Also known as milk vetch, huang qi (or huangqi)

Herbal Skin Lightening Effects

Astragalus is a natural tyrosinase inhibitor and can lighten skin.

Research suggests that astragalus may be a safe option as an active ingredient in skin-whitening products.(238)

How Does Astragalus Lighten Skin?

Melanin is the compound in certain skin cells that causes pigmentation. Research shows astragalus and its compounds can suppress factors related to the over-production of skin pigment.(30238239)

By itself, astragalus extract blocks activation of the gene responsible for melanin. Astragalus compounds also act as a tyrosinase inhibitors. Tyrosinase is an enzyme involved in two reactions critical to the production of skin pigment.(30238239)

Suppressing this enzyme can help reduce melanin. Astragalus membranaceus contains compounds that naturally block tyrosinase, which could help lighten areas of skin darkened by hyperpigmentation. Lab studies showed the following:

  • A flavonoid compound demonstrated an almost 50% reduction of melanin production.(239)
  • Polysaccharide compounds showed a dose-dependent inhibition of melanin.(30)

But extract from seeds of another astragalus species—A. sinicus—may be an even better option. Recent lab tests demonstrated almost 94% inhibition of tyrosinase, resulting in a reduction of over 62% melanin concentration in the skin cells tested. In addition, the extract also showed anti-wrinkle effects.(15)

Another species, Astragalus ponticus, also shows moderate to strong inhibition of tyrosinase.(240)

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this website is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.
Both Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus sinicus.(238)
Specifically, melanocytes.(238)
Specifically, calycosin.(239)