Astragalus Root, Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Milk Vetch
Traditional Chinese Name:
黃耆 (huang qi) or 北芪 (bei qi)
Looking to build your soup pantry? Follow our guide to the 7 basic Chinese soup pantry ingredients.
This common Chinese herbal root is found in both TCM and Chinese soups. This root actually comes from a legume (aka, part of the pea family) and looks like dried bark when processed for soups and herbal tonics. You can buy this in a variety of forms, so just be sure to double check what it is (by asking!). It comes in thinner longer slices, thicker shorter pieces (as pictured), chopped up like wood chips, or even powdered. And there are many Chinese herbs that take on this similar form!
This root is perfect for blood and qi deficiency, helps regulate the water balance in the body, and is often used for healing purposes (post surgery, post partum for sure, and post menstruation).
How do I prepare it?
- I’ll usually rinse under cool running water to get rid of any debris, extra bits, or dirt before adding to my soup, although dropping directly into the soup is alright as well.
Where can I buy it and cost?
- You can buy this in most Chinese supermarkets in Toronto, Canada in prepackaged form
- This is definitely available in herbal shops, where you can buy in bulk, of the volume you need in various forms
- I’ve also seen this widely available on the internet (generally in powdered form)
What is the cost?
There is actually a wide range in cost for this root. I’ve seen it range from $20 – 50 CAD for 1 pound. This depends on the quality and cut of the root.
- The smaller pieces tend to be cheaper, where the longer, intact ones will cost more
- This root is helps replenish Qi, particularly that of the lung and spleen as it targets those organs
- It is commonly used as a healing herb (in combination with other herbs)
- It is perfect for tonifying blood and Qi
- This is a warming root and creates yang in the body, so if you’re feeling heaty or yin deficient, bes to avoid this root
- Be sure to buy this root from reputable sources
Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?
Check out this video to begin building your soup pantry. There are 7 basic dried ingredients to get you started.