recover more quickly as they received Astralagus along with the standard treatment.
- It strengthens the immune system and may give relief to cancer patients.
The immune system is responsible for guarding the human body against harmful bacteria, viruses, and germs that cause illnesses. Astragalus can help keep the immune system healthy and strong because of its strong antioxidant components which help the body correct or prevent cell damage. There are also evidences that suggest that it can increase white blood cells, the cells which are responsible in warding off many diseases. In fact, drinking Astragalus Root tea can benefit cancer patients as it helps repair an immune system weakened by cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.