This herb known as astragalus has been used as a remedy for weakness, edema, respiratory infections, diabetes, night sweats, diarrhea, heart disease and high blood pressure in traditional Chinese medicine for over four thousand years. Medical journals even suggest that this herb may be a useful stimulant for the immune system helping the body to resist and combat various diseases. And if you have a strong immune system as the basic building block for good health, everything else falls into place.
Astragalus was mentioned in an online discussion between various people interested in natural health remedies so I decided to do some research.
Research on astragalus
There has been considerable research on this herb in China itself but the results are not clear in spite of extensive chemical and pharmacological testing. However it confirmed that astragalus contains a variety of useful and beneficial compounds, including flavonoids, polysaccharides, triterpene glycosides, amino acids, and trace minerals. Fortunately, the US has also been busy researching astragalus too. There are many thousands of varieties of astragalus but it is the Chinese version that has been the subject of testing.
Studies at the University of Houston
have shown that astragalus may help improve immunity function in cancer patients by increasing T-cell counts. Other testing, including research by the National Cancer Institute, continues to explore further possible medical benefits of astragalus, including the treatment of AIDS.
Because astragalus has many potential applications (and few if any side effects), it is an exciting and potentially promising herb and alternative treatment option. Further research may prove astragalus to be invaluable in the medical treatment of a variety of conditions and illnesses.
Benefits associated with astragalus are the treatment or prevention of
- Cardiac arrest
- Cold/sore throat
- Immune function
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
Astragalus is a herbaceous perennial plant of the pea family and, as I have said, is most commonly used for immune enhancement. Most research on astragalus has focused on its immunostimulatory activity and its seemingly remarkable ability to restore the activity of a suppressed immune system. Clinical trials as well as pharmacological data provide evidence for its usefulness in the prevention of the common cold and as an adjunct to cancer therapies. If you are being treated with chemotherapy because of cancer, astragalus may be useful as a complementary treatment during chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Building the immune system
As far as the immune system is concerned, Astragalus is used to strengthen this over time (it is not an overnight quick fix) - building resistance to illness and disease but Echinacea may be used in conjunction with astragalus to provide an extra short term boost in immunity.
Astragalus is often used in combination with other herbs
Obviously If you have a serious condition you should consult your doctor, but astragalus is considered safe and free of harmful effects and well worth including in your array of health supplements. The portion of the plant used is the 4 to 7 year old dried root collected in the spring.