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By Witchipedia, Herbs

Astragalus: Folklore, Healing & Magical Attributes

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a member of the pea family and it looks like a typical pea family member. It can reach up to four feet tall with fern-like foliage, drooping white flowers in the summer, and seed pods in the fall.

Other Names Chinese milkvetch, Huang Qi, Milk vetch root, Yellow leader, Yellow emperor, Yellow vetch


This herb is known for its ability to improve the immune system and promote overall health, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and adaptogenic properties.

Astragalus is believed to possess magical qualities, with ancient cultures using it for protection, energy, and spiritual purposes.

When harvesting astragalus, it’s crucial to do so in the right season (autumn) and handle the root carefully to preserve its medicinal potency.

In the culinary world, astragalus can be added to soups and stews to enhance flavor and health benefits, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.

History and Folklore

Astragalus has been used in China as a popular herbal tonic for centuries.

There are actually more than 1000 species of vetch worldwide, some are poisonous so make sure you’re getting the right species!

Protection and WardingAstragalus has long been believed to possess protective properties, warding off negative energies and spirits.
Good Luck and ProsperityIt is associated with good luck and prosperity, and carrying or wearing astragalus is believed to attract wealth and abundance.
Healing and VitalityAstragalus is highly regarded for its healing properties and is often used to boost vitality and overall well-being.
Spirituality and DivinationIn some folklore, astragalus is believed to enhance spiritual practices and aid in divination and psychic abilities.
Table 1: Astragalus Folklore

In ancient Greek, astragalos referred to knucklebones, usually from sheep, gaming pieces made from them, and the milkvetch plant. I don’t know the connection.


This is a hardy perennial that grows well in temperate climates. It should be planted in full sun at least a foot apart in slightly sandy, well-drained soil.

Rub seeds between to pieces of fine sandpaper before planting in February before moving them out to your garden after the last danger of frost has passed.

Harvesting & Storage

Dig up the roots in autumn of the fourth or fifth year.

Magical Attributes

Astragalus corresponds to the planet Jupiter and the element Air.

Astragalus is a Chi tonic. Chi is the vital force of the body in Chinese lore. Applied to Western traditions, it could be used to increase energy for a variety of applications.

Magical AttributesDescription
Protection and BanishingAstragalus is utilized in magical practices for protection, banishing negative energies, and creating sacred space.
Grounding and StabilityIt is associated with grounding and stability, helping individuals feel more centered and connected to the earth.
Amplifying Other SpellsAstragalus is believed to enhance the power of other spells and rituals when included as an ingredient or carried.
Psychic AwarenessIt is associated with increasing psychic awareness, intuition, and spiritual insight.
Manifestation and AbundanceAstragalus is sometimes used in manifestation rituals and spells to attract abundance and prosperity.
Table 2: Astragalus Magical Attributes

Healing Attributes

Astragalus strengthens the body’s resistance to disease and increases energy by enhancing cell growth and longevity and stimulating the synthesis of antibodies. It has a tonic effect on the liver, heart, lungs, and kidneys. It lowers blood pressure and increases circulation. It enhances interferon production, preventing viruses from replicating inside the body.

Common uses include; chronic fatigue, cold extremities, chronic autoimmune disorders, Epstein Barr, stress, night sweats, appetite loss, mononucleosis, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, hepatitis, asthma, arthritis, nervousness, to increase fertility and to aid in the mending of broken bones.

Healing AttributesDescription
Immune System SupportAstragalus is known for its immune-boosting properties and is used to support the body’s defense mechanisms.
Energy and VitalityIt is believed to increase energy levels, combat fatigue, and promote overall vitality and stamina.
Respiratory HealthAstragalus has been traditionally used to support respiratory health and alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions.
Anti-Inflammatory PropertiesIt possesses anti-inflammatory properties and is used to reduce inflammation in the body.
Digestive HealthAstragalus is known to support digestive health and improve digestion, aiding in the absorption of nutrients.
Table 3: Astragalus Healing Attributes

Research has shown effectiveness in enhanced immunity, cardiovascular health, and male infertility and has been used to support cancer therapy.

To protect health on a long-term basis, it is recommended that you take astragalus in a three week on, one week off regimen.

Astragalus is very safe and no adverse side effects have been reported in human or animal studies.

Culinary Use

The roots may be cooked in stews (remove before serving) or the powder may be added to various recipes for flavor. It doesn’t make for a tasty tea but gives a nice nutty aroma to savory simmers.

Additional Notes

This is a good herb to switch off with echinacea. Many herbs start to lose effectiveness when they are taken for a long period of time.

Astralagus should be avoided during menstruation and when you have acute infections.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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