Everything You Need to Know About Astragalus

The Chinese have used the herb astragalus for thousands of years in traditional medicine.

They say it can help with anything from inflammation to aging to strengthening your immune system.

Astragalus is used to cure a broad range of conditions, including exhaustion, allergies, and the common cold, and is also widely held to increase longevity. Diseases like diabetes and heart disease may be treated with this.

Several studies have shown that Astragalus may have beneficial effects, and this page discusses them.

So, What Exactly is Astragalus?

Astragalus, sometimes called "huáng qí or milkvetch," has long been a staple of Chinese traditional medications.

Just two of the more than 2,000 species of Astragalus are often used as supplements: "Astragalus membranaceus" and "Astragalus mongholicus."

Supplements derived from the plant's root may be found in several forms, such as liquid extracts, capsules, powders, and teas. The herb astragalus may also be administered intravenously or by injection at a medical facility. Much of the root's purported advantages may be traced back to the abundance of active plant chemicals. Its active ingredients, for instance, may have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects.

While Astragalus has yet to be thoroughly studied, it shows promise as a treatment for many illnesses, including the common cold, seasonal allergies, heart disease, renal disease, chronic tiredness, and more.

May Give Your Immune System a Boost

The plant known as Astragalus includes functional plant components that can boost one's immune system.

Your immune system's primary function is to defend your body against potentially dangerous foreign agents such as bacteria, germs, and viruses that may cause sickness. This defense is essential to the proper functioning of your immune system.

Some evidence suggests that taking Astragalus may boost the production of white blood cells in your body, which are the cells of your immune system responsible for protecting you from being sick. In studies conducted on animals, the root of the astragalus plant was shown to be effective in suppressing bacterial and viral infections in mice.

Although study on the topic is limited, it might help combat viral infections in people, including disorders of the liver and the common cold. Even though the results of these trials are encouraging, further study is required to discover whether or not Astragalus helps ward against and cure illnesses.

Perhaps Helpful to Heart Health

When taken by people with certain cardiac conditions, Astragalus has the potential to enhance cardiac function. It's thought to work by relaxing the smooth muscle in your arteries, which allows more blood to flow away from the heart.

In a clinical study, patients with heart failure took regular medicine plus 2.25g of Astragalus twice daily for two weeks. They improved their heart function far more than the control group who just got the usual treatment.

In another study, 60g of Astragalus was administered intravenously to patients with heart failure in addition to their traditional medicine. They also saw more symptom relief than individuals who just got standard treatment.

Nevertheless, multiple randomized controlled studies, including people with heart failure, have failed to find any benefits for cardiac function. Myocarditis is an inflammatory sickness of the heart, and Astragalus has been related in certain studies to decreased disease symptoms. Yet, findings tend to be inconsistent.

Perhaps Helps Chemotherapy's Unpleasant Side Effects

There are several undesirable consequences of chemotherapy. There is preliminary evidence that Astragalus may assist with specific symptoms.

When administered intravenously (IV), Astragalus has decreased nausea by 36%, vomiting by 50%, and diarrhea by 59% in clinical research involving persons receiving chemotherapy. Other additional trials have shown the herb effectively reduces nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy for colon cancer.

Also, 500mg of Astragalus administered intravenously (IV) three times weekly has shown promise in reducing the intense fatigue common to chemotherapy patients. Nevertheless, Astragalus showed promise only during the first week of therapy.

May Help Control Blood Sugar Levels

Those with type 2 diabetes may benefit from the active chemicals in the astragalus root in bringing their blood sugar levels down to normal. For managing diabetes, it is the most often recommended herb in China.

Astragalus has been demonstrated to enhance sugar metabolism and decrease blood sugar levels in animal and test-tube experiments. Weight loss was also seen in animal research.

Studies in people have shown comparable results; however, further investigation is required to draw firm conclusions. For instance, consuming Astragalus daily for up to four months, at 40g-60g, has improved fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes.

Possible Benefits to Kidney Function

Blood flow and laboratory kidney function indices, such as protein measurements in the urine, may also benefit from astragalus' use for kidney health.

Proteinuria occurs when the kidneys are not filtering waste properly or when there is some other cause for abnormal quantities of protein to be detected in the urine.

Many trials, including those with renal illness, have demonstrated that Astragalus reduces proteinuria.

Those with impaired renal function may also benefit from this in terms of avoiding infections.

When given once daily for three to six months, 7.5-15g of Astragalus significantly decreased the risk of infection for those with nephrotic syndrome. Nevertheless, further research is required to verify this result.

Possible Adverse Events and Interactions

Astragalus generally has no adverse effects.

Nevertheless, some studies have shown mild adverse effects, such as a rash, itching, runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea.

Astragalus may be used by the majority of the population without risk; nevertheless, the following persons should not −

  • Women who are expecting or who are nursing.

  • Those afflicted with autoimmune disorders.

  • Patients on immunosuppressive medications.

  • Blood sugar and blood pressure levels may also be affected.

Recommended Dosage

It's also common to see people use decoctions. The active chemicals in the astragalus root are used to make these.

There is no agreement on the optimal astragalus preparation or dosage; nonetheless, daily 9-30g are common.

In addition, studies have shown the following oral dosages to be effective for some medical issues −

  • With standard therapy for up to 30 days, congestive heart failure patients should take 2 to 7.5g of powdered Astragalus twice daily.

  • Astragalus decoctions containing 40-60g per day for up to four months have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels.

  • Astragalus powder between 7.5 and 15g twice a day for up to six months to prevent infections in patients with kidney failure.

  • Astragalus root decoction with additional herbs, 30g per day for Chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • For seasonal allergy sufferers, taking two 80-mg capsules of astragalus extract twice daily for six weeks has shown positive results.

Studies suggest it is safe to take 60g orally daily for up to four months. Unfortunately, there have yet to be long-term trials to assess whether or not such large dosages are safe.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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