Astragalus root comes from a perennial plant that is found across much of northern China and Mongolia. The herb is a staple of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), where it has been used for centuries as a superior tonic.*
Botanical name: Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch. Ex Link) Bunge
Common name: Astragalus
Synonyms: Membranous milkvetch, Huang qi
The Plant: "Huang qi," the pinyin name for astragalus is derived from Huang, meaning yellow (taken from the internal color of the root) and qi, meaning leader, which refers to the importance of astragalus root as a leading Chinese herbal tonic.* This leading, or superior, tonic herb has been known and valued in China for more than 2,000 years.* Astragalus grows naturally across a wide swatch of China, but the Chinese consider the cultivated root superior to the wild.
Astagalus is one of the largest genus of flowering plants, containing over 2,000 species. These members of the legume family are found all over the world (400 of them in the United States) in many sizes and shapes. Astragalus herb is a sprawling perennial that grows 1 1/2 feet tall and has small, yellow, pea-like flowers. The plants are generally four years old before the long, woody root is dug and dried in the sun.