Huang Qi is a popular Qi tonic (especially the wei qi). The large roots of Astragalus are sweet and slightly warm in energy. Plum Dragon Herb's Huang Qi roots are cut from the long robust plants with a nice yellow colored pith, and possess a nice sweetness when chewed. Huang Qi is known generally for its ability to increase energy and stamina, improve immunity and support the lung and spleen function. It is also traditionally used to support healthy aging, enhance athletic performance and to support the immune system.
At Plum Dragon Herbs, we are dedicated to providing our customers with only the best quality Chinese herbs. All of our herbs are geo-authentic, pesticide-free and sulfur-free. Order now and don't forget to check out our customer reviews to see what others are saying about the quality of this amazing herb. As always, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare practitioner before using any new herb.
High Quality Huang Qi: What does it look like?
When looking for high-quality Huang Qi (Astragalus), it is important to check for a few key characteristics:
- The root should be thick, straight, and uniform in color.
- It should be free from mold, rot, or other signs of damage.
- It should have a strong, woody aroma
- A good quality Huang Qi will have a smooth surface and will be relatively heavy for its size
It's important to note that the color of the root can range from light beige to dark brown depending on the variety and growing conditions. The shape and size of the root will also vary depending on the species of Astragalus used.
How is Huang Qi prepared and processed?
Astragalus membranaceus is a perennial herb that grows to about 2 feet. The Huang Qi herb grows in the northwest of China in the region that ranges from the Sichuan mountains to the Xinjiang plains. Its growing region also extends to the east and south to the Shangdong Peninsula. The growing region crosses into Russia as well. Astragalus prefers the habitats of thin, open wood; the forest edges; grasslands; and shrub thickets.
As a member of the pea family, astragalus seeds have hard, impermeable encasements. This hard seed coat can be lightly sanded with sandpaper or file and then soaked overnight in water to facilitate germination before planting. The Huang Qi herb grows best in full sun, in deep, well-drained and slightly alkaline soil.
Astragalus is a shrubby legume with pea-like, pastel flowers that produce small pods, and it is native to Mongolia and northern China. Many of the more than 2500 species of plants in the genus Astragalus produce similar fruits. The Huang Qi herb's name comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "anklebone." The Greeks used animal anklebones as dice, and the Astragalus pods, when dry, rattle with a sound like rolling dice.
Astragalus membranaceus has thick, fibrous roots. When the dark brown skin of the roots is peeled away, the inner portion is a pale, yellowish core. The herb's Chinese name is Huang Qi, which means "yellow leader," and refers to inner color of the root and also its status as one of the most important tonic herbs in Chinese Medicine.
The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing or The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica, a first century A.D. herbal compendium that documents 365 medicinal plants, provides the first written reference to its use. Many ancient Chinese herbalists revere the Huang Qi herb for its ability to stimulate the body's Qi or vital protective energy which is believed to help fight fatigue and strengthen immunity.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), astragalus root is often mixed with other herbs to prepare herbal remedies. The primary use for hundreds of years has been in fu zheng therapy, an herbal treatment designed to support and enhance body's natural defenses.
Astragalus is considered to be an adaptogen in Western herbal medicine, an herb that helps protect the body against physical, mental and emotional stress by supporting and strengthening the immune system.
Astragalus roots, that resemble tongue depressors, can be harvested by hand or via machine, in the fall season of the 4th or 5th year. After the roots are harvested, they are dried in shade and, then, sliced laterally along their length. Almost all Astragalus root production for medicinal purposes comes from Chinese herb farms.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Astragalus is often combined with other herbs or plants in a tea, tincture or capsule. It is also used in Chinese culture as a food and pieces of the dry root is added to soups, teas and other recipes.
Popular Recipes for Huang Qi
One of the most popular recipes using Astragalus (Huang Qi) is Astragalus Tea. To make it, you will need:
- 1-2 grams of Astragalus powder or slices
- 1 cup of hot water
- Add the Astragalus powder or slices to a cup of hot water.
- Let it steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Enjoy the tea while it's still warm.
Astragalus tea is a great way to incorporate the benefits of this powerful herb into your daily routine. It's easy to make and can be enjoyed hot or cold. You can also add other herbs or sweeteners, such as honey or ginger, to enhance the flavor.
Another popular recipe is Astragalus Butter:
- In a double boiler, gently warm 1 cup tahini and 7 tablespoons of pumpkin seed butter (available at health food stores).
- Stir in 3 tablespoons powdered Astragalus root.
- Add 3 tablespoons sesame oil and stir to smooth consistency. (If too stiff, add up to 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.)
This peanut butter substitute will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.
Safety Precautions for the use of Huang Qi
While it is considered safe when used as directed, there are some general safety precautions to keep in mind when using Huang Qi:
Common Names: Huang Qi, Astragalus Root, Astragalus Membranaceus; Astragali Radix
Properties: Sweet, slightly warm
Channels Entered: Spleen, Lung