Healthy Benefits of Astragalus
What Is Astragalus?
Astragalus is a perennial legume, belonging in the Fabaceae family and is native to areas in the northern hemisphere. Astragalus can also be referred to as astragalus membranaceous, huang qi, milk-vetch, locoweed, hwanggt, and goat’s thorn. Primarily, it is the root of the astragalus plant that is used medicinally due to it being rich in saponins, flavonoids, amino acids, essential fatty acids, coumarins, trace elements and oils. The astragalus root has been used for thousands of years in conventional Chinese medicine to treat certain diseases, chronic illnesses, and to help strengthen and maintain ones vitality.
The chief action of the astragalus herb is to be adaptogenic and immunomodulating, giving powerful support and protection to the immune system. Secondary characteristics of astragalus include anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, cardio tonic, diuretic, and hepatoprotechic.
Preliminary research has shown astragalus to have a positive effect on the immune system, liver, heart, and potentially helpful in cancer recovery. Some studies have shown it may possibly aid in preventing the formation of some diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. The ability of this herb to be adaptive suggests it can assist in protecting our body from certain diseases, as well as physical, mental, and emotional stress. It is believed to boost the immune system, enabling an increase in healthy immune cells. In addition, astragalus is full of antioxidants, and can hinder colds and upper respiratory infections as well as aid in protecting the cells in our bodies from free radicals, which cause cell damage. Furthermore, this herb has the capabilities to be an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, and it has shown to help the body’s natural defenses destroy viruses, bacteria infections, and aid in wound healing.
Extensive research is currently being conducted on astragalus’ effectiveness in preventing cancer and the ability to help lessen side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Studies show it can decrease the toxic effects that therapies can have on an individual’s body, while also combating some of the side effects of treatments such as weight loss, anemia, nausea, fatigue, and strength loss. Additionally, it can aid in the formation of a higher white blood cell count, which may decrease during treatment. Research indicates that astragalus has the ability to repair the impaired immune system cells; thus, this allows for the increase in production of new forming good cells.
In regard to the cardiovascular system, many studies are being performed in relation to astragalus. Scientific evidence suggests the saponin contained in this herb can perhaps prevent the formation of clogged arteries by stopping the accumulation of lipid peroxides in the myocardium. Moreover, some clinical trials have indicated the antioxidants can increase circulation and reinforce the left ventricular function of the heart after a myocardial infarction, resulting in a healthier and shorter recovery time. Additionally, this herb has mild diuretic abilities which help the body rid itself of excess fluid. This action could then result in lower blood pressure with someone who has been diagnosed with hypertension.
How is it taken?
Astragalus can be taken in several forms, such as tablets or capsules, herbal teas, powder, tincture or extract, topical ointment and strips that look like tongue depressors. The depressors are used mostly in cooking. There are recommended dosages for the various astragalus forms available.
Side Effects And Precautions
It is important to note that astragalus may be harmful to some people. Those individuals with an auto-immune disease, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis or Lupus, and people taking corticosteroids or users of cyclophosphamide, a medicine used for transplant patients that help prevent rejection of the organ, should not use this herb. It is also not recommended for children or pregnant women. As with anything new, always consult your doctor first and let them properly evaluate your condition and determine if it is safe for you.
Astragalus is proving to have a significant impact on many health issues. Research is providing supportive evidence that this magical herb can promote great resilience to many health aliments and diseases and help treat and improve many conditions. Further exploration of the astragalus root will hopefully provide substantial evidence of it's health providing benefits and how it can aid in providing better health and longevity.