There is a great deal of research interest in Astragalus. It contains Astragalosides (anti-oxidants), which support the integrity of the respiratory tract. In addition, the polysaccharides found in Astragalus are known for their immune supporting properties. Astragalus herb also supports deep immune function by promoting normal levels of specific immune cells and aids in their function. Astragalus appears especially effective when immune function is stressed by environmental or endogenous challenges.
What is Astragalus?
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is a plant native to Asia. It is considered as a miracle herb and the powerful extract from this root has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. The perennial flowering plant, also called Milkvetch Root and Huang-qi, grows from 16 to 36 inches tall and is native to the north and eastern regions of China. Astragalus roots are harvested from 4-year-old plants and are the only part of the plant that’s used medicinally.
Astragalus is rich in iron, zinc, folic acid and choline. Its roots contain polysaccharides, triterpenoids, isoflavones, glycosides, malonates and saponins. Three important components of Astragalus are:
- Saponins – Saponins are known for their ability to lower cholesterol, improve the immune system and prevent cancer.
- Flavonoids – Flavonoids provide health benefits through cell signalling. They show antioxidative qualities, control and scavenge of free radicals, and can help prevent heart disease, cancer and immunodeficiency viruses
- Polysaccharides – Polysaccharides are known to have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory capabilities, among other health benefits.
What are the health benefits of Astragalus?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herb was hailed as a protector against stresses, both mental and physical. Astragalus provides health benefits to a number of body systems and ailments such as:
- Boosting the Immune System
Astragalus has been used to boost the immune system for more than thousands of years. It protects the immune system from major attacks and makes it smarter and stronger at handling foreign substances. It has natural antibiotic properties, so it can increase resistance to viral infections and it is full of antioxidants that protect cells against free radical damage. Some evidence shows that astragalus may increase your body’s production of white blood cells, which are the cells of your immune system responsible for preventing illness.
- Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is at the root of most diseases. From arthritis to heart disease, it’s often the culprit of the damage. Studies show that thanks to its saponins and polysaccharides, astragalus can reduce inflammatory response in connection to a number of illnesses and conditions, from helping to heal wounds and lesions to reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.
- Heart Health
Astragalus is also known for improving heart function and providing protection against heart disease. The flavonoids present in astragalus are antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and narrowing of vessel walls by protecting the inner wall of the vessel. 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.
- Anti-oxidant and Anti-Aging Capabilities
Oxidation due to free radical damage is the main component in disease and aging, and many elements found in astragalus fight free radical damage and prevent of oxidative stress. The herb’s polysaccharides have positive effects on the immune system and improvement of the function of the brain – both of which could lengthen life span.
- Treats Colds and Flu
Because of astragalus’ antiviral capabilities, it has long been used to treat common colds and the flu. A regimen of astragalus before the colder months of winter may help to prevent or decrease the number of colds and upper respiratory illnesses individuals will have throughout the season.
- Adaptogenic properties
Astragalus 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. Astragalus lowers cortisol, aka the stress hormone, while boosting the immune system.
There are several ways to use astragalus, from teas to supplements to topical creams. You can also incorporate it into various recipes.
Astragalus is available at C Beyond Health in both capsule and tincture form