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Uses

Toxic parts

Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides[1]. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage[2]. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element[1].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Astragalus membranaceus.

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Astragalus membranaceus.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Huang Qi is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[3]. The root is a sweet tonic herb that stimulates the immune system and many organs of the body, whilst lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels[4]. It is particularly suited to young, physically active people, increasing stamina and endurance and improving resistance to the cold - indeed for younger people it is perhaps superior to ginseng in this respect[5]. Huang Qi is used especially for treatment of the kidneys and also to avoid senility[3]. The plant is often used in conjunction with other herbs such as Atractylodes macrocephala and Ledebouriella seseloides[4].

The root contains a number of bio-active constituents including saponins and isoflavonoids[6]. It is adaptogen, antipyretic, diuretic, tonic, uterine stimulant and vasodilator[3][5][6]. It is used in the treatment of cancer, prolapse of the uterus or anus, abscesses and chronic ulcers, chronic nephritis with oedema and proteinuria[7][3]. Recent research in the West has shown that the root can increase the production of interferon and macrophages and thus help restore normal immune function in cancer patients[5][6]. Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy recover faster and live longer if given Huang Qi concurrently[5]. The root of 4 year old plants is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[4][5]. The plant is antipyretic, diuretic, pectoral and tonic[3]. Extracts of the plant are bactericidal, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive[3].

Cardiotonic, vasodilator[7].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nitrogen fixer

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[8]. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate[8]. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing - but make sure that you do not cook the seed[9][8]. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours[9][8]. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 - 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh[9]. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Astragalus membranaceus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position[10]. Prefers a sandy slightly alkaline soil[4].

Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[4]. There is some disagreement over the correct name for this species, with several authorities seeing it as part of A. penduliflorus[11]. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small[8].

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[8]. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil[8].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Astragalus membranaceus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Astragalus membranaceus.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Astragalus membranaceus
Genus
Astragalus
Family
Leguminosae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
low
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.1 Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.53.6 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.54.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.5 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.3 Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila ISBN 92 9061 120 0 (1998-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.58.6 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    11. ? Yakovlev. G. Sytin. A. & Roskov. Yu. Legumes of Northern Eurasia Royal Botanic gardens, Kew. ISBN 0-947643-97-4 (1996-00-00)