Astragalus membranaceous
Milk Vetch Root, Huang-Qi

Astragalus membranaceous, Milk Vetch Root, Huang-Qi

This beautiful, herbaceous, short-lived perennial is one of the most important plants we grow. A hardy transplant, it will make pea-like pods containing seeds in late summer the first year. We make an annual planting of the “Yellow Emperor.” Each year it becomes larger and more woody, sprawling up to three feet. Harvest for root by the fourth year.

Grow specs: Best started in mid-February in a small cell. The seed needs to be scratched between two pieces of fine sandpaper, then planted. It likes to be bottom-watered while small. 2-3 feet. Deep, sandy, well-drained, somewhat alkaline soil. Full sun. Scarify seed.

A superior tonic root in Chinese medicine, Astragalus strengthens the body's surface resistance and is said to invigorate and promote tissue regeneration. As an immune system stimulant and protector of adrenal cortical function, it shows promise for cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, as well as for environmental allergies.   (Photo © Steven Foster)

Return to Chinese Seed List