It comes from a leguminous plant related to licorice.
Astragalus in the herb world is called an adaptogen. In herbal terms it is used to help reduce the negative effects of stress in our lives, help us to cope with our busy lives easier and allow our bodies to adapt accordingly. It also helps protect the body against various stresses created by physical, mental, or emotional stress.
Its boosts immune function, though it is best used for long term debility and chronic immune function and not for acute infections. Astragalus may help protect the body from underlying slow debilitating diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, lowering blood pressure, treating diabetes, and protecting the liver.
Astragalus has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. People sometimes use it on the skin for wound care. In addition, studies have shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, suggesting that it may help prevent colds.
Recent studies have shown it helps to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, heal burns and protect from heart disease.