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Healthy Benefits of Astragalus

Updated on May 3, 2015
astragalus membranaceus
astragalus membranaceus | Source
astragalus | Source

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.

Health Benefits

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.


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    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 2 years ago from Mississippi

      Akriti Mattu

      thank you! :)

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Every post of yours make so much sense. Worth reading.

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 3 years ago from Mississippi

      You are welcome! So glad you found it helpful :)

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 3 years ago

      Wow I've got to get my hands on this, thanks for the informative article!

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 4 years ago from Mississippi

      You are so welcome :) thanks for reading! :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      First time I have read about Astragalus. An eye-opener. Thanks

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 4 years ago from Mississippi

      Jeanne Grunert

      Thanks so much! I love learning about things that can help us :) thanks for reading!

    • Jeanne Grunert profile image

      Jeanne Grunert 4 years ago from Virginia

      I enjoyed your article! Well written and researched, too. I look forward to more of your work.

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 4 years ago from Mississippi

      Yes, Astragalus has so many health benefits. Thanks so much for reading! :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have heard of this but never paid much attention to it. Sounds like it can be useful in a number of different ways. Up and interesting votes!

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 5 years ago from Mississippi


      Yes I agree, there are many plants that could benefit our health and many people now are discovering these benefits. Thank you so much for reading and for your comment :)

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 5 years ago from Mississippi


      I purchase mine from ebay but most healthfood stores such as GNC should have it. There are many places online that it can be purchased from as well. Thanks so much for your comment :)

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 5 years ago

      Hello, rls, nice write on Astragalus.

      You know, our ancestor had to rely on herbs and natural forms of medication. There are so many plants that give us life saving options. I think we will one day rely more on these gifts from mother nature.

      Nice write. Thanks for the information.


    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I have never heard of this plant. Where do you typically buy it? Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 5 years ago from Mississippi

      Hi Nell. I had never heard of this herb either until I came across it recently and I was so amazed at what It could do. Thanks so much for reading! :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi ris, Wow, I had never heard of it before! sounds like it could be a great use in medicine as you say. I love learning something new, so this is great, voted up! nell