Astragalus belongs to the fabaceae family of plants and is quite easy to grow. Also known as milk vetch, this and other pea family plants are good nitrogen fixers that form a relationship with Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium bacteria in the soil. Nodules that form on the plant’s roots turn nitrogen gas into nitrates that feed the plant.
A famous herb in the treasure troves of Tradtional Chinese Herbal Medicines, Astragalus is known as Huang Qi and a revered Qi Tonic. The medicinal roots of Astragalus provide immune support through immunomodulation, make a great lung tonic and serve as an herbal adaptogen by helping an individual adapt to stress overall. Astragalus is also antiviral and antibacterial and a reliable wellness support through cold winter seasons.
The many healing virtues of this plant were brought west in the mid twentieth century and today it can be found in many healing formulations throughout North America for stress, immune support and degenerative diseases including cancer and Lyme disease. Astragalus would be an excellent plant to include in the garden for helping to sustain overall wellness and vitality.