OUR Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) celebration continues with our second flower of the month: Astragalus mebranaceus (variety mongholicus), or the so-called “Mongolian Milkvetch.”
The plant is an enduring medicinal plant in the Chinese and Japanese pharmacopeia. It can also be found in the Philippines. However, it is best known for the medicinal properties of its roots, which is considered a powerful anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Because of this practice, the Astragalus flowers are often considered as production wastes. Since the medicinal roots are gathered during the plant’s flower stage, the flowers are discarded as natural fertilizers and never used as a medicinal product.
Researchers who braved to follow the counter current of the medicinal tradition later found that the flowers of the Mongolian Milkvetch contain high amounts of flavonoids, tripterpenoid saponins and volatile compounds.
A team of eight Chinese researchers from the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (Nanjing) and the Ningxia Medical University (Yingchuan) found that the flowers demonstrated strong antioxidant activities, comparable to the antioxidant activity of butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a synthetic chemical used in food items as preservative. According to WebMD, BHT is currently being used in the treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids) and genital herpes. It is so because BHT can damage the outer protective layer of viruses.
In the report published in the journal “Molecules,” it stated that the Mongolian Milkvetch has 31 known and unknown compounds, including quercetin, isorhamnetin, rhamnocitrin and kaempferol. The predominant compounds, however, were hyperosides, rutins and isorhamnetins.
Mongolian Milkvetch for our Blessed Mother!