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Astragalus is
Astragalus Herb
a large genus of about 2,000 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. Common names include milk-vetch (most species) and goat's-thorn (A. gummifera, A. tragacanthus).

Astragalus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the following case-bearers of the genus Coleophora: C. astragalella (feeds exclusively on A. glycyphyllos), C. cartilaginella (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. colutella, C. euryaula (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. gallipennella (feeds exclusively on A. glycyphyllos), C. hippodromica (feeds exclusively on A. gombo), C. onobrychiella (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. polonicella (feeds exclusively on A. arenarius) and C. vicinella.

Medicinal use
Astragalus membranaceus, or huángqí (黄芪, literally "yellow leader"; also called běiqí, 北芪, literally "northern leader") is
Astragalus Herb
a tonic herb originally used in Chinese medicine. It is believed to be a galactagogue, and recent studies show that it may strengthen the human immune system.

The natural gum tragacanth, which is used in pharmaceuticals and textiles, is obtained from Astragalus tragacanthus. It is claimed to help the immune system, and to increase the body's resistance to common viruses.

Ornamental use
Several species, including A. alpinus (bluish-purple flowers), A. hypoglottis (purple flowers) and A. lotoides, are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.

Other useful herb information: Watercress | Parsley | Kelp | Savory | Nutmeg | Apricot | Yerba

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