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All About Astragalus: the Many Benefits of This Oriental Oil

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Dr. Mercola.

By Dr. Mercola

What Is Astragalus Oil?

Astragalus oil comes from the root of a plant known as Astragalus membranaceus, which has various names like Huang Qi, Bei Qi and Hwanqqi.1 It is native to northern China and the elevated regions of the Chinese provinces like Yunnan and Sichuan.2

A member of the pea family, astragalus was coined “Huang Qi,” which means “yellow leader” because of its yellow root. The plant also has a sweet-smelling yellow blossom and a hairy stem and grows best in sandy, well-drained soil, under the sun.

The plant and its uses were discovered by a Chinese herbalist named Shen Nong nearly 5,000 years ago. He made a detailed record called "Shen Nong Pen Tsao Ching" (circa A.D. 100), which listed around 300 plants he discovered and served as a log of his research.3

Other varieties of astragalus can be found in Northern hemisphere countries with temperate climate like Mongolia,North Korea5 and Japan.6

Uses of Astragalus Oil

Chinese medical history attributes the use of astragalus to strengthen and replenish "qi," the body’s life force and protective energy or more commonly known as the immune system.7

There have been no studies reported about the cosmetic use of astragalus oil, so for now, it’s best to use it for massages.

Aside from oil, astragalus, particularly the root, can be made into other products like liquid extracts, tinctures, teas and creams (for topical use).8 Products that contain traces of the plant were proven useful in helping treat:

Chronic weakness Fatigue Weak digestion

Shortness of breath
Bloating Ulcers

Low immunity
Heart failure HIV/AIDS

Night sweats
Nephritis Low adrenal energy

Urinary tract infections
Chronic colds, allergies or flu prevention  

For other astragalus products, consider the recommended dosage amounts:

  • Tea/herbal decoction: Use 3 to 6 grams dried root per 12 ounces of water, thrice a day
  • Powdered root: Take 250 to 500 milligrams, three to four times per day
  • Capsules: Take two to three capsules (500 milligrams) per day9
  • Tincture and liquid extract: Take 2 to 4 milliliters (approximately 1/2 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon) three times a day
  • Ointment: 10 percent astragalus applied to the surface of the wound only (do not apply on open wounds without the advice of a health care practitioner)

Composition of Astragalus Oil

The astragalus plant contains the following components:

Polysaccharides Saponins Flavonoids

Amino acids
Trace elements Essential oils
Organic compounds like choline, betaine and gluconic acid
Minerals like zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, selenium and sodium
Dietary and crude fiber
Bitter compounds that increase the flow of urine
Mucilaginous compounds that enhance immune response10

However, in a study conducted by members of the academe of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran on another member of the astragalus family — astragalus maximus — they found a mixture of non-terpenoids, such as:

Phytol Benzaldehyde

1-dodecanol Acetophenone


Benefits of Astragalus Oil

Should you use any astragalus product, such as astragalus essential oil, here are some of its potential benefits:

Bolsters immune function Increases white blood cell count
Helps stimulate production of
Improves digestive health
Improves overall function of the heart and cardiovascular system
Promotes metabolic function
Helps manage diabetes
Promotes normal cholesterol levels
Enhances liver and kidney function
Assists in increasing bodily resistance to virus and bacteria
Helps cure stomach ulcers through the inhibition of gastric secretions and reduction of gastric acid

How to Make Astragalus Oil

If you want to make an astragalus oil infusion at home, follow this simple method:

  • Astragalus roots
  • Carrier oil (serves as your base; popular choices include sweet almond, coconut and olive oil)
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Unbleached cheesecloth, muslin or fine gauze
  • Double boiler or a crockpot
  • Glass jar for storage


  1. Combine the herbs and the oil in the double boiler. The ideal ratio would be 1 cup of carrier oil to every 1/4 ounce of astragalus.
  2. Heat slowly over low heat (140 degrees Fahrenheit) for six to eight hours.
  3. When done, strain the mixture and transfer it to a glass jar (or any container of your choice).11

Store your finished product for about six months in a jar in a cool, dark, and dry spot to ensure that the oil retains its aromatic and medicinal properties. Do not heat the oil in a microwave. This is not recommended for oral use.12

How Does Astragalus Oil Work?

Astragalus products like teas and capsules are usually taken internally, while the oil is best used topically. This is what the plant can potentially do for your body:

Help blood vessels to relax Lower blood pressure Helps stop fatty plaque deposits from clogging arteries so blood can move more freely
Enhances body energy (astragalus is an adaptogen) Aids in decreasing acidity level in the stomach Reduce blood sugar levels

Is Astragalus Oil Safe?

Although there are no major reports about the negative effects of astragalus, it is best to avoid consuming the plant or the oil if you are pregnant, breastfeeding have undergone transplant surgery or any surgery, or suffering from the following illnesses:

Autoimmune diseases

Multiple sclerosis

Rheumatoid arthritis
Type 1 diabetes Systemic lupus erythematosus

It is recommended that you consult a physician before using the plant orally, especially for children. While there have been no major reports about irritation from handling this plant, I advise that you take a skin patch test to determine any potential allergies.

Side Effects of Astragalus Oil

Even if there are no recorded incidents of the ill effects of astragalus, make sure to take note of the following potential side effects:

Increased visibility of pimples and blemishes for people with acne, ruddy
complexion or blood impurities
Increased effects of some antiviral medications such as acyclovir and interferon

Interference with actions of diuretics, phenobarbital, beta-blockers and anticoagulants
Rise in growth hormone levels
Allergic reactions (especially if you are allergic to members of the Leguminosae or pea family)
Counteracting of the immune-suppressing effects of cyclophosphamide, a medication used to reduce the chances of rejection in transplant recipients

Sources and References
1 E Vitamins, February 9, 2012
2 Asian Health Secrets, February 23, 2015
3 Natural Remedies
4 The Right Tea
5 Mountain Rose Herbs
6 Drugs.com
7 MD Idea
8 University of Maryland Medical Center
9 The Herbal Supplement Resource
10 The Oil Shoppe
11 Love to Know
12 Healthy New Age

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