Astragalus has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It is known by many names such as huang qi in Chinese, meaning “yellow leader”, referring to color of the roots. In Japanese it is known as ogi and hwanggi in Korean. Another common name is “milk vetch”.
The health benefits of Astragalus are numerous and include the ability to boost the immune system, boost energy levels, alleviate allergies, protect heart health, prevent various cancers, relieve the side-effects of chemotherapy, and the list goes on.
Astragalus is rich in iron, zinc, folic acid and choline. Its roots contain polysaccharides, triterpenoids, isoflavones, glycosides, malonates and saponins. Astragalus root is a potent adaptogen, which can help the body deal with emotional, mental and physical stress, as well as having major benefits for the body.
Three important components of astragalus are flavonoids, polysaccharides and saponins. Flavonoids have antioxidant qualities that scavenge free radicals and help to prevent numerous issues such as cancer, heart disease and immunodeficiency viruses.
Health Benefits of Astragalus
Anemia: Astragalus helps to strengthen blood vessels and improve the bodys efficiency in delivering oxygen throughout the body.
Anti-Aging: Telomere length in DNA is associated with aging. Shorter telomeres are indicative of damaged, older cells. TAT2 increases the activity and production of telomerase, an enzyme which facilitates the repair of telomeres on DNA.
Anti-Inflammatory: The saponins and polysaccharides in astragalus reduce inflammatory response in a wide range of illnesses.
Asthma: Traditionally used to prevent asthma attack from chronic asthma patients
Colds and flu: Rich with antioxidants to fight free radical damage and stimulate the immune system.
Cancer: Astragalus may have anti-tumor effects, specifically against melanoma and leukemia and gastric cancer cell growth.
Chemotherapy Side Effects Relief: Patients receiving chemo may recover more quickly and experience relief from symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Cholesterol: Studies show that astragalus is promising in its ability to lower cholesterol levels and if proven in human trials would be a great alternative to statins.
Diabetes: Lowers blood sugar.
Insomnia: Because astragalus promotes your overall health and hormonal balance, consuming astragalus on a consistent basis can help your body get back into a normal circadian rhythm.
Immune System Booster: This study shows astragalus ability to regulate immune responses.
Kidney Disease: Preliminary research suggests astragalus may help protect the kidneys and may help treat kidney disease.
Liver Cancer: This study shares the success of astragalus in decreasing or destroying cancer tumors, especially in instances of chemoresistance.
Seasonal Allergies: Astragalus may help reduce symptoms in people who have allergic rhinitis or hayfever.
Toxin Removal: Astragalus offers support for liver activity and can also help to reduce the effects of toxin overload in the liver.
Wound Healing: This 2012 study shares exciting news about increased recovery rates for healing wounds and prevention of scarring.
Who Shouldn’t Use Astragalus?
While this may be beneficial for people with weak immune systems, it’s not a good choice for people who have an autoimmune disease, as it can exacerbate your symptoms. Unless approved by a physician, people with multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes or systemic lupus erythematosus shouldn’t use astragalus.
People who have had transplant surgery should not use astragalus, because it counteracts with the drug (cyclophosphamide), which is responsible for minimizing the risk of organ rejection. Astragalus may interfere with the effectiveness of corticosteroid medications and other drugs that suppress the immune system.
Pregnant and nursing mothers should also discuss this with their healthcare provider.
Incorporating Astragalus into your diet:
Astragalus root is available in many forms, such as dried root strips, tinctures, powders, capsules and tablets. It can be taken as a tea, strips can be added to soups and powders can be added to many recipes.
Looking for some ways to incorporate astragalus into your diet? Give one of these delicious recipes a try.
- Astragalus Butter
- Immune Power Ball Recipe
- Immune Soup
- Astragalus Chai
- Astragalus Miso Soup
- Astragalus Fruit Smoothie
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About the author:
Elisha McFarland N.D., D. A. Hom., CWR., M.H. is the founder of My Health Maven. Elisha turned her debilitating illness from mercury poisoning into a dedicated passion to helping others. The My Health Maven website covers a wide range of topics including non-toxic living, health tests at home, the healing power of foods, home remedies, food ingredients, dental health and environmental illness. Her goal is to share her experience and knowledge, to help others live life more abundantly.
Elisha’s articles are widely published throughout alternative media such as The Organic Consumer’s Association and Food Matters TV. She is also a contributor to GreenMedInfo, Natural Health 365, The Hearty Soul and Eat Local Grown.