Boosts the Immune System
Astragalus has a long and enduring history as a potent immune boosting herb and disease fighter. It is an immunostimulant (an agent that stimulates the immune system) that it is known to increase the count of white blood cells and stimulate the production of antibodies. This builds up bodily resistance to viruses and bacteria. There have been many clinical studies showing how Astragalus not only boosts the immune system, but also encourages an increase in immune cell activity (T-cells, natural killer cells, macrophages, immunoglobulin), production and function. Astragalus appears to help trigger immune cells from a resting state into heightened activity. The number of macrophages (cells of the immune system that ingest foreign antigens to protect against infection) has been shown to increase after administering Astragalus. The immune system's natural killer cells also have a markedly enhanced ability to fight intruders (five to six times higher than normal).
Astragalus root is considered an adaptogen – it helps to build and restore overall health to the body. It is especially used for adrenal fatigue cases, particularly when symptoms manifest as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. Oxidation due to free radical damage is the main component in disease and ageing, and many elements found in astragalus fight free radical damage and prevent of oxidative stress. Astragalus' polysaccharides have positive effects on the immune system and improvement of the brain's function, both of which could lengthen life span.
Astragalus has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for longevity, invigorate Qi (vital energy), and strengthening the body. New and exciting research is currently being conducted that shows that Astragalus does, indeed, have powerful anti-ageing properties, slowing the ageing process at a cellular level. Astragaloside IV - a saponin of this powerful herb - has shown benefits in reversing cell damage and in activating telomerase. This addresses telomere shortening and slows down cellular ageing. Telomeres are the protective ends of chromosomes that slowly shorten and wear out each time cell division occurs in the body - a process central to human ageing. The theory is that telomeres act as a kind of countdown clock, so when they wear out, cell division stops and tissues quickly degrade and die. Telomerase enzymes work to renew telomeres, although they are not produced as the body ages over time. Another saponin of Astragalus that is being extensively studied for its anti-ageing effects is Cycloastragenol (CGA), thought to have even more activating potential on telomerase. Research suggests that CGA may have wide use in the treatment of degenerative diseases and ageing. Astragalus supplementation is most effective when long-term, providing many benefits that can contribute to a longer, healthier life.
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 the inflammatory response in connection to a number of illnesses and conditions, from helping heal wounds and lesions to reduce inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.
Regulates and Prevents Diabetes
Astragalus has been studied progressively as an antidiabetic. Studies show its ability to relieve insulin resistance and treat diabetes naturally. The herb's collection of saponins, flavonoids, and polysaccharides effectively treat and regulate 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 people with diabetes is also a common problem. 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.
Improves Heart Health
The plant flavonoids present in Astragalus have cardioprotective effects, helping prevent plaque buildup in the arteries and narrowing the blood vessel walls by protecting the vessel's inner wall. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and lower triglycerides. One particular study published in the "Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine" found that one particular flavonoid "Astragaloside IV", exerted protective effects on the cardiovascular system. The flavonoids present in Astragalus are antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and narrowing vessel walls by protecting the vessel's inner wall. Additionally, other studies have shown its ability to reduce blood pressure and level of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides put individuals at risk for many forms of heart disease, such as stroke, heart attack and hardening of artery walls. 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 may prevent additional heart muscle damage by regulating calcium homeostasis in the heart.
Improves Sexual Health
Traditionally prescribed in Chinese Medicine for male infertility, Astragalus has now been scientifically proven to increase sperm motility in a study conducted by the Institutes of Traditional Medicine and Clinical Medicine. It is extremely supportive of male hormones. By balancing glucose levels, it can optimise testosterone and growth hormone levels.
Slows or Prevents the Growth of Tumours
Many recent screenings have shown the success of Astragalus saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides in decreasing or eliminating tumours. In instances of chemoresistance treating liver cancer, Astragalus has shown potential in reversing multidrug resistance and as an addition to conventional chemotherapy.
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, diarrhoea 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 chemotherapy treatments.
Treats Colds and Flu
Astragalus' antiviral capabilities have long been used to treat common colds and the flu. As with many other natural cold remedies, it seems to work better when used when healthy individuals use the supplement regularly to prevent the illness before it happens. A regimen of astragalus before the colder months of winter may help prevent or decrease the number of colds and upper respiratory illnesses individuals will have throughout the season.
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 with Astragalus, hypersensitivity in airways decreased substantially, as well as mucous production and inflammation were reduced. By preventing or reducing asthma attacks, individuals could be relieved of chronic asthma issues.
Aids in Wound Healing and Minimises Scarring
Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, Astragalus has a long history of treating wounds. This powerful herb 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 confirmed that astragalus is a promising natural product for anti-scarring and healing in wounds.
BOTANICAL NAME: Astragalus propinquus
OTHER NAME(S): Astragale, Astragale à Feuilles de Réglisse, Astragale Queue-de-Renard, Astragale Réglissier, Astragali, Astragalo, Astragalus Membranaceus, Astragalus mongholicus, Astragli Membranceus, Beg Kei, Bei Qi, Buck Qi, Chinese Astragalus, Huang Qi, Huang Se, Huangqi, Hwanggi, Membranous Milk Vetch, Membranous Milkvetch, Milk Vetch, Mongolian Milk, Mongolian Milkvetch, Ogi, Phaca membranacea, Radix Astragali, Radix Astragalus, Réglisse Bâtarde, Réglisse Sauvage.