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Herbal Minute: Astralagus

Did you hear about how AI told users to “eat rocks” because it contains minerals? This, along with other bizarre recommendations is what is populating search results as of late.

Last night I was researching how the FDA banned BETAINE HCl in OTC products and least to say the search results were worse than what they were twenty years ago.

I’m sure this is just the preliminary phase as the brains of Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go figure out how to deliver relevant information. And because I grew up in the time before we had the internet (think libraries and dewey card systems) I can spot recanned content from one-hundred miles away.

It’s also a shame that “experts” are quick to use AI tools without discerning or doing the work as to what is ethically correct, factually correct, scientifically correct, clinically correct, or time tested. I’ll admit I’ve looked at AI’s responses and have tried it as well but because I could see when it was wrong (on so many levels) I keep it at arms length for research.

For those of us who run our businesses creating content, the common complaint is that our content will “no longer be seen” because AI search tools will simply spit out what they deem as factual.

One thing I’ve learned is that machines can not replace the human experience.

I recently was having a conversation about Qi Tonics with a client who was asking about Astralagus for her dog.

I asked her why she thought it might be a good fit for her dog to which she replied, “I heard it’s great to boost immunity and to increase Qi.”

She’s not entirely incorrect.

I encourage my clients and Harmony Circle subscribers to empower themselves with the information they need to focus on wellness and prevention so that we can get ahead of disease and illness before it occurs.

And I also am aware that sometimes the information out there lacks a key piece of information, hence the reason for this article so I can fill in the gap.

Qi tonics strengthen the whole body but… in doing so they also strengthen any pathogens.  Qi tonics are for those weakened, deficient, or the body’s function is insufficient. Prior to administering Qi tonics we want to be sure the body is relatively they are healthy. And they have no pathogens present. 

The other half of this equation is to ask, is this the right herb for my dog?

For example, if we give a Qi tonic to a dog that is itchy, we may increase the itch. Or if we give it to a dog that is damp (yeasty) it will exacerbate their dampness.

Astralagus, or Huang Qi, as a qi tonic is easily available at your local Asian market. It’s often used in a lot of healing broths. I’ve seen “Instagram Influencers” liberally adding it to their broths, and then consequently seeing dog parents do the same.


  • Tonifies Qi and Blood
  • Raises Yang Qi (Upwardly direction)
  • Benefits Lungs and boosts Wei Qi
  • Promotes urine when there is superficial edema
  • Helps with yin type skin conditions (chronic cases where clear fluids are part of the skin symptoms)
  • Helps with arthritis due to blood stagnation and deficient qi


It is contraindicated for those that have deficient Yin with heat, qi stagnation, damp obstruction, and food stagnation. Also if the dog has any skin lesions in the early state or toxic heat, it may make their conditions worse. It is the “upwardly mobile” character of this herb in “raising Yang” that is key in its actions so if you don’t want to bring things to a head, or raise conditions, this herb is not the right one for your dog.

Astralagus is rarely used alone. It’s often combined with other herbs.

What To Remember:

The internet can be a wonderful place to conduct your research. With the recent advent of AI search, one has to know if the answers delivered are accurate and relevant. Always consult with your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner before self -diagnosing and self-administering this to your dog.

Author Biography

Hannah Zulueta obtained her Certificate in Canine Nutrition from CASI Institute. She is also studying for her Doctorate in Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Herbalism from the esteemed Pacific College of Health and Medicine.

She resides in San Diego with her three dogs, Maggie, Orbit, and Mr. Higgins.

She is available for one on one consultations. Additionally, you can find her sharing free content on Instagram.

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