Astragalus root is a highly-beneficial herb. It occupies an important place in traditional Chinese medicine. Known for providing a plethora of health benefits, astragalus root primarily comes from the astragalus plant found in China.
Also known as Mongolian milkvetch and Huang qi, this hairy-stemmed plant grows all year-round from 16 to 36 inches tall. Although there are more than 2,000 species of astragalus, only astragalus membranaceus and astragalus mongholicus are used for medical purposes. Farmers generally harvest astragalus root from 4 years old plants. They are then marketed so that people can use it for treating various health treatments.
Though it has been a staple herb in traditional Chinese medicine, it has now become more popular in other parts of regions as well such as the United States. Astragalus root is famous for bearing anti-oxidant properties. This useful herb boosts the immune system, alleviates stress, fights tumors, and eliminates the after-effects of chemotherapy.
Astragalus root contains three main components – “saponins“, “flavonoids“, and “polysaccharides“. These 3 components positively impact the human health in various ways. For instance, saponins found in astragalus helps lower the cholesterol level and improve the immune system. On the other hand, flavonoids reduce the symptoms of heart diseases and cancer while polysaccharides treat harmful viruses and inflammation.
Astragalus root includes a number of rich nutrients that contribute to its effectiveness. For example, it contains selenium-based amino acids such as S-methylcysteine and Se-methylselenocysteine. The roots are also full of minerals like potassium, zinc, and iron. They also have more than 40 different saponins including astragaloside and flavonoids like isoflavones and pterocarpans. Together these bioactive constituents affect the human biology in powerful ways.
When you consume an astragalus root supplement, it instantly increases the level of a significant antioxidant – superoxide dismutase (SOD). This way, the supplement inhibits the oxidation level and maintains it.
- It promotes vascular and liver health.
- Traditionally it has been used to promote vitality.
- It improves immunity by promoting the white blood cells in the body.
How to improve the immune system of your body?
Astragalus roots can enhance the immune system by binding macrophages with B-cells. They also restore T cell functions which are commonly repressed in cancer.
This magical herb also improves hepatic function. This is beneficial for those who are suffering from chronic hepatitis. Researchers believe that astragalus root increases the levels of an enzyme – SGPT which is present in the liver and heart cells, improving the health of hepatitis patients.
The Chinese herb also prevents the development of various diseases often caused by oxidative stress and aging. It does so by inhibiting the formation and functioning of free radical cells and tissues. Moreover, it reduces lipid peroxidation – a process in which free radicals damage the electrons found in cell membranes.
When a person consumes astragalus supplements, the signaling proteins – interferons (IFNs) begin to increase in their numbers. These proteins fight off a host of parasites, tumor cells, viruses, and bacteria that are residing in your body, ultimately protecting you from life-threatening diseases.
This useful herb possesses the ability to boost your immune system in a number of ways. A 2011 study of the herb concluded that the presence of the polysaccharides in astragalus improves the activity of T cells. The T cells are antibodies that our immune system produces to keep chronic infections, diseases, viruses, and bacteria at bay.
Another way astragalus maintains a strong immune system is by fighting body viruses that may result in cold, influenza, and mono. Astragalus roots are a potent antioxidant that protects your immune system from free radicals.
When the DNA and cells oxidize together, they cause chronic inflammation which can harm your immune system. A 2014 study conducted on lambs found that astragalus supplements boosted the immune system with the help of the antioxidant action.
Do Adaptogens work?
Adaptogens refer to the class of plants that possess the ability to heal. And astragalus roots belong to this unique category. It helps boost the immune system and inhibit the effects of stress.
A 2005 study showed that a dose of 500 mg of astragalus decreased the stress hormones among piglets. The study further indicated an increase in the cellular immune response. Another animal study found this type of adaptogen to improve antioxidant levels to a great extent.
1. Boosts the Immune System
For centuries astragalus root has been used for curing immune system concerns. It triggers your immune cells by stimulating its resting cells, boosting your immune system in the process.
2. Boasts Anti-Aging Properties
The chromosomes that keep your DNA together comprise of telomeres. When cell division takes place, these telomeres change their shape by becoming shorter. As a result, they prevent the growth of healthy cells. This eventually leads to aging and various old-age related illnesses.
What astragalus root extracts do is that they activate the enzyme known as telomerase. This particular enzyme helps in bringing telomeres back to their original shape, allowing them to function and grow properly.
In addition to activating telomerase, astragalus root also slows the aging process by protecting mitochondria from getting damaged. It prevents the growth of harmful free radicals, contributing to the slower process of aging. This is the reason why many anti-aging beauty creams have astragalus root as an active ingredient.
3. Reduces the Effects of Stress
Coping with everyday challenges can easily pique agitation and anxiety. One may also suffer from stress due to a poor diet, lack of sleep, and environmental toxins.
hen you are stressful, your body experiences an intense change in the form of a weak immune system and an imbalanced gut system. Since astragalus root is an adaptogen, it can help your body to get back to normal.
4. Helps Break Down Arterial Plaque
Arterial plaque is one of the reasons for high blood pressure. A build-up of plaque typically comprises of fats, cholesterol, and calcium which can adversely affect the cardiovascular health.
It makes the arteries narrower, making it difficult for the blood to flow smoothly. Narrow arteries cause a blockage in your heart. This can lead to developing serious health conditions like heart strokes or heart attack.
5. Encourages Balanced Cholesterol Level
Many studies show that astragalus root is quite promising in its ability to lower the cholesterol level. An improved cholesterol level, in turn, improves heart health, making it less vulnerable to heart failure, heart attack, clogged blood vessels, heart stroke, and other problems.
6. Encourages Normal Blood Sugar Levels
Insulin helps glucose enter your body cells. However, at times, certain cells of your body become numb to the effects of insulin, creating a condition called “insulin resistance”.
As a result, there is little to no insulin in your body which makes it difficult for the glucose to enter the cells. Astragalus roots regulate the effects of insulation, encouraging a normal blood sugar level.
7. Supports Normal Kidney Function
Astragalus roots provide nutrients like iron, protein, and hemoglobin which improve the functioning of kidneys while it decreases proteinuria – a harmful protein that may harm the kidney.
8. Helps Detox and Protect the Liver
Astragalus can be beneficial in cleansing the accumulated toxins present in your liver. These toxins have the capability to harmfully impact the performance of your immune system.
9. Supports Healthy Cell Cycles
Many times the activity of your cells creates a disturbance, causing hindrance to their growth. Studies have proved astragalus roots to support a healthy cell cycle by protecting them through endothelial cells.
10. Lessens the Symptoms of Chemotherapy
Astragalus root has proven to help patients receiving chemotherapy by letting them recover quicker than those who do not take it.
Severe chemotherapy symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bone marrow. Astragalus roots are effective in treating these symptoms quite efficiently.
11. Slows or Prevents the Growth of Tumors
Many recent studies have concluded astragalus roots in eliminating cancer tumors. According to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, astragalus root has shown the potential to treat the symptoms of liver cancer.
12. Treats Cold and Flu
Astragalus root is often combined with other herbs to make it a perfect remedy for cold and flu. Owing to its antiviral capabilities, this herb is able to cure the common symptoms of cold and flu.
In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus root is not recommended for infants or children. This is because it can increase the temperature if the child already has a high fever. In the case of adults, the dosage of astragalus depends on factors like the age, weight and therapeutic purpose.
How much astragalus should you take?
The best is to consume astragalus roots in lower dosage – at least below 28g per day. High dosage of astragalus root can severe the functionality of your immune system.
How to take astragalus?
For general use, you can take astragalus root supplements in doses around 1 to 30 grams per day. For treating a hay fever, you can take astragalus root extracts twice daily in 160 mg doses. If you are not sure about the amount of astragalus roots dose you should take, it is better to consult your doctor before you start taking astragalus root supplements. A medical professional who knows your health and body will be able to prescribe the right dosage.
Is the Consumption of Astragalus Safe During Pregnancy?
Astragalus roots have plenty of health benefits for pregnant women. During pregnancy, women experience weakness and excessive fatigue, astragalus roots can easily restore your energy levels. It also increases your stamina so that you find no difficulty while working.
Pregnant women should consider taking astragalus roots as it makes their immune system stronger. Pregnancy may make you vulnerable to viruses but the intake of astragalus can help keep these viruses at bay. Astragalus roots also protect the immune system from microbial infections, gestational diabetes, and other ailments when you are expecting a child.
During pregnancy, your body produces more hormones than normal. This can add extra pressure on the liver as it will have to overwork. However, astragalus roots make sure that your liver functions smoothly.
Is Astragalus Root Safe?
Astragalus roots have no serious side-effects when taken in the proper dosage. It is also safe when you consume it with the combination of other herbs or medications.
Although it is a well-tolerated herb, it may cause certain kinds of side-effects among sensitive people like nausea, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. Much is not known if it has after-effects on pregnant women. So, it is important that you first consult a doctor or health nutritionist before taking it.
Many people take astragalus root supplements on a daily basis for curing different health conditions. Here are a few positive reviews by some of the consumers of astragalus root supplements:
“Ever since I started taking this product for treating flu, I have noticed a considerable improvement in my health. Highly recommended!”
“I have been using astragalus root supplements for ages. I have never had a cold, flu, pneumonia or any serious illness since the time I started taking these pills. These extracts are really good. They have considerably improved my health”.
Astragalus roots are one of the most common herbs that are available online. There are many websites where you can find high-quality astragalus roots extracts. You may also find astragalus root powder, free from chemicals and harmful pesticides.
However, don’t be fooled by its low prices. The best way to assess the reliability of an online astragalus root supplement is to check customer reviews.
The astragalus root extract that you buy must have the FDA approval seal. Several sellers out there may be selling low-quality supplements which may result in disastrous situations like heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. Hence, at the time of buying astragalus root supplements make sure that the product clearly says “approved by the FDA.”
- Synergistic hepatoprotective effect of Schisandrae lignans with Astragalus polysaccharides on chronic liver injury in rats.
- Qi-Shao-Shuang-Gan, a combination of Astragalus membranaceus saponins with Paeonia lactiflora glycosides, ameliorates polymicrobial sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture in mice.
- Study on effects of Astragalus, Angelica and their combination on vascular endothelial cell proliferation in vitro.
- Efficacy and safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis
- Inhibitory effects of calycosin isolated from the root of Astragalus membranaceus on melanin biosynthesis.
- Merit of Astragalus polysaccharide in the improvement of early diabetic nephropathy with an effect on mRNA expressions of NF-kappaB and IkappaB in renal cortex of streptozotoxin-induced diabetic rats.
- Treatment of idiopathic membranous nephropathy with the herb Astragalus membranaceus.
- Meta-analysis of the clinical value of Astragalus membranaceus in diabetic nephropathy.
- Effects of Astragalus injection on renal tubular function in patients with IgA nephropathy.
- Effects of astragalus injection on renal function in patients after cardiac valve replacement with cardiopulmonary bypass.
- Intervention of astragalus injection on the kidney injury after cardiopulmonary bypass of infants with congenital heart disease.
- Astragalus membranaceus injection delayed allograft survival related with CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells.
- Astragalus polysaccharides attenuate postburn sepsis via inhibiting negative immunoregulation of CD4+ CD25(high) T cells.
- Enhancement of the innate immune response of bladder epithelial cells by Astragalus polysaccharides through upregulation of TLR4 expression.
- Astragalus polysaccharides enhance the humoral and cellular immune responses of hepatitis B surface antigen vaccination through inhibiting the expression of transforming growth factor β and the frequency of regulatory T cells.