Astragalus root, also known as milk vetch and huáng qí; (yellow leader), belongs to the bean family of plants. The powdered root, which tastes slightly sweet, is sprinkled on hot foods and blended into beverages.
Astragalus is an herbaceous perennial, growing between 25 and 40 centimeters in height. It grows in grassy regions and on mountainsides, requiring plenty of exposure to the sun. When grown for cultivation, the plants are traditionally harvested after four or five years, with the roots collected in spring or fall. The roots are dried in the sun and then sliced for distribution. The slices are yellow in color and have a sweet, moistening taste with a firm, fibrous texture.