Astragalus membranaceus is also known as milk vetch, yellow vetch, poison vetch, locoweed (crazy-weed), Chinese astragalus, Huang Ch’i. There are many species of astragalus, and the “crazy” behavior of animals feeding on it, may be the result of excessive vanadium. Beneficial compounds are isoflavones, triterpenoid saponins including astragalosides I to VIII, soya saponogels, astramembrannins, polysaccharides, betaine, choline and kumatakenin.
- Immune stimulant. It increases interferon production and white blood cell activity, and protects against viruses including the common cold.
- Antistress agent. It improves endurance during work or exercise, and it increases tolerance to physical, mental or environmental stress.
- Cardiovascular tonic. It possesses a vasodilatory effect, which is known to reduce blood pressure. It also has a cardiotonic effect which enhances muscle contraction, a useful property in cases of convalescence, exhaustion and fatigue
- Diuretic. It is a gentle diuretic, beneficial in cases of kidney inflammation.
Caution: No contra-indications are known, except for the excess of vanadium in some species.