Astragalus membranaceus (Huang Qi)

Astragalus membranaceus is a Chinese medicine commonly used to boost immunity.

What are its health benefits?

Astragalus membranaceus is known as an adaptogen, which means it helps protect the body against physical, mental and emotional stress.

Astragalus membranaceus’s benefits may include:

  • It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage
  • Supporting the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Assisting in the management of diabetes
  • Protecting the liver
  • Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, assisting in wound care

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

The astragalus membranaceus root is available in a number of forms:

  • Tincture (liquid alcohol extract)
  • Capsules and tablets
  • Powder
  • Topically for the skin

Dosage depends on condition being treated, age and weight. Higher doses may suppress the immune system. For best results, use a standardised astragalus membranaceus supplement.

Possible side effects

Astragalus membranaceus is generally considered safe with no side effects at recommended doses.

However, side effects that could occur include:

  • Risk of increased bleeding
  • A decrease in the elimination of lithium from the body
  • Mild diuretic (causing an increased passing of urine)


Astragalus membranaceus stimulates the immune system, so people with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or colon/abdominal disease should consult with their doctors before using the astragalus root.

If you are taking a medicine that suppresses the immune system, you should also exercise caution before using supplements that contain astragalus membranaceus.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid use of astragalus membranaceus.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in August 2015