Also known as: Astragalus membranaceus, Astragalus membranaceus, Milkvech, Locoweed, Goat’s-Thorn,
Benefits: Immune System, Cardiovascular Protection, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Cancer, Diabetes, Anti-Aging
Recommended Usage: Usually 2 to 6 g of the powdered root daily.
What is Astragalus ?
Astragalus is a plant within the Leguminosae (beans or legumes) family, with a very long history as an immune system booster and disease fighter. Its roots are in Traditional Chinese Medicine, in which it’s been used as an adaptogen for thousands of years — meaning it helps the body fight off stress and disease. Today, Astragalus medicinal healing and treatment uses span many different illnesses and diseases.
Other Features of Astragalus
Astragalus contains three components that allow the plant to have such a positive impact on human health: saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides, which are all active compounds contained in certain plants, including some fruits and vegetables. Saponins are known for their ability to lower cholesterol, improve the immune system and prevent cancer. Flavanoids, also found in Astragalus, provide health benefits through cell signaling. They show antioxidative qualities, control and scavenge of free radicals, and can help prevent heart disease, cancer and immunodeficiency viruses. Polysaccharides are known to have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory capabilities, among other health benefits.
Top Benefits of Astragalus:
Colds and Flu
Why should you consider Astragalus on a regular basis ?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herb was hailed as a protector against stresses, both mental and physical. Astragalus provides health benefits to a number of body systems and ailments. Although more studies in humans are needed to solidify its effectiveness, success in rats, mice and other animals have prompted progressive research on the herb.
Because of the tremendous success of so many research studies and trials, new information about Astragalus is coming to light all the time. In general, its greatest strength is preventing and protecting cells against cell death and other harmful elements, such as free radicals and oxidation.
Boosts the immune System
In terms of reputation, boosting the immune system is Astragalus’ claim to fame. It’s been used in this capacity for thousands of years. A study out of Beijing displayed its ability to control t-helper cells 1 and 2, essentially regulating the body’s immune responses. Although the full extent of the herb’s capabilities are yet to be determined, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Astragalus, used as an adjunct therapy, will someday be used to cure many diseases.
Protects the Cardiovascular System
The flavonoids present in Astragalus are antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and narrowing of vessel walls by protecting the inner wall of the vessel.
During a heart attack, heart muscle damage occurs when there is a lack of blood supply and oxygen. At that time, calcium overload creates secondary damage. Astragalus can prevent additional heart muscle damage by regulating calcium homeostasis in the heart.
Inflammation is at the root of most diseases. From arthritis to heart disease, it’s often the culprit of the damage. Many studies show that thanks to its saponins and polysaccharides, Astragalus can reduce inflammatory response in connection to a number of illnesses and conditions, from helping to heal wounds and lesions to reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.
Slows or Prevents the Growth of Tumours
Many recent screenings have shown the success of astragalus saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides in decreasing or eliminating tumors. In instances of chemoresistance treating liver cancer, Astragalus has shown potential in reversing multidrug resistance and as an addition to conventional chemotherapy, according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.
Regulates and Prevents Diabetes
and Illnesses Related to Diabetes
Astragalus has been studied progressively as an antidiabetic. Studies show its ability to relieve insulin resistance ant treat diabetes naturally. The herb’s collection of saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides all are effective in treating and regulating type 1 and 2 diabetes. They’re able to increase insulin sensitivity, protect pancreatic beta cells (the cells in the pancreas that produce and release insulin) and also act as anti-inflammatories in areas related to diabetes symptoms.
Kidney disease in diabetics is also a common problem, and Astragalus has been used to treat kidney illness for many years. More recent studies have shown astragalus can slow the progress of kidney problems in diabetics and protect the renal system.
Contains Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Aging Capabilities
Oxidation due to free radical damage is the main component in disease and aging, and many elements found in Astragalus fight free radical damage and prevent of oxidative stress. The herb’s polysaccharides have positive effects on the immune system and improvement of the function of the brain, both of which could lengthen life span.
Treat Colds and Flu
Because of Astragalus’ antiviral capabilities, it has long been used to treat common colds and the flu. It’s commonly combined with other herbs like ginseng, angelica and licorice.
Provides Supplemental Therapy for Chronic Asthma
Astragalus has been used to treat chronic asthma and determined to be a successful supplemental therapy and asthma natural remedy. After being treated, hypersensitivity in airways decreased substantially and mucus production and inflammation were reduced in studies. By preventing or reducing asthma attacks, individuals could be relieved of chronic asthma issues.
Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, Astragalus has a long history of treating wounds. Radix astragali, another name for the dried root of Astragalus, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the repair and regeneration of injured organs and tissues.
In a 2012 study by the Institute of Pharmaceutics at Zhejiang University, wounds treated with astragaloside IV (the active ingredient in dried Astragalus root) showed recovery rates increase two- to threefold over 48–96 hours. It was concluded that Astragalus is a promising natural product for anti-scarring and healing in wounds.
Alleviates Symptoms of Chemotherapy
Astragalus has been shown to help patients receiving chemotherapy to recover more quickly and extend their life spans. In cases of severe chemotherapy symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bone marrow suppression, Astragalus has been given intravenously and in combination with other Chinese herbal mixtures. Early research suggests its ability to reduce these symptoms and increase the efficacy of the chemotherapy treatments.
Instructions for use: There is no set usage, but a common daily dose would be 2 to 6 grams.
Allergies: Suitable for vegetarians and contains no yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, corn, soy or wheat. Contains no sugar, starch, salt, preservatives, or artificial color, flavor or fragrance.
Toxicity: Astragalus is, for the most part, a safe herb to use in reasonable doses.
Warnings: Astragalus is considered safe for many adults. The most commonly reported side effects are diarrhea and other mild gastrointestinal effects. However, it may affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure and be risky for people with certain health problems, such as blood disorders, diabetes, or hypertension.
Nutritional Value of Astragalus
Links to various abstracts/studies regarding Astragalus:
The effect of Astragaloside IV on immune function of regulatory T cell mediated by high mobility group box 1 protein in vitro – 2012 Department of Critical Care Medicine, Beijing Friendship Hospital Affiliated to Capital Medical University, Beijing
Liver (Hepatic) Cancer
Reversal of P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance of human hepatic cancer cells by Astragaloside II – 2012 School of Pharmacy, Anhui Medical University, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, China
Astragalus membranaceus injection combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis – 2014 Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing
Reduced Triglycerides and Blood Pressure
Pharmacological effects of Astragaloside IV – 2013 Key Laboratory of Liver and Kidney Diseases, Institute of LiverDis eases, Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai
Diabetes and Related Illnesses
Recent Advances in Astragalus membranaceus Anti-Diabetic Research: Pharmacological Effects of Its Phytochemical Constituents – 2013 Important Drug Development Fund, Ministry of Science and Technology of China
Meta-analysis of the clinical value of Astragalus membranaceus in diabetic nephropathy – 2011 Division of Nephrology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Kidney Problems in Diabetics
Systematic review of the renal protective effect of Astragalus membranaceus (root) on diabetic nephropathy in animal models – 2009 Department of Nephrology, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China
Mitochondrial Protection and Anti-aging Activity of Astragalus Polysaccharides and Their Potential Mechanism – 2012 Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities in China
Healing of Wounds
The healing and anti-scar effects of astragaloside IV on the wound repair in vitro and in vivo – 2012 Institute of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, PR China
Chemotherapy: Reduce symptoms, Improve Efficacy
Astragalus-based Chinese herbs and platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: meta-analysis of randomized trials – 2006 University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Effects of Astragaloside IV on IFN-Gamma Level and Prolonged Airway Dysfunction in a Murine Model of Chronic Asthma – 2010 PubMed
Inhibit Herpes Simplex Virus 1
Experimental study of the effect of Astragalus membranaceus against herpes simplex virus type 1 – 2004 Department of Pharmaceutics, General Hospital of PLA, Beijing 100853, China
Treat Inflammation in Eczema
Effects of topical application of Astragalus membranaceus on allergic dermatitis – 2013 Department of Prescriptionology, College of Oriental Medicine, Institute of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
Treat Hepatitis B
Anti-hepatitis B virus activities of astragaloside IV isolated from radix Astragali – 2009 Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry