Astragalus membranaceus

Astragalus is a bushy member of the pea family. Traditionally grown in the North East and East of China, it is now cultivated widely in America and here in the UK, it has become a vulnerable species in the wild. Its favoured ecosystems are steppes, meadows and coniferous forests. It is  quite a delicate plant with pendulous yellow flowers.

The sweet roots have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine where it is valued as a liver protecting tonic and used for its’ anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and immunomodulating abilities. Rich in a variety of bioactive compounds it is well known  as a general skin tonic with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action.

It has been closely studied for its ability to strengthen and repair telomeres, which are responsible for cellular ageing. Telomeres enable our cells to make more ‘precise copies’ of themselves, essentially slowing down the ageing process. 

Astragalus contains a variety of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can have a dramatic effect on the skin; 

Antioxidants - including the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol and Saponins and Triterpenoids, including astragaloside IV, help to protect the body against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to inflammation, cell damage, disease and ultimately lead to premature ageing.

Polysaccharides - complex carbohydrates believed to have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Polysaccharides can help to stimulate the production of cytokines, that help to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation in the skin. This can be particularly beneficial for people with conditions such as acne or rosacea and eczema.

Immune system support - Astragalus has immune system-boosting properties, which can help to strengthen the body's natural defences. This can be beneficial for the skin, as a healthy immune system is important for maintaining skin health.

Wound healing: Astragalus is believed to promote wound healing by increasing blood circulation and collagen production. This can help to reduce the appearance of scars and speed up the healing process.

Moisturising: Some studies have suggested that the moisturising properties of astragalus may help to improve the skin's barrier function and prevent moisture loss.


I use our organically certified astragalus in our oil infusions and in tisanes and masks that i blend bespoke in my treatment studio.