The astragalus (Milk Vetch) plant is frequently used in Chinese medicine. There are a large number of varieties of the astragalus plant, but two are important in Chinese medicine: Astragalus membranaceus andAstragalus mongholicus. Other names for astragalus include bei qi, huang qi, ogi, hwanggi, locoweed and milk vetch.
A large genus of about 3,000 species of herbs and small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Milk vetch contains fatty oil, vitamin A, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, tannins, proteins, amino acids, elements like selenium, copper, zinc, manganese, iron, magnesium, chromium, calcium, and so on. Seeds are rich in oil, which accounts for about 5% of the seed weight and contains at least 14 kinds of fatty acids, including heptenoic acid, myristic acid, pentadecanoic acid, hexadecanoic acid (palmitic acid), oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, linoleyl acid, arachidic acid, lignoceric acid, behenic acid, and more. And the unsaturated fatty acids account for about 40% in total acids. Besides, it still contains β-sitosterol, many amino acids, etc.