Botanical Name: Astragalus chinensis
Species : A. canadensis
Synonyms: Glycyrrhiza costulata Hand.-Mazz.
Common Names: Hua Huang Qi, Chinese milkvetch
Habitat:Astragalus chinensis is native to E. Asia – Mongolia and the Far East of Russia. It grows on flood plain meadows, xerophytic scrub, fields, ruderal places, river banks and valleys on sand and pebbles.
Astragalus chinensis is a perennial herb growing 35-55 cm tall, with hairs 0.04-0.4 mm. Stem solitary, erect, up to 5 mm thick, glabrous, branched with slender, mostly non-flowering lateral branches. Leaves 7-15 cm; stipules linear-acuminate, 6-10 mm, glabrous, with a curved short auricle at base; petiole 1-3 cm, like rachis glabrous or with a few appressed hairs; leaflets in 10-15 pairs, narrowly elliptic, 16-25 × 2-10 mm, abaxially sparsely appressed white hairy, adaxially glabrous, apex rounded and shortly mucronulate. Racemes 3.5-5 cm, loosely many flowered; peduncles numerous in upper part of stem, 3-6 cm, glabrous; bracts 3-4 mm, sparsely ciliate. Bracteoles 1-2 mm. Calyx 4-5 mm, glabrous; teeth 1-2 mm. Petals yellow or whitish yellow; standard ovate to widely ovate, 12-15 × 7-9 mm, apex emarginate; wings 9-11.5 mm; keel 13-14 mm. Legumes with a slender stipe 6-8 mm, nodding, nut-shaped, globose to obovoid, 9-14 mm, 5-6 mm high and 7-9 mm wide, with a very short slender beak, widely and deeply grooved ventrally, rounded dorsally; valves rigidly cartilaginous-leathery, transversely wrinkled-nerved, glabrous.
It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil
Cultivation: Flood plain meadows, xerophytic scrub, fields, ruderal places, river banks and valleys on sand and pebbles.
Propagation: Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13 degree centigrade, if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Medicinal Uses: The seed is hepatic and ophthalmic. It is used in the treatment of kidney diseases, lumbago, spontaneous seminal emissions, frequent micturation, vertigo and decreased sight.
Known Hazards: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.