Semen Astragali Complanati: An ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and pharmacological review

Yam Fung Ng, Philip Chiu Tsun Tang, Tung Ting Sham, Wing Sum Lam, Kam Wah Mok, Shun Wan Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance Semen Astragali Complanati (SAC), the dried ripe seed of Flatstem Milkvetch (Astragalus complanatus Bunge) (Leguminosae), is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for treating muscle, liver, kidney, blood, skin and reproductive system diseases. Materials and methods Relevant information about SAC was gathered via "Google Scholar", "ISI Web of Knowledge", "PubMed", "ScienceDirect", "Medline Plus", "ACS", "CNKI" and "Wiley Online Library" and from books in local libraries. Results The major contents of SAC include fatty acids, amino acids, polysaccharides, flavonoids, triterpene glycosides and trace elements. Previous scientific studies have reported that SAC exhibits a number of therapeutic effects on chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and cancers. It has been found that flavonoids are the main bioactive component in SAC. However most of the previous studies have shown the effects brought by the total flavonoid fraction extracted from SAC only; further studies are warranted for the biological effects produced by individual components. There are only a few studies on the toxicity of SAC and the overall results show that its toxicity is quite low or even non-existent. Conclusions SAC is a valuable TCM herb with multiple pharmacological effects for treating some chronic diseases. More studies on SAC will help us to have a better understanding of its pharmacological mechanisms so as to provide more scientific evidence to explain its traditional uses, identify its therapeutic potential on other diseases and understand its possible harmful effects. Based on previous studies, it is easy to identify that antioxidant effect of SAC might play an important role on its pharmacological effects. Studying the effects of SAC on handling intracellular reactive oxygen species may be a potential direction to help understanding the molecular mechanisms of SAC on preventing and/or treating chronic diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2014


  • Alternative medicine
  • Chronic diseases
  • Semen Astragali Complanati
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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