Personally, until recently, I have never heard of astragalus and didn’t know the first thing about it. It showed up on a list of herbs that have been evaluated by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the NIH), so I decided to look into it.
The astragalus 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 and Astragalus mongholicus. Other names for astragalus include bei qi, huang qi, ogi, hwanggi and milk vetch.
For the most part, astragalus has a good safety record but specifics are hard to find because there is always a combination of herbs taken at the same time. Quality control and safety measures in the manufacturing process of astragalus-containing supplements can vary.
Article courtesy of Longevity/About.com, found here.