What is Astragalus?
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is group of around 3000 herbs belonging to the legume family Fabaceae. Native to northern and eastern China, Mongolia and Korea, Astragalus can grow 16-36 inches in height, consisting of a hairy stem and leaves made up of 12-18 leaflets. This flowering plant has been used as an herb in China for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese Medicine makes use of Astragalus to boost the immune system and to fight against diseases.
The medical qualities are found in the plant’s roots which are harvested from plants that are 4 years old.
Medicinal properties and health benefits
There has been a vast number of studies conducted on the medicinal properties of Astragalus. Most of these studies correlate to positive health benefits from Astragalus including stress relief, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting cells against damage as well as a possible treatment for the side effects of chemotherapy and weakened immune systems from exposure to radiation.
Astragalus is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is an herbal ingredient capable of managing the body’s hormonal response to stress. In other words, it benefits the body by protecting it from physical and emotional stress.
Flavonoids found in Astragalus provides antioxidants that are capable of protecting cells from damage. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus is used to treat or prevent colds. Modern laboratory tests and studies done on animals shows that it can act against viruses (which are also the cause to colds). A study has also shown that Astragalus may help people with seasonal allergies such as hay fever by reducing the symptoms as well as preventing upper respiratory infections.
Research done in China indicates the antioxidant properties of this plant may relieve symptoms of severe heart disease. This is achieved by the presence of Saponins, which are capable of lowering cholesterol levels and improving the functionality of the heart. It also acts as a lenient diuretic by getting rid of excess fluid in the body.
Studies done in the United States suggest that Astragalus supplements help reduce side effects of chemotherapy. These characteristics are also related to the properties of Flavonoids present in Astragalus which can help prevent cancer. Further research suggests the anti-tumor effects of Astragalus that is effective against leukemia and melanoma, according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. Studies further suggests that Astragalus can help people live longer and to recover faster.
Preliminary studies points to evidence that Astragalus may help treat Kidney disease and also reduce blood pressure. Triglycerides are a cause of many heart diseases. Astragalus are found to reduce the levels of triglyceride in the body, reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Available forms and doses
Astragalus supplements are found in various forms such as tincture, tablets, capsules, injectable forms and topically for the skin. No serious side effects are present when taken at recommended doses, however, it can interfere with other herbs and medications, specifically drugs that suppress the immune system. It is highly recommended to consult your doctor to find a recommended dosage and to make the maximum benefits out of this amazing herb.
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