Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Milkvetch, Huang Qi, Astragalus membranaceus


Astragalus is a plant that is commonly used in soups and tea. The roots have been used to ease symptoms of diabetes and to improve blood flow. Astragalus has also been used to help the body fight illness.

It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. It can also be injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.


3 to 7 grams once per day

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Diabetic kidney disease—likely to improve symptoms when used with standard treatment E1, E2

May Be Effective

  • Cancer treatment support—may improve response to standard therapy B1
  • Chronic heart failure—may improve quality of life and ease symptoms when used with standard treatment C1-C3
  • Diabetes—may improve glucose control when used with standard treatment D1
  • Leucopenia—may improve treatment outcome G1
  • Stroke—may ease post stroke fatigue and improve quality of life I1
  • Viral myocarditis—may improve recovery when used with standard treatment J1, J2

May Not Be Effective

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take astragalus in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Astragalus can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

  • People with high blood pressure should talk to their doctor before taking astragalus. It may interact with blood pressure medicines.


A. Acute Respiratory Tract Infection

A1. Su G, Chen X, et al. Oral Astragalus (Huang qi) for preventing frequent episodes of acute respiratory tract infection in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 1;12:CD011958.

B. Cancer Treatment Support

B1. Cao A, He H, et al. Evidence of Astragalus injection combined platinum-based chemotherapy in advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Mar;98(11):e14798.

C. Chronic Heart Failure

C1. Yang QY, Lu S, et al. Clinical effect of Astragalus granule of different dosages on quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure. Chin J Integr Med. 2011;17(2):146-149.

C2. Fu S, Zhang J, et al. Huangqi injection (a traditional Chinese patent medicine) for chronic heart failure: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2011 May 6;6(5):e19604.

C3. Lin NY, Yu H, et al. Astragalus Membranaceus Improving Asymptomatic Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction in Postmenopausal Hypertensive Women with Metabolic Syndrome: A Prospective, Open-Labeled, Randomized Controlled Trial. Chin Med J (Engl). 2018;131(5):516-526.

D. Diabetes

D1. Tian H, Lu J, et al. The effect of Astragalus as an adjuvant treatment in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A (preliminary) meta-analysis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Sep 15;191:206-215.

E. Diabetic Kidney Disease

E1. Li M, Wang W, et al. Meta-analysis of the clinical value of Astragalus membranaceus in diabetic nephropathy. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;133(2):412-419.

E2. Zhang HW, Lin ZX, et al. Astragalus (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Oct 22;(10):CD008369.

F. Fatty Liver Disease

F1. Liu ZL, Xie LZ, et al. Herbal medicines for fatty liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 24;(8):CD009059.

G. Leucopenia

G1. Zhang C, Zhu C, et al. The clinical value of Huangqi injection in the treatment of leucopenia: a meta-analysis of clinical controlled trials. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 12;8(12):e83123.

H. Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

H1. Matkovic Z, Zivkovic V, et al. Efficacy and safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):175-181.

I. Stroke

I1. Liu CH, Tsai CH, et al. Effects of the traditional Chinese herb Astragalus membranaceus in patients with poststroke fatigue: A double-blind, randomized, controlled preliminary study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016;194:954-962.

J. Viral Myocarditis

J1. Liu ZL, Liu ZJ, et al. Herbal medicines for viral myocarditis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 28;(8):CD003711.

J2. Piao YL, Liang XC. Astragalus membranaceus injection combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med. 2014 Oct;20(10):787-791.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC

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