When it comes to staying healthy during the winter, astragalus root is my favorite herb to strengthen the immune system. Astragalus is an immune modulating herb, meaning that it helps rev up or calm down the immune system based on what the body needs. I love this “wisdom” that some herbs offer us by cooperating with our bodies instead of forcing us in one direction like some medications do. Astragalus can be used long term, so it is a great choice to take all of cold and flu season. Astragalus root also has some antiviral properties, and research shows that it may help to prevent upper respiratory tract infections.
In addition to its immune benefits, astragalus root can help the body compensate for long-term stress. Stress has many negative effects on our bodies, particularly on our adrenal glands that help regulate our metabolism among other things. Our adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress. Disrupted cortisol production can be associated with fatigue, insomnia, and even high blood sugar and blood pressure. By balancing adrenal output, astragalus can be a great part of the plan to help us recover from these types of issues. Because astragalus is high in antioxidants, it can also help protect the liver.
This winter I am enjoying my astragalus recipes the traditional way by making astragalus root soup and astragalus bone broth. I looked through several different recipes for astragalus soup, the traditional Chinese way of using this immune boosting herb. I was trying to decide how long the soup needed to simmer. Some recipes recommended adding astragalus root to any chicken soup and simmering for 10 minutes, but I didn’t think this was long enough. Then I found a traditional recipe. It called for 2/3 of an ounce of astragalus in 5 cups of liquid cooked over medium heat until only 2 cups of liquid was left. This was clearly a “real” recipe with its longer cooking time to extract the maximum benefits from the astragalus, so I decided to add astragalus root to my bone broth.
Here is my recipe for Astragalus Root Bone Broth:
- Place chicken or other bones in a pot or crockpot
- Cover the bones with water
- Add about 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar for every 8 cups of water
- Add 1 ounce of dried astragalus root for every 8 cups of water or so
- Cover with a tight fitting lid
- Simmer very low on the stove or cook on low in the crockpot for 12-48 hours
- Strain the broth and enjoy
I drink this broth as a hot beverage with a little bit of salt. The astragalus has a mild nearly smoky taste and the broth is quite delicious. If you want to try astragalus soup but aren’t ready to make a bone broth, try adding the astragalus roots to any soup you are making. Cook the soup with the astragalus roots for at least 20 minutes. Then remove the astragalus roots before you serve the soup just like you would with bay leaves. And of course, astragalus root comes in a liquified herbal too, so you can get all the benefits in a more convenient form.
Dr. Laurell Matthews earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University.
Any homeopathic claims are based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.