Astragalus membranaceus Open-pollinated. Safe effective adaptogenic tonic to use daily throughout the year, aiding digestion and promoting immune system health (wei qi). Called huang qi in Chinese and Chinese Milk Vetch Root in English. Especially good for vegetarians. Also used in cases of exhaustion, food allergy or depression, and to increase assimilation, improve digestion, and eliminate excess fluids. In his book Healing Lyme Stephen Harrod Buhner makes a convincing case that astragalus can prevent and treat the many and varied symptoms of Lyme disease. Small yellow pea-like flowers on upright stems with vetch-like leaves. 1½–4' perennial. Plant in deep well-drained slightly alkaline soil. Harvest 4- to 6-year-old roots in fall. Zone 4. ~250 seeds/g. ②
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.