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Huáng Qí 黃芪

Pharmaceutical name Astragali Radix astragalus root, milk-vetch root (tongue depressor herb, Yang Qi herb of category)
Category Tonify Qi
Key Properties Raises Yang Qi, Tonifies SP & LU Qi
Stops sweating
Facilitates Urination
Promotes the discharge of Pus
Generates Flesh
Properties Sweet
Sl. Warm
Tropism LU, SP
Actions & Indications 1) Tonifies Qi & Blood
2) Tonifies SP & Raises Yang
3) Augments Protective Qi & Stabilizes Exterior (stop sweat)
4) Promotes Urination & Reduces Edema
5) Promotes Discharge of Pus & Generate Flesh (chronic sores)
Dosages 9-15g; when a high dosage is required, up to 30g can be used
Contraindications (TCM) CI: when pathogens are in exterior levels of body; excess Qi, such as anger due to LR Qi stagnation; internal Heat, excess Fire, Def & Cold of Lower Jiao; sores and lesions from Blood Heat; stagnation
Contraindications (Western) Caution in third trimester of pregnancy, diuretic effect, long-term use may decrease amniotic fluid
Chemical Composition Acetylastragaloside I, astragaloside I-IV, isoastragaloside III, astramembrannin II, cycloastragenol, cyclosiversigenin, soyasaponin I, tragacantha, kumatakenin, fomononetin
Pharmacological Effects • Immunostimulant: subcutaneous injection increases white blood cells and multinuclear leukocytes in mice; administration associated with enhanced production of IgM in mice
• Hematopoietic: shown to increase production and maturity of blood cells from bone marrow
• Metabolic: decoction shown to increase basal metabolic rate and cAMP in mice
• Effect on cAMP and cGMP: decoction associated with increased cAMP but decreased cGMP in plasma, increased cAMP and cGMP in the spleen, and increased cGMP in the liver
• Renal: oral use of powder decreases amount of protein present in urine of mice
• Antihypertensive: intravenous injection decreases blood pressure in anesthetized rabbits, dogs and cats; mechanism of effect attributed to dilation of peripheral blood vessels
• Hepatoprotective: commonly used to treat various types of chronic hepatitis; significant hepatoprotective effects, especially against carbon tetrachloride
• Antibiotic: shown to inhibit activity of Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus anthracis, β-hemolytic streptococcus, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Diplococcus pneumoniae, and S. aureus
• Sedative and analgesic: intravenous injection of astragaloside has shown to have mild sedative and analgesic effects in mice
Herb-Drug Interactions • Aminoglycosides: in one study, compound injection of Huang Qi and Lu Han Cao (Herba Pyrolae) in guinea pigs found to be effective in preventing ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity associated with use of aminoglycosides
• Has been demonstrated that Huang Qi has inhibitory influence on copper-induced oxidative stress; according to studies, effect is similar to that of mannitol and of superoxide dismutase as free radical scavengers
Classical Formula(s)

Bu Fei Tang (Tonify the Lungs Decoction) 補肺湯

Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang (Tonify the Yang to Restore Five [-Tenths] Decoction 補陽還五湯 (补阳还五汤)

Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang (Tangkuei decoction to tonify the blood) 當歸補血湯 (当归补血汤)

Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang (Tankuei and Six-yellow Decoction) 當歸六黃湯 (当归六黄汤)

Fang Ji Fu Ling Tang (Stephania and Poria Decoction) 防己茯苓湯

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang (Stephania and Astragalus Decoction) 防己黃耆湯

Gu Chong Tang (Stabilize Gushing Decoction) 固冲湯

Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Tang (Astragalus and Cinnamon Twig Five-Substance Decoction) 黃芪桂枝五物湯

Mu Li San (Oyster Shell Powder) 牡蠣散 (牡蛎散)

Qian Jin Nei Tuo San (Powder to Support the Interior Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces) 千金内托散

Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang (Ginseng decoction to nourish luxuriance) 人參養榮湯 (人参养荣汤)

Tai shan pan shi san (Taishan bedrock powder) 泰山盤石散 (泰山盘石散)

Tuo Li Xiao Du Yin (Support the Interior and Eliminate Toxin Drink) 托裡消毒飲

Yi Qi Cong Ming Tang (Augment the Qi and Increase Acuity Decoction) 益氣聰明湯

Yu Ye Tang (Jade Fluid Decoction) 玉液湯

Bao Yuan Tang (Preserve the Primal Decoction) 保元湯

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Tonify the middle to augment the qi decoction) 補中益氣湯

Gui Pi Tang (Restore the spleen decoction) 歸脾湯 (归脾汤)

Shi Liu Wei Liu Qi Yin (Sixteen Ingredient Drink for Qi Flow) 十六味流氣飲

Sheng Yang Yi Wei Tang (Raise the Yang and Augment the Stomach Decoction) 升陽益胃湯

Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (All-inclusive great tonifying decoction) 十全大補湯 (十全大补汤)

Zai Zao San (Renewal Powder) 再造散


This information is a reference tool for Chinese herbal studies. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please consult a primary health professional if you require health advisory.