In China, where it is a native plant, astragalus is known as Huang Qi which is translated to mean “Yellow Leader.” This title seems somewhat oxymoronic since it would be difficult to be both yellow (or cowardly) and a leader, unless you were a very poor leader, but I digress, which genies should be allowed to do.
Anyway, astragalus is an adaptogen that is a leader among tonic herbs and is anything but poor or cowardice in terms of it’s potency and benefits. Astragalus root has been used for centuries to expel pus and relieve pain. Chinese herbalists recommended astragalus for night sweats, asthma, coughing and diseases with chills and fevers.
Modern uses of astragalus include preventing liver and kidney damage due to long term use of medications. It is a known immune booster that helps prevent colds, flus, bronchitis, mononucleosis, pneumonia and other common ailments. Astragalus has been known to improve blood flow and increase stamina.
Other benefits attributed to astragalus include increasing appetite, improving recovery from chemotherapy and as a cure for hemorrhoids.
Recent research at the UCLA AIDS Institute focused on the function of cycloastragenol in the aging process of immune cells, and its effects on the cells’ response to viral infections. It appears to increase the production of telomerase, an enzyme that mediates the replacement of short bits of DNA known as telomeres, which play a key role in cell replication, including in cancer processes.
With such a broad array of benefits, you can easily see how astragalus received its name. It is a leader among herbs. The yellow part simply refers to the color of its root, but then you probably figured that out.