With cold and flu season upon us, it’s a good time of year to get to know Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous). Astragalus has an extensive history of use as an immune booster. Not only does Astragalus build resistance to pathogens, it’s also an excellent tonic for recovering from illness. It warms the tissues and builds strength after periods of debility. It’s so strengthening, in fact, it is also considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Michael Tierra describes stimulant herbs as “Herbs that increase the energy of the body, drive the circulation, break up obstruction and warm the body.” (The Way of Herbs, 37). This is Astragalus all over. It stimulates and warms the body, building resistance to disease and general weakness. It brings energy and strength to all of the body systems, especially the lungs, blood, kidneys, and spleen. In addition to all of this, Astragalus balances and relieves fever conditions, and it improves digestion as well.
Like Ginger, Astragalus is often combined with other herbs to strengthen their effects. Ginger promotes absorption of nutrients while Astragalus increases the medicinal effect of other herbs in the formula.
Astragalus is delicious in soups and makes a tasty tea. Here are two simple recipes for adding Astragalus to your diet.
Simple Wintertime Immune Tonic
from Susan Wolfe
2 quarts water
1/2 cup raw honey (or to taste)
1. Place herbs and water in a pot. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cover and simmer until half the liquid has evaporated.
2. Remove from heat, stir in the raw honey and refrigerate.
Take 1 tablespoon daily for increased immune strength!
Chicken Astragalus Soup
from Dr. Tieraona Low Dog
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup chicken breast, sliced
4 cups prepared chicken broth
1 carrot, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup uncooked egg noodles
2 inches Astragalus root or 2 teabags Astragalus
1. Saute onion, garlic, and chicken in a small amount of olive oil in 2-quart saucepan for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add broth, carrot, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in noodles and Astragalus. Reduce heat to medium, put on lid, simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove Astragalus slices or tea bags. Serve warm.
You can also get a daily dose of this amazing herb with one of our favorite supplements, Astragalus Reishi by Oregon’s Wild Harvest. This supplement combines Astragalus and immune-boosting Reishi to increase stamina and energy. Reishi is an anti-inflammatory, immune-strengthening mushroom that helps us manage stress in a healthy way. What’s good for the adrenals is good for the immune system!
Have fun getting to know the wonderful herb Astragalus, and let us know if you have any questions!