Jul 13, 2023

Top Health Benefits of Astragalus

Dried Astragalus root

Scientific/Latin name: Astragalus membranaceus

Also known as: Huang Qi, Milkvetch, and Yellow Leader. (You might also come across the name Astragalus mongholicus, which is another species of Astragalus traditionally used in Mongolia.)

Native to: China and South East Asia

Parts used: Root

Top benefits: Adaptogenic, Immune Support, Antioxidant Protection, and Anti-Inflammatory

Astragalus Plant

The History of Astragalus

With a history of use dating back over 2,000 years, Astragalus is one of the key herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), categorized in the highest class of potency in this ancient traditional system of medicine.

Astragalus eventually made its way into Western herbal medicine practices, and is now one of the primary immune tonic herbs in Western literature, including the European Pharmacopoeia and the World Health Organization’s Monographs on Selected medicinal plants. The combination of Astragalus’ antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and its immuno-stimulating effects further work together to prevent as well as treat infection, as described further under “Key Benefits” below.

Why Should You Take Astragalus?

Most frequently, Astragalus is used for supporting immunity. It’s one of the most important natural supplements you can take to help recalibrate your body’s immune response so that it’s healthy and well-balanced. You might also want to include Astragalus if you’re looking for a boost of free-radical fighting ingredients because it’s loaded with antioxidants.

Health Benefits of Astragalus

We don’t mean to sound coy, but the benefits of taking an Astragalus supplement are pretty astronomical. From anti-aging benefits to protecting against liver damage caused by toxins and medications, the effects of Astragalus really are out of this world, thanks to its active compounds (Astragalus flavonoids and Astragalus polysaccharides). 

It’s important to note here that research regarding Astragalus and women who are pregnant or nursing is ongoing. If you’re pregnant or nursing, or have any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure to get medical advice from a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your routine.

Astragalus, The Powerful Adaptogen

Unfamiliar with adaptogens? Let us explain. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stress and bring it back into balance. Think of a thermostat balancing room temperature if it gets too hot or too cold — but instead of temperature, adaptogens enhance the body’s stress response to balance out entire bodily systems, like immunity, the nervous system, and hormonal systems.

Adaptogens can be taken daily for overall health. Many of the adaptogens that are commonly used today, including Astragalus, have a history of use that dates back thousands of years.

Over the past few decades, Astragalus has received increasing attention as an adaptogen, particularly for its normalizing activity on the immune, nervous, and hormonal systems, and for its ability to increase stamina and endurance.

Astragalus is also used  in herbal medicine to help increase energy and resistance to stress (for example, in cases of mental and physical fatigue related to stress), and in TCM, it’s considered a tonic herbs for deficiency of Qi (vital energy or life force), used to treat symptoms of chronic fatigue and weakness as a result of physical exertion or stress. Better energy balance and a low-key stress response? We’ll take it.

Immune support

Nothing can strike fear in our hearts like an upcoming cold season. With busy schedules and activities, we really don’t want to miss out on life — but keeping our bodies strong and balanced can be a task. Thankfully, we can support our immunity with an astragalus dietary supplement. 

Astragalus is one of the most prized immuno-modulating herbs, traditionally used in both TCM and Herbal Medicine to strengthen the lungs, treat common colds and the flu, and to help maintain a healthy immune system. (1, 2) It’s commonly combined with other herbs like echinacea, licorice, schizandra and ginseng.

What does that mean for you? It means you’ve just found your go-to herbal supplement for supporting yourself during cold and flu season and keeping your immunity balanced throughout the year.

Astragalus is also used in TCM to tonify the spleen - the Chinese equivalent to the body’s metabolism - and to augment Qi (vital energy). It is thought that by fortifying the blood and increasing energy, the immune system is enhanced, the hormone system is balanced, and bone marrow, which produces the white blood cells of the immune system, is nourished.

This immuno-stimulating activity forms the basis of the integrative system of cancer care and prevention in TCM called Fu Zheng: a program of herbal therapies that treats disease by supporting the body’s own defence system. In TCM, cancer is considered a manifestation of an underlying imbalance in the body. Medical researchers in China have found that Fu Zheng therapy, which uses adaptogenic and tonic herbs, including Astragalus, helps to prevent many of the side effects of cancer treatment, including nausea and fatigue, and protect the immune system from damage resulting from chemotherapy and/or radiation.


Astragalus has a long history of medicinal use in TCM to provide protection against heart, brain, kidney, intestine, liver and lung injury. More recently, a number of astragalus’ active compounds have been shown to have antioxidant effects

Antioxidants help protect against various metabolic diseases, heart disease, brain disorders and age-related syndromes, as they help the body combat cellular damage caused by free radicals (reactive chemicals containing oxygen).

Early clinical trials also suggest that Astragalus may support heart health and help treat cardiovascular disease, although more research is needed to confirm this effect.

Dried Astragalus root


Inflammation is tied to a large number of chronic diseases today, including arthritis, asthma, digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD) and multiple sclerosis. It’s no surprise that Astragalus boasts both immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties, as inflammation and immunity are closely related: early symptoms of inflammation in the body indicate that the immune function of the relevant cells has been affected.

Polysaccharides contained in Astragalus root have been shown to regulate both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory factors, ultimately balancing immune response. It is proposed that Astragalus has the potential to disrupt various inflammatory diseases and affect certain inflammatory pathways. Although research on the anti-inflammatory mechanism of Astragalus has been conducted at the cellular level and in animal models, in-depth studies are in early stages and still lacking.

JOYÀ products that use Astragalus

It’s easy to get the benefits of Astragalus every day when you use high-quality, great-tasting products (hint, they’re available from JOYÀ).

Try Immune-Boosting Chocolate

Feel like you’re always getting what the kids bring home or catching whatever is going around the office? Your immune system might need a little extra help. 

Bring it back into harmony with immune support – but get it in a chocolate bar. Our rich and decadent 70% cacao Defend Functional Chocolate is a whole new take on herbal supplements that tastes as delicious as it sounds, and supplies your body with a powerful dose of Astragalus and Lion’s Mane.

It’s like doing something good that feels a little naughty. And because Astragalus can support a healthy stress response, it makes for a great pre-workout snack to help protect your body while you lift, run, or stretch.

A+ for Astragalus

Life is busy, but with Defend Functional Chocolate, you can easily take care of your immune health and support your stress response. Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years and is still trusted by alternative medicine practitioners today for supporting your overall wellness.

No weird-tasting tablets or burning tinctures. To get the benefits of Astragalus, just add JOYÀ. Our Functional Chocolate helps you fill in the gaps in your self-care routine and give you the total body support you want in one delicious bar.

The health research presented in this article is for informational use only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and should not be construed as a recommendation of specific products. The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not provide dosage or format recommendations or possible drug interactions, and accordingly, should be used with the advice of a qualified health care practitioner.

Astragalus Information | Mount Sinai - New York 
Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic | PubMed
Phytochemistry and cardiovascular protective effects of Huang-Qi (Astragali Radix) | PubMed
Astragaloside IV: An Effective Drug for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases | PubMed
Astragalus Monograph | HerbRally 
Full article: Astragaloside IV attenuates inflammatory reaction via activating immune function of regulatory T-cells inhibited by HMGB1 in mice | Taylor and Francis Online
Extraction, Structure, and Pharmacological Activities of Astragalus Polysaccharides | MDPI 
Cancer | Tao of Wellness
Huang Qi (Milkvetch roots) in Chinese Medicine | Me and Qui
Evaluation of the Pharmaceutical Properties and Value of Astragali Radix | PMC
Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine