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Herbal Ally :: Astragalus

Astragalus :: Underground Immune Boosting Powerhouse

We’re diving into our first Chinese herb: Astragalus. Traditionally known as Huang qi, or yellow leader, Astragalus is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs of Chinese medicine traditions. (1). This herb is revered for maintaining Qi (chee) or vitality as it strengths resistance (immunity).


Traditionally Astragalus has been added to soups, broths, boiling rice or made into a simple decoction. Never the star of a recipe but rather as a undercover opportunist to infuse it’s healing powers into our daily lives.




“Astragalus"


Latin: Astragalus monogholicus

Common Name: Huang Qi, Tongue depressors (due to the way the root is sliced)

Origins: Mostly cultivated in the northern hemisphere. Native to China, Mongolia, Korea, Siberia.

Good to Know:

We use the root of the Astragalus plant and it takes 4-7 years for a root to achieve maturity.


Herbal Actions: Adaptogen, Anti-diabetic, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Cardioprotective, Hepatoprotictive, Hypoglycemic, Immunomodulant, Neuroprotecgive, Restorative Tonic


Uses:
  • Adaptogen :: an herb used over long periods of time to help mitigate and manage stress and a balanced nervous system

  • Immunity :: TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) considers Astragalus as a friend of Qi or vitality. When are energy is strong our immunity is strong. This herb helps protect our internal Qi (Wei Qi) and in doing so creates resistance layers for the body to maintain wellness.

  • Lung Strength :: It helps chronically weak lungs and shortness of breath, dry coughs and those who experience frequent upper respiratory or asthma to strength the quality of the breath over time. In doing so this again, helps an individual keep the energy/vitality up

**Contraindications/Safety:

  • Astragalus has been shown to be safe for daily use. It may prevent challenges for those with late stage Lyme disease, immunosuppressive drugs.

  • There are over 2000 species in the Astragalus genus. Some Astragalus species are highly toxic. Please always buy your product from reputable sources to ensure you have the medicinal product.

  • Not to be used when someone is acutely sick or with infection



I’ve been sneaking Astragalus into all my winter dishes. It needs a long steep so it’s perfect for this earthy winter soup.


Herbal Carrot Soup w. Roast Pumpkin Seeds

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion Chopped

4 Cloves Garlic Minced

3 Tbsp Ginger Diced

2 Pounds of Carrots

4 Cups of Vegetable Broth

2 Bay Leaves

2 Astragalus Root Slices

1/2 Tbsp Ceylon Cinnamon (learn more)

2 teaspoons Salt


Toppings:

Raw Pumpkin Seeds

3 Green Onions


Slice carrots in 1/2 long ways (1/4 cut if needed). Toss in olive oil, sea salt, and light dusting of cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 30-45mins or until fork soft


After carrots are cooked, heat olive oil and add onions in a large pot. Place lid on the pot and allow onions to sweat for 2-4mins. Add ginger + garlic to pot.


Add broth, cooked carrots, bay leaf, astragalus, remainder of cinnamon and salt to the pot. Bring everything to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes for ingredients to come together.


Turn off heat. Using an immersion blender or pour soup into a blender. Using the puree button until its smooth. **I personally like to leave some of the onions in the pot to give some consistency/texture to the soup.


In the meantime chop green onions. Heat additional oil in a pan and lightly cook onions. Ensure you stir often to avoid over heating. Set aside

In the same pan without oil add pumpkin seeds to low heat. Stir consistently to allow the heat to lightly roast seeds (without burning). This helps to release the oils and properties of the seeds.


Dish soup into bowls. Top with pumpkin seeds and green onions. Option pinch of sea salt and swirl of cinnamon to top things off.


Side with a slice of fresh sourdough garlic bread and you've got yourself a rooted winter feast!


**Please use caution when introducing new herbs. Never blindly take herbal remedies without learning more about their constitutions and contraindications. It’s important to consult with your medical professionals to ensure that herbal allys you’re curious about will best support your overall well-being.


Sources:

(1) Herbarium, Astragalus Monograph - https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/1025


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