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Astragalus Root - Boost Your Immune System & Helps Cancer Therapies

Updated on March 31, 2015

Astragalus Root - Used in The East for Thousands of Years

Astragalus has been used in China and Asian cultures for literally thousands of years, as a part of their medicinal herb culture. It has been studied in the Western world for about 35 years, and studies have shown it is medicinally helpful. Even Dr. Oz has personally recommended the use of Astragalus root.

Read on the find out why.

Astragalus is the English name for Huang-qi. Huang means yellow, the color of the herb's root, and qi translates as leader, which refers to the fact that this herb is considered to be "superior" and is at the top of the list of Chinese herbs used for medicinal purposes.

Astragalus grows in China. The roots are harvested when the plants are 4 to 5 years old. When partially dry, the roots are sliced lengthwise, and then fully dried. The result is a flat stick that has a lengthy shelf life.

Astragalus is used in Fu-Zheng therapy, a Chinese method that treats illness by stimulating the body's own defenses to promote healing and wellness. This is described in the Western world as boosting the immune system. Scientists are tracking the immune stimulating abilities of astragalus root to the properties in it known as polysaccharides.

~photo courtesy of

How Does Astragalus Boost Our Immune System ?

How Do They Work ?

Astragalus is a stimulation herb. It stimulates the stem cells in the bone marrow and speeds up the times it takes them to developed into full blown immune cells that are then released into the body, ready to defend you against illness. Astragalus boosts every part and activity of the immune system, making it function better and faster.

Active ingredients in astragalus include astragalan B, a polysaccharide, bioflavanoids and choline. Astragalan B has been shown to be effective in animal studies to protect your body again infections and toxins. Astragalan B encourages the immune system to attack the outer membranes of virusese damaging their defenses which allows the immune system to overwhelm and neutrilize them. Astragalus also promotes the production of Interferon and enhances the function of T cells and NK which increases resistance to viral infections.

Astragalus Can Help Cancer Patients

With Chemo and Survivability

Common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation tend to lower the patients immunoresponse, making them more vulnerable to catching other illnesses. Since astragalus root extract boosts the immune system, researcher started studying it in relation to increasing the immunity of cancer patients in 1975. In the following ten years, several studies were published that stated that astragalus helps bone marrow to produce more white blood cells, which is the first part of the immunoresponse. Astragalus also encourages the ability of the white blood cells to surround and engulf foreign particles like viruses and bacterial infections, and destroy them. The studies also stated that astragalus can help fight gastrointestinal poisoning, common from most forms of cancer treatments.

The conclusion reached was that the survival rate rose significantly for patients that received astragalus therapy in addition to conventional cancer therapies.

Daily Dosage - What's Recommended

You can take Astragalus via the actual root, if you buy it. (do NOT try to gather it yourself, as some species of Astragalus are toxic) A daily dose of 9 to 15 g of the sliced and dried roots, boiled for two to three hours in about a quart of water. Strain the water and drink it in the morning and evening.

You can also get Astragalus in a ticture, capsule or tablet form. It may or may not be combined with ginseng. Dosage is usually three 500mg caplets twice a day.

Astragalus Root Tincture - 2 oz Liquid

Benefits of Astragulas - There are Many

Astragalus isn't a cure for any illness and it should not be treated as one. Talking to your doctor before starting any supplement is always the best thing to do.

  1. Reduces blood sugar - astragalus is commonly used to treat diabetes in China. Make sure to talk to your doctor first before taking astragalus if you are diabetic, so your blood sugar does not fall too low.

  2. Beneficial for heart health - it protects the cells in your heart from free radical damage which are possibly responsible for heart disease and come cancers. There's also some evidence that astragalus may prevent plaque build up in the arteries, which could lower cholesterol.

  3. Boosts immunity - It promotes the immune system and helps your body fight of infections and viruses, like the flu or common cold.

  4. It's an adaptogen - Adaptogens are herbs which appear to increase the body's ability to adapt to stress and changing situations. It may also help you feel healthier, fight fatigue and lethargy.

  5. Improves digestion - astragalus lowers the acidity in your stomach and improves the digestive function in general.

  6. Lessens the side effects of chemotherapy - may be beneficial for cancer patients who are are receiving chemotherapy and or radiation.

    It also may also reduce loss of appetite from treatment sickness and help with fatigue from cancer therapies.

  7. Protects the kidneys - may help with kidney disease and help kidney function.

  8. Anti-aging benefits - because it slows aging in the cells of the immune system.

You Should Not Take Astragalus If.......

Astragalus is totally safe for most people. However, there are some illnesses and medications that do not interact well with astragalus root extract. Since a limited number of human studies have been done, there is a small chance that there may be other side effects or interactions that are not known, so it is always wise to check with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.

  1. If you take corticosteroids, or other drugs that lower the efficiency of the immune system or if you have an auto-immune disease like lupus or multiple sclerosis. Astragalus may interact badly with your medication.

  2. If you have recently had a transplant of any kind and take cyclophosphamide to reduce the risk of rejection.

  3. If you take lithium, because astragalus can make it more difficult for your body to shed it.

  4. Since astragalus can reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. So if you have high blood pressure or blood sugar problems (high or low) you should avoid taking astragalus.

This tea is good for cold and flu miseries like sore throats, congestion and swollen glands. It can be made with or without sage, but the sage is antimicrobial, and beneficial if you are sick

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 15 min
  • Yields: 4


  • 4 teaspoon dried astragalus root or bulk powder
  • 4 teaspoons of chopped fresh sage or double that of dried sage
  • 1 quart of water
  • 3 teaspoons organic honey


  1. Boil the water.
  2. Drop in the sage and astragalus in the water, and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid and add honey, stirring gently.
  4. Pour into cups and serve hot, or chill and serve over ice.
  5. WARNING: Sage consumption should be avoided if you have Epilepsy.
  6. ~photo courtesy of Recipe is from my friend Rayne, used with her permission.

Health King Astragalus Immunity Herb Tea - 20 Tea Bags

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What Do You Think of Astragalus ? - Do You Think You Might Try It ?

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  • MelRootsNWrites profile image

    Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

    I've heard of astralagus root, but didn't know of its various health benefits. I see it is of benefit for digestive problems. I wonder if it's ever been used for irritable bowel syndrome. Thanks for the info.! I think I have some research to do.

  • Nancy Hardin profile image

    Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    I'd never heard of this, but it certainly sounds like a good thing for the human body. There are many wise medical treatments that have come from China, after all, they are an ancient society. We should learn all we can from them. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jadelynx-HP profile image

    Tracey Boyer 5 years ago from Michigan

    @dahlia369: You are most welcome :)

  • dahlia369 profile image

    dahlia369 5 years ago

    Very useful info, thank you!! :)

  • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

    Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

    I also have never heard of this particular extract. Thanks for this thorough article.

  • ismeedee profile image

    ismeedee 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing as I'd never heard of this before! I also like the chinese philosophy of stimulating the immune system naturally.