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Astragalus: The medicinal herb Astragalus as an alternative herbal remedy to enhance the immune system - Native to China, astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. A whole medical system that originated in China. It is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang. Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi.. In the United States, the herb gained popularity in the 1980s.Common Name--astragalus, bei qi (In traditional Chinese medicine, the vital energy or life force proposed to regulate a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang.), huang qi, ogi, hwanggi, milk vetchLatin Name--Astragalus membranaceus, Astragalus mongholicus Picture of Astragalus

Plant Description: Astragalus is a perennial plant, about 16 - 36 inches tall, that is native to the northern and eastern parts of China as well as Mongolia and Korea. It has hairy stems with leaves made up of 12 - 18 pairs of leaflets. The root is the medicinal part, and is usually harvested from 4-year-old plants.

  • Huang qi (Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries as a natural rejuvenating tonic. Currently, much of the pharmacological research on Astragalus is focused on its benefits for the immune system (Wang DC. "Influence of Astragalus membranaceus (AM) polysaccharide FB on immunologic function of human periphery blood lymphocyte". Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi 1989;11:180-183). The main constituents of Astragalus membranaceus include polysaccharides, saponins, flavonoids and amino acids. (Bombardelli E, Pozzi R. "Polysaccharides with immunomodulating properties from Astragalus membranaceus and pharmaceutical compositions containing them". Eur pat 441278 A1;1994). Astragalus has also been studied for its ability to support lung health. (Niu HR, Lai ZH, Yuan L. "Observation on effect of supplementary treatment by Astragalus injection in treating senile pulmonary tuberculosis patients".
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Astragalus plant
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Astragalus Roots
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What Astragalus Is Used For

  • Herbal remedy to boost immune system. Historically, astragalus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, usually in combination with other herbs, to support and enhance the immune system. It is still widely used in China for chronic hepatitis and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer.
  • It is a very useful protector of adrenal cortical function and regulates blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • It is also used to prevent and treat common colds and upper respiratory infections.
  • Astragalus has also been used for heart disease.
  • Recent research confirms the positive effect of Astragalus on immune functioning and its ability to help the body fight against disease.
  • Astragalus membranaceous (Huang Qi) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many centuries as a natural rejuvenator tonic. Currently, much of the pharmacological research on Astragalus is focused on its immune-stimulating polysaccharides and other active ingredients useful in treating immune deficiency conditions.

How Astragalus Is Used

  • The root of the astragalus plant is typically used in soups, teas, extracts, or capsules. Astragalus is generally used with other herbs, such as ginseng, angelica, and licorice.
  • Use the herb in tea to improve immunity or to reduce symptoms of an existing cold or flu. Use 1 tbsp. of the dried herb and steep in warm water.
  • Reduce the chance of stress on the immune system and the overall health by taking Astragalus supplements in the colder months, since stress from daily life can break down the immune system and cause more sever illness.

Herbal Remedy Products with Astragalus as part of the ingredients

BioVent Drops.jpg
  • BioVent Drops™ - Natural remedy reduces asthmatic symptoms and improves respiratory function
    • Improves respiratory functioning
    • Reduces frequency and severity of asthma attacks
    • Reduces allergic reactions
    • Ensures strong immune system functioning
    • Reduces stress-related asthma and respiratory problems
    • Relaxes bronchioles and prevents bronchospasms
  • Astragalus as one of the main ingredients of BioVent Drops: Huang qi (Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries as a natural rejuvenating tonic. Currently, much of the pharmacological research on Astragalus is focused on its benefits for the immune system (Wang DC. "Influence of Astragalus membranaceus (AM) polysaccharide FB on immunologic function of human periphery blood lymphocyte". Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi 1989;11:180-183). The main constituents of Astragalus membranaceus include polysaccharides, saponins, flavonoids and amino acids. (Bombardelli E, Pozzi R. "Polysaccharides with immunomodulating properties from Astragalus membranaceus and pharmaceutical compositions containing them". Eur pat 441278 A1;1994). Astragalus has also been studied for its ability to support lung health.

Adrenoboost.jpg
  • AdrenoBoost™ - For Adrenal Gland Functioning
    • Promotes healthy adrenal gland functioning and hormone balance
    • Maintains cortisol levels already within healthy limits
    • Promotes energy levels, alertness and stamina
    • Helps the body adapt to everyday stressors and adrenal fatigue
    • Maintains blood sugar levels already within healthy limits
    • Maintains blood pressure already within healthy limits
    • Supports healthy circulation, sleep patterns and immunity
  • Astragalus as one of the main ingredients of AdrenoBoost™: (Astragalus membranaceous) has been used as a natural rejuvenating tonic. Its immuno-supportive polysaccharides and other active ingredients are useful in supporting a healthy immune system (Wang DC. "Influence of Astragalus membranaceus (AM) polysaccharide FB on immunologic function of human periphery blood lymphocyte." Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi 1989; 11:180-183.). The main constituents of Astragalus membranaceus include polysaccharides, saponins, flavonoids and amino acids (Bombardelli E, Pozzi R. "Polysaccharides with immunomodulating properties from Astragalus membranaceus and pharmaceutical compositions containing them." Eur pat 441278 A1; 1994) (Lin LZ, He XG, Lindenmaier M, et al. "Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry study of the flavonoids of the roots of Astragalus mongholicus and A. membranaceus." J Chromatogr A 2000; 876:87-95) (Sun Y, Hersh E, Lee SL, McLaughlin M, Loo T, Mavligit G. "Preliminary observations on the effects of the Chinese medicinal herbs Astragalus membranaceus and Ligustrum lucidum on lymphocyte blastogenic responses." J Biol Response Mod . 1983; 2:227-237).

What the Science Says about Astragalus

  • The evidence for using astragalus for any health condition is limited. Results from small or preliminary studies suggest that astragalus may benefit heart function and help the immune system fight infections.
  • A few studies have shown potential benefits for using astragalus--in combination with another herb, glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum)--as an adjunctive therapy for cancer. In general, however, these studies were not well designed.
  • NCCAM-funded investigators are studying the effects of astragalus on the body, particularly on the immune system.

Side Effects and Cautions about Astragalus

  • Astragalus is considered safe for most adults. Its possible side effects are not well known because astragalus is generally used in combination with other herbs.
  • Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as the drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) taken by cancer patients and similar drugs taken by organ transplant recipients.
  • People should avoid using astragalus species such as "locoweed" that grow in the United States, as these other species may have different effects and side effects.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
    • Astragalus should not be used in cases of acute infections or fevers.

Overview of the Astragalus plant

From the University of Maryland Medical Center

Astragalus ( Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, often in combination with other herbs, to strengthen the body against disease. It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, byproducts of cellular energy. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, for preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, to lower blood pressure, to treat diabetes, and to protect the liver.

Astragalus has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic (helps eliminate fluid from the body) properties. It is sometimes used topically for wounds. In addition, studies have shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, suggesting that it is indeed effective at preventing colds.

In the United States, researchers have investigated astragalus as a possible treatment for people whose immune systems have been compromised by chemotherapy or radiation. In these studies, astragalus supplements have been shown to speed recovery and extend life expectancy. Research on using astragalus for people with AIDS has produced inconclusive results.

Recent research in China indicates that astragalus may offer antioxidant benefits to people with severe forms of heart disease, relieving symptoms and improving heart function. At low to moderate doses, astragalus has few side effects, although it does interact with a number of other herbs and prescription medications.

The Astragalus Roots

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The dried root is used medicinally.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Traditional uses of Astragalus include the treatment of the following:

Colds and influenza, Persistent infection, Fever, Multiple allergies, Asthma, Chronic fatigue, Fatigue or lack of appetite associated with, chemotherapy, Anemia, Wounds, Heart disease, Kidney disease, Hepatitis, Stomach ulcers

It is also used to treat general digestive disturbances, including diarrhea, gas, and bloating.


source of article: www.herbalweightlossnews.com

China used astragalus root for thousands of years as a tonic herb to strengthen qi –which means to strengthen the body’ life force and protective energy. In the Western world, strengthening qi means to strengthen or bolster the immune system.

Astragalus is touted for its ability to give the immune system a powerful boost. It is used to stimulate the immune system, strengthen digestion, and increase metabolic activity.

Scientific research has found that astragalus root is effective against several chronic diseases such as diabetes, stomach ulcers, cancer, and high blood pressure.

With mild anti bacterial, anti viral and anti inflammatory properties, the herb appears to benefit the immune system and respiratory tracts.

Astragalus appears to work by stimulating the immune system. It has antioxidant effects that inhibit free radical production. In the body, free radicals damage cells and are linked to many health problems associated with aging.

As an adaptoge with anti oxidant benefits, Astragalus root may well help the body fight the effects of various stresses.

It’s also benefit for cancer sufferers, helping to speed recovery after chemotherapy.

Astragalus Root Available Forms

Astragalus root may be available in a variety of forms:

Tincture (liquid alcohol extract)

Capsules

Injectable forms for use in hospital or clinical settings

Ointments for the skin

How to Take the Astragalus Herb

  • Pediatric
    • Astragalus may be given to children to support the immune system but should not be used if the child has a fever because, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it may make the fever last longer or grow stronger. The dose should be determined by adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 - 25 kg), the appropriate dose of astragalus would be 1/3 of the adult dosage. However, because strengths and concentrations will vary with different preparations, dosages should be determined on an individual basis. Any long-term dosage should be determined by your doctor.
  • Adult
Doses from 1 - 25 g per day are sometimes used. Higher doses may suppress the immune system. Recommended doses are as follows:
  • Decoction (strong boiled tea): 3 - 6 g of dried root per 12 oz water, three times per day
  • Fluid extract (1:1) in 25% ethanol: 2 - 4 mL three times a day
  • Powdered root: 500 - 1,000 mg three or four times per day
  • Powdered extract (solid): 100 to 150 mg of a product standardized to 0.5% 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy isoflavone. Note : this chemical is used only as a manufacturing marker, not as a guarantee of potency or effectiveness.
  • Ointment: 10% astragalus applied to surface of wound. Do not apply to open wound without your doctor's supervision.
  • Tincture (1:5) in 30% ethanol: 3 - 5 mL three times a day
  • Precautions

At recommended doses, astragalus has no serious side effects and can generally be used safely. It does interact with other herbs and medications (see " Possible Interactions ")

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should talk to your doctor before taking any medication, including herbs.

  • Possible Interactions

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use astragalus without first talking to your health care provider:

Antiviral medications -- Astragalus may increase the effects of some antiviral medications such as acyclovir and interferon.

Drugs that suppress the immune system -- Astragalus may counteract the immune-suppressing effects of cyclophosphamide, a medication used to reduce the chances of rejection in transplant recipients, as well as corticosteroids.

Diabetes medications -- Astragalus may lower blood sugar, making the effects of diabetes drugs stronger.

High blood pressure medication -- Astragalus may lower blood pressure, making the effects of these drugs stronger.

Diuretics (water pills) -- Astragalus is a diuretic and may make the effects of other diuretics stronger.

Anti-coagulants(blood thinners) -- Astragalus may make the effects of these drugs stronger, increasing the risk of bleeding and stroke.

How to grow Astragalus

Astragalus can be grown from seed.

Plant the Seeds: Seeds must first be planted indoors. So, get hold of small two-inch deep peat pots and put in each of these pots, a mixture of potting soil and sand in 2:1 ratio. Place a seed about one inch deep in a small pot. Don't go on a watering spree. Water in such a way that the soil stays moist. It would be best to keep the pot at a place that receives sunlight. Once the seed germinates, and the seedlings are about a couple of inches in height, transfer them into a bigger pot. Handle the plant well, so as to avert any damage to its tender roots. Make sure that you place the plant at a spot that receives ample sunshine. Plant them outdoors in the garden in early spring, only after the danger of frost is gone.

Astragalus is a herbaceous perennial that reaches a height of up to 4 feet, and will produce delicate yellow flowers from midsummer through late fall.

Astragalus prefers partial shade to full sun, and a sandy, well-drained soil. Water moderately.

Astragalus seeds require a 21-day cold period of stratification to promote germination, followed by mild scarification with fine-grade sandpaper. You can begin your stratification in mid to late winter, then start your seeds indoors. This should allow adequate time for your young seedlings to become large and stable enough to transplant outdoors following the first frost in early spring. Before sowing seeds, soak in water for an hour to soften and tamp lightly in to the soil, or cover with a thin layer (1/8-1/4" deep). When transplanting, space plants approximately 15" apart.


News About Astragalus

  • Selbyville, DE -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/06/2019 -- Astragalus root extract has the effect on relieving stresses and protecting the body against various stresses,including physical, mental, or emotional stress. Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/4145352

Astragalus: The Herb that Heals and Protects Chicken's Immune Systems

By Amy Fewell (Reader Contribution)

When you first begin your homesteading adventure, you typically begin with the gateway animal—chickens. Chickens are some of the most entertaining of livestock that you can have. They offer eggs each day (or almost each day), a cute egg song, and a beautiful scene across your landscape when, and if, they free range. There's nothing quite as beautiful as chickens in their free ranging element.

But what happens when you start realizing that chickens can also be the most complex animal on the homestead, especially when it comes to their health?

Joel Salatin often says that he's not in the business of treating animals because his animals typically don't get sick. Through the efficiency of rotational grazing, including his chickens, it leaves little room for bacteria and diseases to take hold of his animals. We believe in this method as well.

But there can be times when you simply can't help the situation. It can be due to genetics, compromised immune systems, or migrating birds that carry diseases....sometimes you might not be able to avoid a situation completely.


8 Incredible Benefits of Astragalus Root for Health and Beauty

By Smriti Agarwal

Astragalus is a plant in the legume family. It is also known as milk vetch or huang qi. Astragalus has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and is known to help the body fight off stress and other diseases. It is considered as a miracle herb and the powerful extract from this root has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It is also used as a natural diet supplement. The most popular health benefit of Astragalus is in boosting the immune-system and energy levels. It has a variety of health benefits and is also known to help with ailments such common cold, diabetes, upper respiratory problems, arthritis, asthma and blood pressure.

One of the reasons, Astragalus is becoming a rage in the west is because it is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are able to change their function depending on the specific needs of the body. They adapt according to what the body needs and this is why Adaptogenic herbs like Astralagus are able to help us deal with a variety of problems.

According to the authors of the book Healing Foods: Eat Your Way to a Healthier Life, "Astragalus is an immunity enhancer that can help raise your energy levels if you are feeling run down or low."

Health Benefits of Astragalus

1. Heart Health

Several studies suggest that Astragalus may be a heart-friendly herb as it is rich in antioxidants. It may also help lower cholesterol levels.

2. Relief from Seasonal Allergy

Most of us are prone to some allergy or the other which interferes with the normal functioning of our lives. Astragalus root extract has shown tremendous relief from the symptoms of seasonal allergies. While Astralagus is not a cure for Asthma or allergies - including this plant in the overall treatment is known to be of help.

3. Reduces Stress

Anxiety and chronic stress can cause adverse effects to our health. Hence, they need to be kept in check. Astragalus helps in curbing the stress level and promoting peace and calm in our mind and body. Those who suffer mood swings and constant nervous tension can benefit from this ancient herb.

4. Reduces Sleep Issues

Insomnia, sleeplessness, interrupted sleep patterns can be cured by regular consumption of astragalus root. By improving overall health, metabolism and hormonal balance this root can help in delivering a peaceful sleep.

5. Anti-ageing Properties

This is the most important and popular use of astragalus as no one likes the effects of ageing. It helps in reducing signs of ageing on the face, helps in the growth of tissues and prevents chronic illness symptoms. For wrinkles and age spots this root can be extremely beneficial.

6. Boosts 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. It is full of antioxidants that protect cells against free radical damage', according to the book Healing Foods.

A lot of studies are still underway to ascertain the complete benefits of Astragalus. But its roots in Chinese medicine and usage for over a thousand years cannot be denied.

The best way to consume Astragalus is to include it in soups or drink it like a tea.


Amazing Health Benefits Of Astragalus Root

By Dr.Gopi Krishna Maddikera

Astragalus Root not only boosts your immunity but also helps in fighting with a viral disease like HIV and has many health benefits. Let’s find out more about astragalus root.

Stressed? Lack of energy? Low immunity? or Feeling lazy?

Take astragalus root powder regularly!

What is Astragalus root?

Astragalus Root is a root of astragalus plant, having small yellow colored flowers which are mostly found in China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan.

Astragalus root has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is a popular herb for the Chinese.

In Chinese, it is called ‘Huang Chi’ and ‘Huang Qi’ which means’ Yellow leader.’ Astragalus root is yellow in color, and it is considered as a leader in herbs. Astragalus root is thick and fibrous, yellow in color having hard skin and mild licorice in taste.

It is a natural dietary supplement that is used for curing various health disorders like common cold, respiratory infections, diabetes and viral disease like HIV Aids.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:

Astragalus root scientifically called Astralagus Membranaceus, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. It was often mixed with other herbs to increase the immunity of body which helps in fighting against any disease.

It is called an adaptogen, means it helps in protecting the body against different stresses, including physical, mental, or emotional stress or you can say it is a stress buster.

It also contains antioxidants, which in turn protect cells against damage and is used to protect and support the immune system, preventing colds and respiratory infection.

It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as antiseptic. It is used to cure asthma, anemia, hepatitis, cancer, HIV Aids and to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Health Benefits of Astragalus Root:

Astragalus has been used in Chinese herbal therapies and herbal treatments for centuries to heal diseases related to infection, liver, and kidney naturally. Researchers shows it heals cancer, asthma, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases naturally.

Below are some health benefits of Astragalus root:

1.Stress Buster

It is a natural stress buster as it is an adaptogen. It is an advisable natural remedy for those who are dealing with stress whether it is physical, mental or emotional.

One can take regular dosage of Astragalus root tea to get relief from stress or one capsule/tablet of it daily.

2.Boosts Immunity

It boosts and strengthens the immunity of body which helps in fighting against viral diseases. It also promotes the production of interferon in the body which in turn helps in building resistance against flu and viral disease.

One who is suffering from low immunity can take astragalus root powder or capsule/tablet daily to boost immunity.

3.Reduces Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar

It helps in lowering Blood pressure and blood sugar in the body. So one who is suffering from high blood pressure can take its dosage and it is also an advisable remedy for Diabetic patients.

4.Heals Asthma and Respiratory Diseases

Due to hot potency, it helps in healing Asthma naturally. It is beneficial for Asthmatic patients as it improves immunity, which helps in fighting against flu and pollen allergies. It is also advisable medicine to get relief from cold and cough.

5.Heals Anemia

It helps in fighting against Anemia naturally as it increases the blood count in the body.

6.Cold and Flu

In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), it is used with other herbs to prevent cold and flu as it improves the immunity of body which helps in fighting against infections.

7.Heals Hepatitis

It is mixed with other herbs to treat Hepatitis naturally studies shown.

8.Overcome Fatigue naturally

It also helps in reducing fatigue as it increase body metabolism and sweating of body and provide energy to overcome fatigue naturally.

9.Urination Problems

It helps in fighting with urination problems like improper urination discharge, pain during urination, infection in urination tract.

10.Remove Kidney Stone

It helps in getting rid of Kidney stone naturally, and it is an advisable remedy for those who are suffering from Kidney Stone and Kidney related diseases.

11.Heals Cancer and HIV Aids

It is proven that it is beneficial herb for patients suffering from Cancer and HIV Aids. It improves the immunity of the body and make the body strong to fight against viral diseases. So, Cancer and HIV patients can take its dosage by consulting their Doctor.

Having a lot of health benefits and uses, Astragalus root is also used in Chinese Cooking; there are so many Chinese recipes using Astragalus Stick as an ingredient like Chinese Astragalus Root Soup, Astragalus Chicken Soup, Astragalus Root Tea, etc.

Where To Get Astragalus Root?

Being popular Chinese herb, Astragalus Root is available in any Chinese Store in the form of Dried Astragalus Root, Astragalus Root Powder, Astragalus Root Capsules, Astragalus Root Tablets, Astragalus Root Pills, Astragalus Root Tea Bags.

One can buy it from China or import it from China or buy online from Amazon.

Recommended Astragalus Root Dosage:

Hope you got your Astragalus root!

Now you want to know how much of it is needed to take. Its dosage totally depends upon what form you have and for what you want to take it.

If you are suffering from diseases mentioned above, the dosage is mentioned above. If you are an adult and taking it in powdered form, then you can take 250 to 500 mg 3 to 4 times daily

If you are taking it in tea form, dip one tea bag in 12 ounces of water and take it three times daily. How to make Astragalus Root Tea at home?

As you came to know, Astragalus root is popular as an immune booster, so the Astragalus root tea is also called Immune Booster Tea or Immune Booster Chai. It can be made in two ways.

If you have Astragalus root tea bags, then simply boil 12 ounces of water and dip one tea bag in water. Your astragalus root tea is ready. The other way is to make astragalus root tea from dried root slices.

If you have dried shredded astragalus root slices, take one tablespoon of it and put it in 2 cups of water and keep it for 10 minutes on gas, after 10 minutes take it out then strain it and have it. Side Effects of Astragalus Root:

Mostly Astragalus is safe and having no side effects, but its dosage can be avoided in certain cases like to children, pregnant ladies and those who have immune disorders, like multiple sclerosis types of Autoimmune disease.

So be on safe side and consult Doctor or an Ayurveda Practitioner before taking any dosage.




The Cold Remedy That Actually Works

By Melaina Juntti

Cold and flu season is not over yet. Some of the nastiest upper respiratory infections and knock-out influenza viruses strike in March. There's not a whole lot you can do to help your body battle these viral infections. Cough syrups and cold meds may help you feel better temporarily, but they don't help you recover any faster and they often cause brain fog and fatigue. Ibuprofen and other OTC painkillers may even prolong influenza. Even zinc and vitamin C are looking more like urban legend, as studies suggest neither supplement does much of anything to help you recover from a cold or flu.

But there is one remedy that really does seem to help ease cold and flu symptoms, based on both our experience and what science says — astragalus root. Yes, an herb with a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine.

"Astragalus has been found to have both antiviral and immune-enhancing properties," says Dr. Randy Horwitz, medical director at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. "Research shows that the 50 or so different compounds in astragalus work by stimulating immune cells, such as T cells, phagocytes, and macrophages, to fight off disease. In Asia, it's even given to cancer patients."

According to Horwitz, there's a good amount of research to demonstrate astragalus's benefits for colds and flus — just not large placebo-controlled trials. "The problem botanicals have is they don't get the backing of big drug companies, which usually fund the multimillion-dollar human studies," he explains. "You can't test every botanical, and so unless a company wants to isolate a botanical compound for use in a drug, they rarely get tested in large human trials."

But that doesn't mean astragalus isn't effective. Because it's been used successfully in Asia for centuries and plenty of animal and in vitro studies have proven it has immunomodulating effects, Horwitz often recommends the herb to his patients suffering from colds and flus.

In most cases, he suggests trying astragalus when symptoms first start coming on. However, taking it daily during cold and flu season may also give you better odds of staying healthy. "If there's a lot of flu going around in your area, then sure, take it daily for a while," Horwitz says. "But with many compounds, it's common to build up a tolerance if they're taken regularly, so it's best to reserve astragalus for when your body may really need it." In other words, don't take it year-round. Besides, it isn't good to keep your immune system revved up all the time, Horwitz adds.

With astragalus, as with any herb, it's tough for doctors to recommend a specific dosage. Herbs can vary wildly in potency depending on where and how they were grown, what part of the plant you're using, and how it's prepared. If you buy whole astragalus root from an Asian market, Horwitz suggests slicing some into chicken soup or using it to make tea. You might have to tinker with how much you use. And if you purchase prepared astragalus capsules or a tincture from health food stores, Horwitz says to follow the dosage instructions printed on the label.

Finally, while you might find astragalus helpful, don't mistake it for a magic cure-all. "People often come to integrative medicine thinking we're hiding the magic bullet, but that's just not the case," says Horowitz. "Certainly, some herbs can help, but you can do more for your health by exercising regularly, eating well, and getting a good night's sleep. Use botanicals only to supplement healthy lifestyle habits."


Incredible health benefits of Astragalus root

(TNT Bureau)

Astragalus, a plant from the legume family, is a Chinese herb used in traditional Chinese medicines. It helps to ward off stress and other diseases. It is a powerful herb and the extract from this root is used as a medicine, and also as a natural diet supplement.

This flowering plant, also called milkvetch root and Huang-qi, grows from 16-36 inches tall and is native to the north and eastern regions of China. It is also been traced back to Mongolia and Korea. Astragalus roots are harvested from 4-year-old plants and are the only part of the plant that’s used medicinally.

Astragalus contains three components that allow the plant to have such a positive impact on human health—saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides. Saponins can lower cholesterol, improve the immune system and prevent cancer. Flavanoids provide health benefits through cell signaling. They show antioxidative qualities, control and scavenge of free radicals, and can help prevent heart disease, cancer and immunodeficiency viruses. Polysaccharides have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory capabilities, among other health benefits.

Astragalus boosts immune system and gives energy to the body. It also helps to treat common cold, upper respiratory problems, diabetes, arthritis, asthma and blood pressure. Astragalus is an adaptogen. Adaptogens adapt according to the needs of the body.

Health benefits of Astragalus
Heart

Several studies have shown that Astragalus is a heart-friendly herb as it is rich in antioxidants. It also lowers cholesterol levels. 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. According to s study, injection of astragalus, combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis (inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall), makes treatment more successful in heart conditions.

Seasonal allergy

Studies have indicated that Astragalus root extract gives relief from the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Stress

Astragalus helps in controlling the stress level and calm the mind and body as it lowers cortisol—the stress hormone. People who suffer mood swings and nervous tension may benefit from Astragalus.

Sleep disorders

Insomnia, sleeplessness, and other sleep related issues can be cured by regular consumption of Astragalus root.

Anti-ageing properties

Astragalus helps to reduce signs of ageing as it helps in the growth of tissues and prevents chronic illness symptoms. This root is also beneficial for problems like wrinkles and age spots.

Immune system

Astragalus protects the immune system from attacks from foreign substances. It makes it stronger as it has natural antibiotic properties, and can increase resistance to viral infections. It also protects cells against free radical damage.

Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is the root cause for many diseases—from arthritis to heart disease. Many studies show that saponins and polysaccharides found in astragalus can reduce inflammatory in a number of illnesses, helping to heal wounds and reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.

The best way to consume Astragalus is to add it in soups or drink it like tea.


Astragalus help for allergic rhinitis

(Star2.com)

Seventeen-year old Adam Fernandez is having a runny nose… again.

Adam has struggled with a “sensitive” nose for many years.

Each morning, he wakes up sneezing, followed by an uncontrollably tunny nose.

For most of the day, he has a stuffy nose and teary eyes.

These symptoms get worse whenever he comes into contact with dust or goes into an air-conditioned room.

Adam loves playing futsal, but his nose troubles often get in the way of playing well.

His sensitive nose has restricted his life in more ways than one.

He is sleepy in the morning, as his blocked nose disrupts sleep.

Although a bright student, it’s difficult to concentrate when you feel like your head is swollen up.

He also suffers from poor appetite, as he cannot smell his food much.

Hypersensitive immune system

Adam is not alone when it comes to problems with a “sensitive” nose.

A sensitive nose, or “sinus” as most Malaysians call it, is a chronic nasal inflammatory state caused by a hypersensitive immune system.

Medically, doctors refer to the condition as allergic rhinitis.

When a person’s immune system is hypersensitive, the patient’s nose in particular, hyper-reacts to even small amounts of irritants (allergens) present in the environment, such as dust, pollen, animal dander, or even temperature changes.

Symptoms then manifest as sneezing, a runny, itchy nose, or nasal congestion.

These symptoms often extend to the eyes (red, teary eyes), ears (feeling of fullness) and throat (dry cough), as these organs form an interconnected network with the nose.

When a sensitive nose is inflamed, it is unable to perform its normal functions, which include breathing, smelling and warming the air that we breathe before it reaches the lungs.

As a result, sufferers cannot tolerate cold conditions because they are unable to use their noses to warm the cold air.

The “cold” then becomes an irritation that results in discomfort and coughing.

Up to 30% of the world’s population, regardless of age and ethnicity, suffer from a sensitive nose, and the situation is not far different in Malaysia.

Health burden

Most people dismiss a runny nose or frequent sneezing as a minor nuisance.

To the sufferer however, it equates to the loss of one’s ability to breathe, smell and function optimally.

Teenagers are especially conscious of themselves. Having sinus problems can affect their self image and confidence.

Studies show that chronic inflammation in the nose is a risk factor for asthma.

As the nose is the entry point to the lungs, prolonged inflammatory reactions in the nose will eventually affect the lungs.

Seen in this light, clinicians now view allergic rhinitis and sinusitis as a legitimate medical problem and significant burden on quality of life.

Poor awareness

Unfortunately, the public’s awareness about sensitive noses and sinusitis is poor.

As a result, many people suffer in silence, and more often than not, find themselves functioning poorly in their daily activities – sleeping, eating, learning, etc.

Being a chronic inflammatory condition, allergic rhinitis and sinusitis will not spontaneously disappear.

In fact, unless the hypersensitive nature of the immune system is addressed and managed, hypersensitive noses are likely to worsen, and may even affect the lungs (asthma).

Conventionally, drug options such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and steroids have been employed to gain relief from nasal symptoms.

Antihistamines are the mainstay of treatment, although these are not recommended for sinusitis due to its “drying” effects, which may increase risk of infections in the sinuses.

For all its usefulness, conventional drug treatments are not able to address the hypersensitive state of the immune system, the root in triggering sensitive noses in the first place.

Herbal help

Traditionally, supplements such as vitamin C and echinacea have been used in a bid to strengthen the immune system, and hopefully, relieve the nose symptoms.

However, the effects of these compounds are non-specific in addressing the hypersensitive nature of the immune system.

More recently, scientists at the Ruder Boskovic Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, have discovered that the herbal activated astragalus root extract offers benefits for those suffering from allergic rhinitis and sinusitis.

In a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2010, treatment with the activated astragalus root extract resulted in 70% of patients improving significantly after at least two months of treatment.

The extract does this by aiming precisely at the hypersensitive nature of the immune system, which triggers allergic rhinitis and sinusitis in the first place.

In essence, the activated astragalus root extract helps tune the immune system from a hypersensitive mode to a normal mode.

Over time, the nose will then be able to cope with the environment and not set off on a sneezing, runny, congested path.

Patients with allergic rhinitis and sinusitis do need to note that the activated astragalus root extract is not a drug, and that it will take time for benefits to be seen.

A duration of at least two months is required at a dose of one capsule twice daily.


Benefits of Astragalus Root

By Bryce Wylde

November through April is influenza season. That’s a long period of time to keep your guard up. But staying on high alert is worth the extra effort. According to the Health Canada, the flu sends an estimated 12,200 people to hospital and about 3,500 deaths are linked to influenza each year.

There are some highly effective natural solutions you can try to help prevent contracting the flu, or mitigate the symptoms once you have it. Still, recent news about the effectiveness of some supplements and home remedies has left many confused with what remedies are best to take both proactively and reactively.

Here are your best bets for easy natural solutions, most of which can be found around the house:

1: Make a jelly germ barrier

Use a cotton swab to apply petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils to help keep the germs at bay. Voila: You’ve got an enhanced germ barrier.

2: Onions help beat the boogers

Kids are primary germ carriers and will inevitably fall ill this flu season. Health Canada recommends no over-the-counter medicines containing dextromethorphan cough suppressant or guaifenesin expectorant for children under six. Instead, make your own all-natural cough syrup which is safe and effective for coughs and colds for the young ones. Thinly cut and plate two onions. Sprinkle sugar over the sliced onions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours. With the liquid that results, dose out one tablespoon every three to four hours.

3. Honey...how sweet it is

If you or a loved one is hacking away, research says a few teaspoons of liquid gold might help. Much of the medicinal powers of honey stems from its antimicrobial properties in wound management. But it is also excellent for coughs. Medical grade honey – often registered as a “medical device” – is hyper-processed and sterilized and turned into a natural ingredient standardized for its antibacterial activity. Like onions, honey-based homeopathics may provide a safe and effective solution.

4. Garlic: What’s good for the heart blows infections apart

If what you’ve got now is a bacterial infection, garlic is a powerful all-natural antibiotic solution. Keeping in mind that antibiotics don’t kill viruses, Allimax – a stabilized allicin from garlic – has published evidence detailing significant antibacterial and antifungal activity. This stuff has even been shown to kill Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – a bacteria responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans.

5. Get proactive with probiotics

A happy gut means a healthy immune system. In fact, about 80 per cent of your immune system is found wrapped up in your gut. It’s called gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Where yogurt might help you maintain a healthy GALT, the therapeutic strength of probiotics that have evidenced-based strains within them actually have a medicinal effect and can help you build a healthier immunity. You can’t get enough probiotics from diet alone, so reach for proven probiotics, like Bio-K, with 50-billion live bacteria per dose! (This is of utmost importance if you’ve just taken antibiotics, since antibiotics kill the bad and the good bacteria).

6: Be zealous for Zs

Lack of sleep is proven to contribute to an unhealthy immune system. To ensure you have a congestion-free sleep, sick or not, use a nasal strip to help open your airways.

7: Shower your nose

Irrigate your nasal cavity with a neti-pot. It’ll flush out the viruses and bacteria harbouring in your honker, reducing chances of impending infections.

8. Whip up an immune-boosting soup recipe

Research shows that astragalus root (a Chinese herb used to ward off flu), has powerful immune-enhancing properties. The sliced, dried root is widely available in herb stores. It adds a pleasant, sweet taste when simmered in soups. Shiitake mushrooms, onions, and tumeric also boost immunity and have an antiviral effect. Garlic is an antibiotic; ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Rest assured, catching the flu – or any other virus or bacteria for that matter – doesn’t necessarily determine how healthy you are. Your current state of health is better measured by how quickly you recover from an infection. When it comes to the flu, most healthy people recover in a week or less eating chicken soup and getting good amount of rest. Implementing the above tips gets you closer to a winter season where there is no flu for you!


Benefits of Astragalus Root

(Katie, Wellness Mama)
What is Astragalus?

Astragalus root has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a powerful adaptogenic herb and is said to support immune function. Astragalus has gained popularity recently as research has emerged about the possibility that it can protect DNA and increase longevity. Recent research has shown that Astragalus may protect the telomeres from degradation.

Flashback to freshman biology: Telomeres are attached to the end of chromosomes. During the DNA replication process, telomeres keep the DNA together (like how the plastic caps on the end of shoelaces keep them from unraveling). Every time DNA replicates, the telomeres get slightly shorter and eventually when they get small enough, the process of cell death begins. Research has linked this process of cell death to aging and cancer.

Astragalus can help activate an enzyme called telomerase (hTERT) which stimulates the production of additional telomeres.(1,2)

“Preliminary research suggests that astragalus may also have powerful anticancer properties. In a study conducted at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, researchers found that a water extraction of astragalus restored or enhanced the function of T-cells (white blood cells that play specific roles in the immune system) taken from people with cancer. In some cases, astragalus stimulated the damaged cells to greater activity than found in normal cells taken from healthy individuals.” – The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs by Robert S. McCaleb, Evelyn Leigh, and Krista Morien

Astragalus has a unique structure of polysaccharides that are said to have additional benefits:

“The most notable compounds are called formononetin, calycosin and astragaloside IV, and seem to do the following things in your body:

• Reduces the amount of nitric oxide released from cells, which reduces inflammation
• Causes certain genes and metabolic pathways to be shutdown which would otherwise cause blood and chemicals to flow to wounds
• Activates other genes and pathways which activates different immune cells”
How Astragalus is Used

Astragalus has traditionally been used both as a supplement/natural remedy and in cooking in traditional Chinese culture. It is a tough, starchy root, and can be added to soups or made in to a decoction by boiling the root in water.

I keep Astragalus on hand, both in root form (pictured above) and in capsule form. I don’t take it daily but use it in times of high stress or while traveling to counteract the effects of foods I would not normally eat. I know many people who take it daily for its anti-aging effects but haven’t tried this personally.

In traditional cultures, it is generally considered safe for use (even regularly or at moderate doses) but because it does stimulate the immune system, I am careful not to overuse with my autoimmune disease. Logically, those who are pregnant or nursing or have any medical condition should consult a doctor before taking this or any supplement or herb. Also, those taking any kinds of medication should check with a doctor to rule out drug interaction before taking. I’m not a doc and don’t play one on the internet so check with yours.


Milkvetch: A strange name for a fascinating wildflower

By Christine Peterson

Two teams scoured the Big Horn Mountains in the summer of 1979 looking for the undiscovered. They weren’t working together, and neither knew what they would find.

But on back-to-back days, Wyoming botanists Robert Dorn and Ronald Hartman each collected samples of the previously unrecorded Hyatville milkvetch.

“I was surprised to see that kind of material there because I had seen them in the southwest part of the state,” Dorn said. “It looked like the same species, but there were some minor differences I could see right away, so I had to take it back and study it some more to make sure it was different.”

It was. And the Hyatville milkvetch, with its white and purple flowers and red and purple papery pods became one more plant unique to the Cowboy State. But unlike some flowers that may grow in swaths of countryside in Wyoming, the Hyatville milkvetch grows exclusively in two populations near the tiny mountain town.

That’s the thing about milkvetches: They are the largest genus of wildflowers in Wyoming and part of the bean family, which is one of the largest in the world. But while some species, such as the tufted milkvetch, are widespread across most of the state, others, like the Hyatville milkvetch, are incredibly restricted.

It’s one of the many things that makes the genus so interesting, said Bonnie Heidel, lead botanist with the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database at the University of Wyoming.

The Dubois milkvetch, among other plants, will also be a focus of the Wyoming Native Plant Society’s annual meeting June 17-19 in Dubois.

Dubois taxidermist and amateur botanist Lynn Stewart first found the rare plant on a ranch outside of town.

“I sent some pictures to a friend who is a botanist and she said ‘Wow, you saw Dubois milkvetch, where?’” he said. “She knew where some colonies were and this was not one.”

Experts realized populations of the small plant with purple flowers appear over large portions of the Dubois Badlands.

“There are other plants that look like it at other times of the year,” Stewart said. “But it is very obvious when you know what you’re looking at.”

Of the 80 kinds of milkvetch, 17 are quite rare, and some of them can be found only in Wyoming. All but two of the 80 flowers are native to Wyoming.

“Many of the milkvetches are found on the plains but there are also different ones from mountains to alpine and to wetland margins,” Heidel said.

They can vary greatly in appearance. Some grow knee high, others hug the ground in low mats or mounds. Flowers can range from white to pink to purple. But all of them can be discerned by their bean-like pod structure.

All plants also have wing petals – the pair of petals on either side of the flower – that look like the outline of insect wings, Heidel said.

“This is part of the cue that insects get on which plants have the rewards that they seek,” she said. “They might think they’re mating with another insect when they go in for nectar.”

Dorn doesn’t have clear memories from that day in 1979. He’s discovered a couple other milkvetches in his time in Wyoming.

When he collected the sample, he made a mental note to check on its rarity. It wasn’t until 1988 that he described the new flower officially in his book, “Vascular Plants of Wyoming.”

And after decades of studying rare, common and unique Wyoming plants, Dorn is often still drawn to the milkvetch.

“They’re a lot more interesting than a lot of things,” he said. “They have nice flowers and grow in unusual places. The unusual ones are usually on a particular rare type of geological formation. The Hyattville is on the red beds, an area that’s pretty barren as a rule.”


Astragalus

By Cathy Wong (ND)

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus is a plant native to Asia. The Chinese name of the herb, huang qi, means "yellow leader", because the root is yellow and it is considered to be one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. The part of the plant used medicinally is the root.

In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is usually made into a decoction - the roots are boiled in water then removed.

It's often combined with other herbs, such as ginseng. Astragalus can also be found in supplement form at some health food stores. Other names: Astragalus membranaceous, Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Hwanggi, Milk Vetch

Uses for Astragalus

Astragalus is used in traditional Chinese medicine for night sweats, diarrhea and for energy tonics that are taken daily at certain times of the year. So far, scientific support for the potential benefits of astragalus is lacking.

1) Immune Function

One of the key uses for astragalus, in alternative medicine, is to improve immune function. Although evidence is needed, one of the ways astragalus is said to work is by increasing the production of immune cells. It may also have mild antiviral activity and help with the prevention of colds. There's little evidence from human studies, however, on the effectiveness of astragalus as an antiviral.


2) Heart Disease

Astragalus is also used for various heart conditions. It may have a diuretic effect which would lower blood pressure and it may cause blood vessels to relax. It hasn't been explored in human studies, so it shouldn't be used as a replacement for conventional care.

Natural Remedies for Heart Disease Prevention.

Caveats

People with autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes or systemic lupus erythematosus shouldn't use astragalus unless recommended by a qualified healthcare practitioner. People who have had transplant surgery should not use astragalus.

Astragalus may interfere with the effectiveness of corticosteroid medications and drugs that suppress the immune system.

Theoretically, astragalus can increase the effectiveness of antiviral medications such as acyclovir and amantadine.

Astragalus supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of astragalus, talk with your primary care provider first.



Health benefits of Astragalus

(Value Food)

What is astragalus? Astragalus is the name given to a large genus of flowering plants that includes over 3000 species of herbs and shrubs. Some of the other common names of these species include locoweed, milkvetch and goat’s thorn. Tragacanth is a natural gum extracted from some of the astragalus species, which has been used for a long time as an herbal medicine in traditional Persian and Chinese medicine systems. Astragalus protects the body against different types of stresses, including physical, emotional, or mental stress and hence is called an adaptogen. Additionally it has the ability to protect against many serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, respiratory infections etc. The part of the astragalus plant that is used medicinally is its root. It is mostly used as dried powder or decoction made from boiling dried root in water. Astragalus tincture is made from the root. Astragalus Root Extract is also used to make various medicinal tinctures.

Nutritional value of Astragalus

In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus membranaceus (Huáng Qí meaning ‘yellow leader’) is considered a superior tonic. It is rich in amino acids, flavonoids and many minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and the antioxidant selenium. It is also high in folic acid and immunoactive polysaccharides that contribute to the immune boosting properties of the herb.

Uses of Astragalus

Astragalus has been used for medicinal purposes in traditional Persian, Chinese and Indian medicines. Still in some parts of China, it is used to treat chronic hepatitis or alternative therapy for cancer. This sweet and nourishing root is sometimes used in soups and as folk medicines for cold and other respiratory disorders. Although scientific evidence on the effects of this herb is limited, it is considered to be beneficial in treating a wide variety of health problems. Some of the benefits of astragalus include the following:

Astragalus improves immune functions

One of the most important benefits of astragalus is that it has a wonderful ability to enhance the functions of the immune system. It improves the immune function by increasing the production, function and activity of immune cells. According to some studies, astragalus can reduce the length of colds. It stimulates the body to produce a group of substances known as interferons, which are used by the body to protect against viral infections.

Astragalus for the heart

Various studies suggest that astragalus offers many heart-protecting effects, including protection against oxidative damage caused by free radicals formed in the body. Studies conducted on patients suffering from angina showed that there was significant increase in blood supply to their heart after being treated with astragalus. This herb also has the ability to relax the blood vessels, which helps in reducing high blood pressure, one of the main culprits of heart problems. Several Chinese clinical studies show that the root extract of astragalus is beneficial in improving the functioning of the heart, preventing cardiovascular disorders, and also in helping to restore and rehabilitate the functioning of the heart following an acute myocardial infarction. Astragalus contains saponins, which is also found to have blood thinning properties that helps in preventing the blockage of the coronary arteries. They inhibit the formation of lipid peroxides and thus reduce the coagulation of blood.

Astragalus has anti-aging properties

According to scientific research, astragalus contains substances known as cycloastrogenols and astragalosides that can inhibit the process of aging by activating the production of telomerase enzyme, the key element that maintains the health of telomeres. Telomeres are molecular caps found at the end of each chromosome and they are essential for the proper functioning of the cells. They are considered to regulate the rate at which human beings age. Cell division causes the telomeres to shorten, which induces the process of aging. The production of telomerase enzyme prevents the shortening of telomeres and thus reverses the aging process.

Astragalus and liver health

According to the Chinese, astragalus has the ability to detoxify your body and remove the wastes and toxic heavy metals. The roots of this herb have been found to be useful in treating several diseases that may affect the liver such as liver cirrhosis and fibrosis. Not only does astragalus protect the liver from damage, it also helps in detoxifying the liver and in preventing the development of liver disorders.

Astragalus benefits for cancer

Astragalus has been proven to have anti-cancer properties and studies indicate that they can increase the efficacy of chemotherapy. Studies indicate that this herb can improve the functions of the immune system in people suffering from cancer by increasing the number of T cells. It switches on the anti-cancer activity of Interleukin-2 and increases the ability of the natural killer cells and T cells to destroy the cancer cells. Astragalus helps in chemotherapy treatments by helping to prevent the development of tumor and decreasing immunosuppression. It also reduces some of the aftereffects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments such as anemia, fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and weakness. Moreover, astragalus is rich in antioxidants like that protects the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.

Astragalus protects against kidney failure

Astragalus is one of most popularly used herbs for treating kidney disease. According to studies, severe renal inflammation is the cause for kidney diseases in more than 95% cases. Since astragalus has anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to reduce inflammation and thus protect the kidneys. This herb also has diuretic effects that help in preventing fluid retention by increasing the frequency of urination. This property of the herb also helps in preventing the formation of kidney stones. High blood pressure is a common symptom of kidney failure. Astragalus has anti-hypertensive properties that help in controlling blood pressure.

Astragalus for diabetics

Astragalus roots have been used for a long time for the treatment of diabetes. Studies indicate that astragalus helps in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. According to research conducted on animals, the polysaccharide extracts of astragalus was effective in decreasing the toxic effects caused by high levels of glucose in the blood by activating an enzyme known as AMP-activated protein kinase or AMPK. This enzyme that is involved in maintaining proper energy levels in cells promotes the breakdown of fat and its storage and also controls the production of insulin. These studies confirmed that astragalus may be used in managing blood glucose levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Studies also indicate that astragalus may improve insulin sensitivity and fasting blood sugar levels.

Astragalus improves digestive health

Astragalus has been known to increase metabolism and digestion. It increases the secretion of bile and other gastric juices that improves digestion as well as the metabolic rate. It also has the ability to lower acidity in the stomach and hence is extremely beneficial for people with acid reflux and stomach ulcers. According to ancient Chinese medicine, it acts as tonic for spleen and increases appetite.

Astragalus beats the common cold and flu

Astragalus enhances healthy immune function and protects your body against the common cold and flu. It has antiviral properties and also strengthens your immune system to fight against the disease causing microbes. Research has shown that astragalus can reduce not only the frequency but also the duration of colds and the flu by boosting the immune system. Astragalus root tea is also used as herbal tea for treating respiratory problems.

Astragalus provides relief from the symptoms of hay fever

Hay fever is an allergic disorder that is characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, nasal discharge, itching and difficulty breathing through the nose. Studies on patients with hay fever suggest that when treated with astragalus supplement, the symptoms of hay fever were found to be significantly reduced in these individuals.

Astragalus reduces damage caused by stroke

A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to your brain stops, resulting in the death of the brain cells. However, much of the damage is caused when blood flow to the brain is restored, which results in an inflammatory response that damages the nerve cells. Animal studies show that treatment with astragalus caused reduced amount of cell death while it increased the survival of nerve cell after the blood flow was restored in the brain. Astragalus tea is often suggested helpful for stroke patients.

Astragalus increases muscle stamina

Astragalus extract is great for athletes as it helps to improve the muscle strength and overall fitness of the body. Its muscle building qualities along with its ability to increase physical endurance makes this herb a favorite among athletes around the world.

Astragalus for treating AIDS

The immune boosting property of astragalus makes it a potential remedy for the treatment of AIDS. According to scientific research, astragalus root contains a substance that has the ability to fight against the HIV virus that causes the deadly AIDS. This substance prevents the shortening of telomeres by enhancing telomerase activity and also increases the production of soluble factors called chemokines and cytokines that have been found to prevent the replication of the HIV virus.

Astragalus for skin problems

Astragalus ointment is used for treating skin problems. It is effective in treating rashes, itchy skin, eczema. Astragalus is used to protect the skin from sunlight and treat photodermatitis. It has also been used traditionally to treat wounds. Astragalus ointment is found effective in treating skin herpes. Astragalus extract is today being sold as anti-aging supplement and tonic for skin.

Astragalus side effects

Astragalus may lead to thinning of blood and lower blood pressure. So taking it together with similar medicines like aspirin may aggrevate problem and impair blood clotting. Some speices of astragalus are poisonous, so be sure of the source of astragalus supplement you use. On precautionary note it should be avoided by pregnant women. In higher dose it may lead to diarrhea or bloating. Astragalus supplements should be taken only with proper prescriptions.

Many people are looking for natural ways to enhance their energy and immunity. Astragalus is one of the best solutions to achieve this. Not only is it inexpensive, it is safe and effective too. The most pronounced advantage of using astragalus as an herbal remedy is that it has a very limited number of side effects. From all the various beneficial effects of astragalus herb, it is quite obvious that this herb has the potential to be a part of modern medicine in the helping to prevent as well as treat multiple health problems.


Astragalus

By Cathy Wong (ND)

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus is a plant native to Asia. The Chinese name of the herb, huang qi, means "yellow leader", because the root is yellow and it is considered to be one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. The part of the plant used medicinally is the root.

In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is usually made into a decoction - the roots are boiled in water then removed.

It's often combined with other herbs, such as ginseng. Astragalus can also be found in supplement form at some health food stores. Other names: Astragalus membranaceous, Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Hwanggi, Milk Vetch

Uses for Astragalus

Astragalus is used in traditional Chinese medicine for night sweats, diarrhea and for energy tonics that are taken daily at certain times of the year. So far, scientific support for the potential benefits of astragalus is lacking.

1) Immune Function

One of the key uses for astragalus, in alternative medicine, is to improve immune function. Although evidence is needed, one of the ways astragalus is said to work is by increasing the production of immune cells. It may also have mild antiviral activity and help with the prevention of colds. There's little evidence from human studies, however, on the effectiveness of astragalus as an antiviral.


Heart Disease

Astragalus is also used for various heart conditions. It may have a diuretic effect which would lower blood pressure and it may cause blood vessels to relax. It hasn't been explored in human studies, so it shouldn't be used as a replacement for conventional care.

Natural Remedies for Heart Disease Prevention.

Caveats

People with autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes or systemic lupus erythematosus shouldn't use astragalus unless recommended by a qualified healthcare practitioner. People who have had transplant surgery should not use astragalus.

Astragalus may interfere with the effectiveness of corticosteroid medications and drugs that suppress the immune system.

Theoretically, astragalus can increase the effectiveness of antiviral medications such as acyclovir and amantadine.

Astragalus supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of astragalus, talk with your primary care provider first.


Astragalus Benefits: An Alternative to Flu Vaccine

(Underground Health Reporter)

Did you know…Flu vaccines could make you sicker—and there’s a great alternative the FDA doesn’t want you to know about?

Last week, Dr. Mercola shared a story from the Vancouver Sun on a frightening new research study about the flu vaccine. Initial findings show that the flu vaccine actually increases the odds of infection with H1N1. In addition, the vaccine can cause more severe bouts of illness for those who do get sick.

As upsetting as these findings are, they are not as surprising as you may think.

Back in 2007, CNN—which is a very mainstream news source—announced, “The truth is, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and most mainstream docs are pushing the flu vaccine, the latest science suggests it just doesn’t work very well.”

But the flu vaccine represents big money for pharmaceutical companies, who hold incredible influence over government agencies. That’s why government agencies are now so desperate to uphold claims that the flu vaccine is the only way to prevent the flu. They are quick to attack any reports on alternate prevention strategies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went so far as to send a cease and desist letter to Dr. Andrew Weil demanding he remove from his website any references to astragalus—an especially impressive preventative herb that can protect against flu.

From Colds to Flu to Cancer…Astragalus Benefits Boosts Immunity and Fights Illness

Although the FDA falsely claims that astragalus has no antiviral or antibacterial properties whatsoever and is of absolutely no use in the human body, the truth is that astragalus benefits offer an incredible variety of health benefits. The herb has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is currently drawing attention from Western medical professionals for its remarkable ability to balance and boost immune function.

Astragalus is an adaptogen, meaning it fights diseases by fortifying the body’s natural defenses, rather than directly targeting infectious invaders. Studies show that the herb enhances immunity and can be used to treat illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer.

Beat Back ANY Strain of Flu Naturally and Safely

For those who want to protect themselves from flu without the risks of vaccination, astralgus does indeed offer protection against influenza. Janet Zand, LAc, OMD, MD, CNS, author of Smart Medicine for Healthier Living: Practical A-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Adults, explains why astragalus is so protective against flu.

She writes, “because astragalus benefits is a multifaceted, complex plant-based medicine, it’s not outsmarted by one particular viral configuration.” That means it can effectively prevent any strain of flu, including H1N1.

While astragalus is especially exciting option for those looking for an alternative to the flu vaccine, the herb has the potential to bring a broad range of health benefits to everyone.

Instead of looking for treatments for specific ailments, as is the norm in Western medical traditions, it’s sometimes better to steal a page from the handbook of Eastern medicine.

“They believe your body is a balance of many functions,” writes Al Sears, M.D., “and to stay healthy, you need to maintain that balance.”

Add A Dash of Astragalus…

Astragalus benefits can be found in the form of capsules, teas, powders or extracts at health food stores. Dr. Sears recommends taking 2 to 3 tablespoons (30-45 grams) of astragalus root powder daily. You can take the powder plain if you wish, as it has a pleasant, mildly sweet taste. Or, as Dr. Sears notes, you can mix it into various dishes as a health-boosting seasoning option.


Astragalus Health Benefits

By Jedha Jenning
Many people I speak to have never heard of astragalus, have you?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t so I though I’d share a few of the amazing astragalus health benefits so you can start including it in your natural remedy routine. I’ve personally been using astragalus for years and I can honestly say I think it’s one of the major herbs that has helped to keep my family so healthy, warding off winter colds with my kids, and building strong immunity in all of us. It is one of my go-to herbal supplements and is always on hand in the medicine cabinet.

About Astragalus

Astragalus membranaceus is a Chinese herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the body against all types of diseases. It is well known as being an adaptogen. What that means is that astragalus has the ability to increase resistance to harm and improve and regulate the body’s ability to adapt. This makes it a powerful fighter against physical, mental, and emotional stresses, supporting the body on many different levels.

Astragalus Power Herb
• It contains powerful antioxidants that protect your cells and fight free radicals
• It’s a strong anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial
• It’s a super powerful antiviral
• It protects the body from stress
• It aids adrenal function
• It aids digestion
• It boosts metabolism
• It increases energy

And being such a powerful herb I believe it probably supports every single function in the body!

“In the United States, researchers have looked at astragalus as a possible treatment for people whose immune systems have been weakened by chemotherapy or radiation. In these studies, astragalus supplements seem to help people recover faster and live longer”

And this is just one study!

Seriously…one herb that I always count on for any type of illness is Astragalus!

Astragalus Health Benefits
• ward off cancer
• support cancer recovery
• heart disease
• diabetes
• colds and flu
• fatigue
• kidney disease
• allergies
• night sweats
• respiratory infections
• low blood pressure
• liver problems
• hepatitis
• and more

It’s safe for most people but if you are taking other medications or if you suffer an autoimmune disease of some kind, always consult with your doctor prior to taking astragalus just to make sure there are no contraindications.

If that’s not you make sure you get hold of some astragalus now. And when winter comes take it as your own natural immune booster and fight off all those colds and flu without the need for harmful antibiotics. Thankfully my kids and family have not had antibiotics in years, and I definitely believe it’s mostly because of the great astragalus!


Immune strategies for winter health

By Dr. Moshe Lewis

EXPERT ADVICE From Dr. Moshe Lewis

When Jack Frost starts nipping at your nose, he might also be taking a jackhammer to your immune system.

Winter is hard on your health. It takes away easy access to health boosters like sunlight, outdoor exercise and fresh vegetables. Add in the stress of the holiday season, and you've got the perfect recipe for an overwhelmed immune system.

Researchers have been working for years to figure out which natural cures are best. Unfortunately, a surprising number of products marketed as immune boosters have something in common with Santa Claus - they only work because you believe in them.

Here's a guide to some of the most common natural immune strategies.

Multivitamins: Conventional wisdom tells us that taking vitamins is good for our health. We don't yet know whether a multivitamin tablet can ward off a cold, but it's simply a good health practice to take vitamins, particularly in winter. Supplements can make up for the nutrition that we'd often get through fresh summer food, not to mention the vitamin D we get from sunlight.

Vitamin C: Though we often call vitamin C the gold standard immune system helper, recent reviews show this may not be true unless you're training for the annual Antarctica Marathon. A vitamin C supplement may help to prevent illness if you're under a significant amount of physical stress like cold exposure or extreme exercise. But even a superdose of vitamin C won't stop an average person from catching a cold or flu. That said, if you've been enjoying a daily glass of orange juice, don't stop. New research suggests that vitamin C is an antioxidant, and plays a role in cancer prevention.

Aloe: We've seen evidence that topical aloe vera is helpful for minor burns, wounds or frostbite. Now researchers have started paying attention to its internal and antioxidant effects. Though numerous claims have been published about aloe's immune system benefits, there are no medical studies supporting its cold-prevention properties. Stay tuned, though; aloe is a promising natural remedy, and plenty of research on this plant is being published every year. Drinking aloe juice will certainly not harm you, and you may find that you enjoy it.

Echinacea: Echinacea is one of the most common herbal health supplements for fighting colds - it has become the banner herb for winter immune boosting. But studies have produced mixed results on echinacea's effectiveness. At this point, the jury is still out.

Ginseng and astragalus: Ginseng is a well-known herb used to promote health in Asian medicine. Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine to help bolster the body against disease. Like many traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, ginseng and astragalus are receiving renewed attention in Western medicine. However, that attention has not yet resulted in definitive evidence that either of these herbs helps to fight colds. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says there have not been sufficient large studies of a high enough quality to support the claims of immune boosting with ginseng. Similarly, the quality of studies demonstrating the immune-stimulating properties of astragalus are poor; some suggest that astragalus may harm as much as it helps.

Garlic: Garlic lovers will happily believe that it will cure anything that ails you. Medical science is showing a lot of love for the pungent bulb, as well. In laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, there haven't been enough well-designed studies conducted to know whether this translates into human benefits.

Probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, which can safely dwell in your digestive tract. A new generation of yogurt products make it easy to incorporate a breadth of probiotics into your diet, resulting in a multitude of digestive benefits. However, though some probiotic enthusiasts claim that these wonder bacteria can help the immune system as well, a direct benefit hasn't been proven. That said, good health practices tend to help the immune system indirectly; probiotics do contribute to overall health.

Beyond supplements: Simply making basic, common-sense efforts to take care of your health, such as frequent hand washing, will go a long way.

Perhaps the best way to boost your immunity is to avoid stress in the first place. Though the holidays and new year tend to stoke our ambitions, winter is not the best time to work yourself to death or take on herculean projects. So, for the sake of your health, find time to have fun. Go Christmas caroling, do a good deed, or take a walk.

Pay attention to your emotional and physical well-being, and enjoy your healthiest winter yet.


Astragalus Root Benefits and Uses for Skin and Health

(Nikitha Stylish Walks)

Astragalus is herb and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. The root of this plant has various benefits for your skin, hair and as well as health. It has antiviral, anti-cancerous, anti-oxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and many other properties.

Benefits of Astragalus Root for Skin:

• Fights signs of ageing:

Ageing is caused when telomeres present in human body get degraded. Studies show that this herb has the power to stimulate the synthesis of telomerase, which is the enzyme that manufactures telomeres. So, if you want to slow down the process of ageing, include the decoction of this herb in your daily diet. Have it two times a day. These roots are also rich in antioxidants, which can fight against the free radicals responsible for ageing. The lesser the number of free radicals in your body, slower will be the aging process. \

Health and Medicinal Benefits of Astragalus Root:

• Anti-cancerous properties:

By using this root regularly, you can prevent the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells in the body. These roots attack the cancer cells and cut off the supply of blood to these cells, thus causing death of these cells. This is particularly effective in case of breast and gastric cancers. Saponins present in astragalus have chemotherapeutic properties. So, this is considered as one of the most powerful and sought after alternative medicines for treating advanced and metastasis stages of gastric cancer. It puts an end to these cancer cells and also prevents the re-occurrence of the cancer cells. So, people are advised to drink a decoction made from the roots of astragalus to enjoy better anti-cancerous benefits.

• Anti-allergic agent:

This is one of the most popular benefits of these roots. Make a tincture with the dried roots of astragalus and consume it twice a day. This will give your relief from allergic rhinitis and asthma. It is also a natural remedy for hay fever. The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of this herb make it effective for treating cold caused due to allergy. By consuming this herb for 6 or more weeks, you can prevent seasonal allergies and the symptoms associated with it.

• Diuretic properties:

The diuretic properties of this herb help in the removal of excess fluids that get collected in the urinary bladder and pockets. It is also good for treating edema and infections of the urinary bladder.

• Faster recovery from cardiac failure:

Studies were conducted on people with chronic heart failure and it was shown that they showed a visible improvement in their health conditions when they used astragalus for more than 30 days. Those who were given this herb in moderate amounts showed better improvement than those who were given this herb in low quantities.

• Faster recovery from wounds:

Astragalus is also rich in some polysaccharides like calycosin, formononetin and astragaloside lV. These help in lowering the nitric acid levels in the body and combat inflammation. Moreover, they check the flow of blood to the affected area by interrupting with the functioning of metabolic pathways and genes. They also improve the functioning of the immune system. All these together help in faster healing of wounds and prevent inflation and infections.

• Good for digestive system:

This herb can protect your stomach from gastric problems by lowering the levels of acids and maintaining the pH levels. It also gives a boost to your digestive functions and prevents constipation by making the elimination process of the wastes from the digestive system easier and faster.

• Helpful for type 2 diabetics:

The antioxidants and polysaccharides in this herb protect the diabetics from radical scavengers. In addition, this herb also causes a significant improvement in the metabolic rate. Higher metabolic rate helps in controlling the sugar within normal levels. So, by consuming astragalus root decoction, type 2 diabetics can keep their sugar under control.

• Keep blood pressure level under control:

This herb has the power to open and make the blood vessels wider, so that the circulation of blood is improved. This helps in lowering the blood pressure levels. So, it is of great benefit for patients suffering from hypertension. When the blood pressure level is under control, you can ensure that you are safe from cardiovascular conditions.

• Maintains cholesterol levels:

By taking astragalus roots regularly, you can lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. It prevents the absorption of fat from the intestine and also plays the role of a detoxifying agent. It helps in preventing the accumulation of plaque on the arterial walls and protects you from various problems including atherosclerosis.

• Natural detoxifying properties:

Using this herb is an effective way to flush out all toxins and unwanted chemicals from your body. This is because of the diuretic properties of this herb along with its antioxidant potteries, which can destroy free radicals eliminate toxins from the liver as well as the stomach.

• Peps up energy levels:

This herb is a stimulating tonic and helps in easing fatigue and stimulating your energy levels. It is great for combating chronic stress and anxiety and increasing your stamina.

• Protective shield to your brain:

When the oxygen fails to reach your brain, you suffer from stroke. It is the poor circulation of blood that leads to an oxygen deprived brain. According to studies made on animal by the Chinese, this problem can be eased with the use of the roots of Astragalus herb. Astragalus has the power to re-initiate the supply of blood to the brain. As a result, faster recovery is ensured and the risk of death due to stroke is lowered. Studies also reveal that if people use this herb regularly, the brain is shielded virtually from all damages.

• Strengthens liver and spleen:

Being a natural detoxifier, this herb has the power to improve the flow of blood and eliminate the waste from the liver and spleen. This way, it helps in strengthening the liver and spleen and protecting it from various liver problems. Studies made have shown that astragalus roots administered intravenously can be of great benefit to the patients suffering from chronic hepatitis.

• Strengthens immune system:

Astragalus roots are very effective for improving the functioning of the immune system. It is great for treating common cold and other ailments. Its immunity property is also used as an alternative treatment for HIV/AIDS.


7 Health Benefits Of Using Astragalus During Pregnancy

By Manjiri Kochrekar

Congratulations! You are expecting! The feeling is exciting, yes. And, you are probably paying closer attention to your diet and your hygiene than you have ever done earlier. And, the people around you start talking about weird herbs, and unheard of teas to consume for a smooth pregnancy.

Have the elders in your family told you about the astragalus herb and how it helps pregnant women? Are you looking for some information on astragalus-use during pregnancy? Well, if you nodded along, then consider reading our post below. Here, we look at astragalus during pregnancy, how it helps, and whether it causes any side effects while you are expecting.

What Is Astragalus?

Astragalus is a legume or herb endemic to the China. There are more than 1000 species of the genus Astragalus. However, the Astragalus membranaceus and Astralagus mongholicus are widely used for their various medicinal benefits than other species of the herb. You can use Astragalus membranaceus to enjoy a healthy and safe pregnancy .

7 Health Benefits Of Using Astragalus During Pregnancy:

Astragalus is an incredible herb that ensures a healthy gestation phase. And, here we list all key health benefits of using this herb while you are expecting.

1. Minimizes Fatigue And Re-energizes:

You may experience weakness and fatigue while expecting, as your body utilizes energy. The use of astragalus may help you restore your energy levels and revitalize you. Astragalus improves your stamina and prevents bouts of fatigue during pregnancy.

2. Strengthens Immunity:

Pregnancy often makes you vulnerable to various infections, viruses, and diseases due to weak immunity. However, Astragalus acts as a natural, immune system booster and strengthens your immunity during the delicate phase. The herb protects you from several microbial infections, gestational diabetes, and other ailments while expecting .

3. Promotes Smooth Functioning Of Liver:

Your body generates more hormones during pregnancy than usual. As a result, your liver works harder than normal. The use of Astragalus promotes smooth liver function. The herb also repairs liver damage.

4.Lowers Pre-Eclampsia Risk:

If you have a family history of pre-eclampsia, then using astragalus can help lower the risk of the condition. Astragalus also helps prevent pre-eclampsia if you have a family history of diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, organ transplants, sickle cell disease, PCOS, or hypertension. You can also combine the herb with other natural, liver-protectors like milk thistle and dandelion.

5. Treats Flatulence And Constipation:

Your body tends to generate increasing quantities of progesterone, a vital hormone that maintains a healthy and safe pregnancy while expecting. But, progesterone slows down the digestion process significantly and leads to flatulence. So use astragalus, as it provides you great relief from the problem of flatulence, gas, and constipation while expecting. In fact, many pregnant women suffering from constipation use the herb to alleviate the troubles.

6. Remedy For Allergies In Pregnancy:

You might experience certain allergies while you are pregnant, but you may refrain from using medications or over-the-counter medicines to treat the allergies. The use of astragalus while pregnant is a safe and appropriate solution to obtain relief from several allergy symptoms. The herb also treats the symptoms of asthma while you are expecting.

7. Cures Bladder Infection And Kidney Stones:

Astragalus is an excellent remedy to cure a urinary bladder infection and prevent kidney stones during pregnancy. The herb promotes the smooth functioning of your liver in the delicate phase.

Side Effects Of Using Astragalus During Pregnancy:

Even though there are numerous health benefits of astragalus while expecting, the use of certain species of the herb may trigger some side effects. Here, we list the potential side effects of the herb while expecting.

1. Birth Defects And Malformations:

The use of locoweed, a species of astragalus, can prove quite dangerous for your fetal health. The herb can lead to certain fetal malformations and birth defects, such as heart defect in the fetus if you use it while expecting. Avoid using locoweed during pregnancy.

2. Miscarriage:

The use of locoweed during pregnancy can also lead to abortion or miscarriage, so it is best for you to avoid this species of astragalus during the pregnancy. Other common side effects of astragalus are digestive discomfort, hives, nausea, swelling of the face, breathing difficulties, rash, and uneasiness in the chest (6). A Word Of Caution:

Make sure you use astragalus only after consulting your gynecologist or physician and in the prescribed amounts, as the doctor would recommend you the right species of the herb in the right amounts. Usually, it is best to prepare a concoction or tea from the fresh or dried astragalus roots and have it. Or else, you can add the herb to your soups. The appropriate intake of the herb will ensure a safe pregnancy and prevent the risk of potential side-effects.


What Is Astragalus Root Extract?

By Maia Appleby

In traditional Chinese medicine, the root of the astragalus plant has been used for centuries to enhance the immune system. Available as a liquid, capsule or tablet supplement, astragalus root extract is often combined with other herbs, including ginseng, angelica and licorice. This supplement serves as a folk remedy for colds, upper respiratory infections and heart disease. Although some of these claims may be over-reaching, there is evidence that astragalus root's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may benefit the immune system and help prevent heart disease.

Production

Astragalus root extract is derived from astragalus, an Asian perennial that grows up to 36 inches tall. Although more than 2,000 species of astragalus exist, only two -- Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus -- are primarily used in dietary supplements, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. When the plant is about 4 years old, growers harvest it and use the root to make medicinal products. According to Wayne P. Armstrong, biology and botany professor at Palomar College, strips of the root can be boiled, resulting in a tea, or, in the case of astragalus root extract, the root is ground up and used to produce capsules and liquid nutritional supplements.

Antimicrobial and Anti-inflammatory Benefits

Astragalus root extract's antimicrobial activity may enhance your immune system, according to researchers who published a study in the the journal "PLOS One" in 2012. After testing astragalus root extract on cells treated with E. coli and acidophilus, they found that it improved the effects of acidophilus, a microbe that fights harmful bacteria in the body. Because astragalus root extract has anti-inflammatory properties, it may also help treat atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries, according to Chinese researchers from a study published in "BioMed Central" in 2012. After testing the extract on mice, they found that it inhibited the adhesion of molecules in the aorta and reduced the hardening process in their arteries. Astragalus root extract may therefore help prevent and treat heart attack and stroke due to atherosclerosis. Dosage

No government entity has established recommended intake amounts for astragalus root extract. Common dosages of standardized extract capsules or tablets range from 250 to 500 grams three to four times a day, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. If you take a liquid extract diluted in 25 percent ethanol, 2 to 4 milliliters three to four times a day is standard. Safety

Because supplement manufacturers often combine astragalus root extract with other herbs, such as ginseng, angelica or licorice, little is known about side effects of astragalus root. It may interact with drugs that suppress your immune system and it may affect your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. For maximum safety, only buy reputable brands of astragalus root extract. Some species of astragalus, which are generally not used in commercial supplements contain dangerous concentrations of selenium or swainsonine, a toxin that damages the nervous system. Discuss any concerns with your health care provider before taking this supplement.


10 Proven Health Benefits of Astragalus

By Marc Seward
What is Astragalus?

Astragalus is a traditionally used plant native to the northern regions of China as well as Korea and Mongolia. This perennial plant reaches about 3 feet in height and its root has been harvested for many thousands of years in Asia where it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to protect and strengthen the body against a variety of ailments.

There are many species of astragalus but it is astragalus membranaceus which is most often used in medicine. Being an adaptogen, astragalus root is a useful ally in preventing numerous conditions both physical and emotional. The dried root of the plant is harvested from mature plants and it is the root which is used medicinally.

Medicinal uses

Despite its long history of use in Asia, it is only recently that astragalus has made a name for itself in the West and there is now a relatively healthy and still growing body of research into its medical benefits. Much of the research to date has been positive and early signs have indicated the great and diverse therapeutic potential of the herb.

Astragalus has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities which give it a broad range of therapeutic uses ranging from heart and liver disease to common colds and allergies. If you don’t know much about astragalus and you would like to find out what it can do for you, this article will take a look at the potential benefits in some detail below.

Health Benefits of Astragalus

1. Immune system support

One of the main traditional uses of astragalus was to support and strengthen the immune system. Because of its ability to boost immunity, it has been used successfully as an early treatment and preventive measure against colds. Astragalus might be of particular interest to those whose immune system is weakened due to pre-existing illnesses.

Several clinical trials suggest that astragalus possesses significant immune boosting benefits. It helps the body to increase the production of white blood cells, produce more antibodies and strengthens the body’s antiviral immunity. One study demonstrated that astragalus could inhibit tumor growth and boost immune response in cancer patients.

2. Anti-aging and Cancer

Research has revealed that astragalus can help our bodies feel younger for longer. The herb works on the aging process by protecting the cells, specifically small pieces of DNA called telomeres, from the degradation that occurs with the passing of time. Telomeres hold our DNA in shape but each time DNA replicates, they shorten by a tiny amount until they get so small that apoptosis or cell death begins.

Cell death is inextricably linked to cancer and aging and astragalus can fight this process by stimulating the production of new telomeres. Studies have shown that astragalus enables your body to produce an enzyme called ‘telomerase’ which in turn increase telomere production.

Mice treated with astragalus root extract lived longer and had longer telomeres that were less prone to degradation. Astragalus can also be applied topically to the skin to help keep it tight and free of blemishes.

3. Cancer

Researchers from Texas have suggested that taking astragalus extract can prolong the life of cancer patients while studies on animals have shown that astragalus has potential anti-tumor effects against certain types of cancer including leukemia and melanoma.

Some studies have indicated that astragalus can cause apoptosis and inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. The same studies have concluded that astragalus is extremely safe and well tolerated and warrants further research as an alternative cancer treatment.

4. Chemotherapy symptoms

There is very strong evidence to suggest that the symptoms of chemotherapy can be significantly reduced by taking astragalus extract. Hospitals in China already use the herb routinely to help people recovering from cancer ease the symptoms of chemotherapy treatment. Astragalus and combinations of herbs containing astragalus can improve quality of life and help reduce nausea, diarrhea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

5. Heart disease

A number of studies suggest astragalus can improve heart health as well as used to treat heart failure. A Chinese study published in 2001 took 83 patients with congestive heart failure and treated half of them with astragalus intravenously.

The results showed that those taking astragalus significantly improved their heart function compared with the placebo group. Other studies have showed that the herb’s antioxidant properties might help prevent heart disease and lower levels of cholesterol.

6. Diabetes

Astragalus has the potential to benefit people suffering from diabetes. Although more research is required, early studies have shown that astragalus helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics. Although the exact mechanism by which it works is not fully understood, researchers have suggested that astragalus regulates important liver enzymes linked to insulin sensitivity.

7. Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, astragalus might be able to help. Early studies have been positive with researchers concluding that astragalus conferred a number of benefits on those suffering from pollen allergies.

8. Kidney disease

Preliminary studies suggest that astragalus might help protect the kidneys against disease which would support one of its traditional uses. . However, a review of the existing research concluded that astragalus offered some promising results but the studies up to now had not been very well designed and more evidence was needed.

9. Athletic performance

Recent research published in 2014 suggests that astragalus might be of significant benefit to those wishing to improve their athletic ability and stave off fatigue. Although the study was carried out on mice, the results showed that astragalus significantly increased the muscle glycogen content and endurance capacity of mice leading researchers o believe it had potential to improve athletic performance in humans.

10. Wound healing

Astragalus has antibacterial properties as well as unique polysaccharides which prevent blood flowing to wounds. Topical application of astragalus has demonstrated the ability to accelerate wound healing in rats and more research has been encouraged.

How to take it

If you are interested in taking astragalus, it is commonly available in a variety of forms. Capsules and tinctures are the most popular methods of consumption but it is also available in creams and ointments that can be applied topically. In Asian clinical settings, astragalus is often used in injectable forms.

In China, astragalus has been traditionally used in cooking and the dried astragalus root can be added to soups or boiled to make a healthy tea. The recommended dose depends on a variety of factors including age, weight and the condition being treated. Make sure that you speak to your doctor or a reputable expert to out the most effective dose for your needs.

Precautions

Astragalus is considered to be very safe for the vast majority of healthy adults and no serious side effects have ever been noted. However, care should be taken in certain circumstances.

• There is no evidence regarding its safety for breast feeding and pregnant women and as is often the case with herbal supplements, it is probably best avoided.
• Evidence of its effect on children is lacking.
• Astragalus may stimulate the body’s immune system so those with autoimmune diseases should consult their doctor before taking it.
• Some doctors recommend not taking a single adaptogenic herb for a long period of time and often recommend rotating your herbal medications for best effects.
• Astragalus might interfere with drugs prescribed to suppress your immune system.
• Astragalus might cause the body difficulty in getting rid of lithium causing it to build up to dangerous levels so those taking lithium are advised to avoid it.

5 Herbs To Help Relieve Multiple Myeloma Symptoms

(Black Doctor)

Multiple myeloma is a painful, incurable disease. The increasing amount of cancerous cells in the bone marrow as the cancer progresses is the root of backaches, nerve and muscle pains that many patients feel because of the disease. Also, multiple myeloma eventually causes damage to the bone, which can be another source of excruciating pain in patients. The pain may vary depending on the stage of the disease.

Whether the pain is short term or long lasting, patients don’t have to suffer while battling the blood cancer – which hurts twice as many African Americans than whites. There are quite a few options to treat the symptoms of multiple myeloma, including herbal therapy. Multiple myeloma’s symptoms of bone lesions, anemia and more can be treated with these herbs by adding them to meals or taking them with a liquid such as honey.

Turmeric

This perennial is native to tropical climates such as India and Southern Asia. But the ginger relative’s active ingredient is curcumin, which is said to have a sensitizing affect on multiple myeloma tumors. According to Livestrong.com, researchers believe that curcumin causes tumors to shrink or die, killing cancer cells in a laboratory dish.

Astragalus

Some herbalists say astragalus helps restore white blood cells, which are directly attacked by multiple myeloma. This herb has a history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese and Persian medicine.

Goldenseal and Echinacea

While living with multiple myeloma, patients become susceptible to infections. These two herbs can be used to fight off infections. Goldenseal, herbalists say, is an antibacterial agent and digestion aid. It’s sometimes called orangeroot, and is a member of the buttercup family. You can find it in tablet or powder form.

Echinacea helps the immune system and is said to relieve the side effects of cancer. It’s in the daisy family, typically found in eastern and central North America.

Cayenne

Herbalists say this pepper helps any medications you take for multiple myeloma fight the disease even more because of capsaicin, the active, hot ingredient in cayenne.

It’s best to discuss the use of these herbs to relieve multiple myeloma symptoms with your physician before trying them on your own at home. Some of these herbs may be beneficial for multiple myeloma pain, but could be bad for other conditions, such as high blood pressure. A physician will best know the best ways to take these herbs based on your individual condition.


Why Superherbs Are the New Superfood to Know in 2016

By Jasmine Garnsworthy

You only have to flirt with the idea of healthy eating to know a little about superfoods; even if it’s just enough to feel guilty about the lack of #kale in your Chipotle. If you’re a total rookie, you only need to understand that they’re a seriously hyped, wondrous group of edibles—such as #kale, #chia, and #acai—that wellness insiders promise can basically solve all of your life issues. Whether you’re stressed out, struggling to get a full night of sleep, or fighting off an illness, there’s a superfood for that.

The latest items to earn super status are herbs, a food group wellness insiders are touting as the next ultra-healthy ingredient, and one that’s primed to trend in a major way during 2016. Perhaps you’ve spotted #superherbs on Instagram lately, or noticed wellness blogs hail the tasty ingredient as brilliantly potent, but this isn’t any health fad—even experts agree herbs have their benefits.

Lee Holmes is a holistic nutritionist and Instagram sensation, meaning she completely gets social media wellness trends. According to her, the buzzy “superherb” term is being used to describe particularly nutrient-dense herbs. “Superherbs are super powered immune-boosting herbs that are high in nutritional value and originate from all over the world. They contain properties that can aid natural healing in the body,” she explained.

Ahead, we’re breaking down seven superherbs tipped to trend this year—and every single one’s packed with health benefits. Yep, even some of your everyday, garden-variety herbs boast potent health properties.

Astragalus

If you’ve never tasted it, think of a subtle but slightly sweet flavor, and you’re halfway there. Holmes explained that this Chinese herb can help stimulate the immune system (because winter), help out with any niggling digestion issues, and give your metabolism a kick. “Astragalus helps to reduce stomach acidity and increase the body’s metabolic rate. It’s also a good herb which can promote the elimination of waste material and help digestion,” Holmes explained. Schizandra berry

If you’re looking for a post-holiday detox, consider adding schizandra berry to your next smoothie. “It’s a liver cleanser and antiviral herb used in Chinese medicine,” Holmes explained. Licorice root

Probably the most timely of the bunch, licorice root is the MVP of immune-boosting superherbs thanks to a substance called glycyrrhizin. “Glycyrrhizin has been shown to be effective against various flu viruses,” Holmes said. She also warned that licorice can interfere with some medications, so it’s a smart idea to check with your doctor before eating it regularly.

Turmeric

Turmeric started having a major moment in 2015, with celebrities like Karolina Kurkova swearing by the healthy herb. It turns out that the buzz is completely valid: Turmeric is intensely anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants.

Rosemary and garlic

Chances are you already eat both of these common herbs regularly—well, good, because according to dietitian Marie Spano, they might actually be able to help prevent cancer when used alongside cooked meat. “When used in a marinade or incorporated into ground beef, chicken, or turkey patties, both herbs help decrease the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), compounds produced during cooking that are known as cancer-causing compounds in animals, and suspected human carcinogens,” she said.

Ginger

Ginger’s a great herb to eat when you’re exercising heavily, as it can help the body to recover after a big workout. “Just two grams of ginger consumed daily will help decrease muscle soreness due to hard bouts of exercise. Plus, ginger is essential for calming an upset stomach or motion sickness,” Spano elaborated.

Chili, jalapeño, and cayenne peppers

According to Spano, spicy foods like chili, jalapeños, and cayenne are herbs you want when trying to lose weight. “The active compound found in hot chilis, jalapeños, and cayenne stimulate calorie burning,” Spano said.



‘Fall’ into the benefits of astragalus

By TRISH McCAUL

Herb of the Week: Astragalus Latin Name: Astragalus membranaceous

Parts used: Root Fall is officially here. The summer heat is fading and long sleeves will soon beckon us. Unfortunately, immune challenges, the common cold, and the flu are lurking in the cooler weather as well. Fortunately, we have herbs to help us through the season. One such herb is astragalus.

Astragalus is indigenous to China, and is one of the most widely prescribed herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is an overall body tonic which increases general vitality while enhancing and balancing many bodily functions. Astragalus is perhaps best known for its capacity to stimulate and support the immune system. It fortifies the body against pathogens, and when taken during the fall and winter seasons, has been proven to reduce the incidence and duration of colds and flu.

Astragalus works by supporting and increasing the production of many different types of immune cells, which kill off viruses, inhibit viral replication, and protect healthy cells from viral invasion. It’s especially beneficial for people with general fatigue and low vitality. For people who seem to catch every bug that goes around, or experience recurring infections, this herb may save you some suffering.

Astragalus has also been recognized by the National Cancer Institute to exhibit tumor inhibiting properties.

When used in conjunction with radiation therapy and chemotherapy, it has been proven to dramatically increase survival rates in patients with certain forms of cancer. It’s also used to help the body recover from these common, often debilitating cancer treatments.

Additionally, Astragalus strengthens the digestive system and raises metabolism, making it useful for those with digestion, nutrient assimilation and appetite issues. It also helps build the blood, improves circulation, normalizes hormones, protects the liver and kidneys, as well as increasing energy levels and stamina. Astragalus is most effective when taken daily, on a longterm basis. The dried roots are commonly available in slices and can be eaten as is, though the fibrous texture bothers some. The root makes a great addition to soups. To do this, simmer it for at least 30 minutes in the soup and remove the root before serving. Astragalus is also available in tincture form.

A word of caution. There is a plant which grows locally called North American Astragalus, also known as “locoweed”. This plant contains toxic alkaloids which can have a detrimental effect on heart and lung function. Livestock having eaten it, have been observed jumping over imaginary objects and drooling excessively.

So, don’t go out and pick your own. It is not the same plant.

Procure the correct Astragalus from a local health food store.

Astragalus! Use it and enjoy the benefits.


How to Make Astragalus Tea

By Shannon Moudry

Astragalus is an herb that is native to china, and known for its anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Astragalus contains antioxidants which help to support and protect the body’s immune system. Astragalus is available in capsules, tablets and liquid form. One liquid form of astragalus is astragalus tea, which is made from the dried root of the astragalus plant. You can make astragalus tea in your own kitchen.

Things You'll Need;

Water
Cooking pot
Astragalus root
Coffee filter
Mug
Airtight container

Bring approximately 1 quart of tap or bottled water to a boil, in a medium sized cooking pot. Add 4 ounces of fresh astragalus root or 3 to 5 tablespoons of dried astragalus root. Boil the astragalus root for about three or four minutes.

Strain the tea to remove any dried root or debris from the whole root by pouring the tea through either a cheesecloth or a coffee filter.

Pour the fresh tea into a mug and drink, or store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container to use at a later time. Drink two to four cups per day for increased immune support.


Benefits of Astragalus Root

By Angela Moore

The popularity of herbs has skyrocketed due to the variety of health benefits they provide and their immune enhancing properties.

Many people are now looking for all-natural herbs and supplements as a means to cure ailments, take along side, or use instead of pharmaceutical medicine.

One such herb and supplement is the Astragalus root.

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus can be found in the Northern Hemisphere. It comes from a type of bean or legume though there are multiple species of this shrub.

Astagalus has been called huang qi, milk vetch or goats thorn. Or AR for short.

AR has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries and it is the root that is used to make herbal tonics.

The key component in astragalus supplements is Astragalus membranaceu and the root of the Astragalus herb contains polysaccharides, which seem to be the components that offer the immune support.

The benefits of Astragalus root

There are numerous astragalus benefits. The Astragalus root is often used during the cold and flu season as a preventative measure and it is sometimes combined with Echinacea, which is used for a similar purpose.

AR is also used as an “adaptogen.”

Adaptogens can assist individuals in coping with daily stress.

Ginseng and Ashwagandha can be combined with AR for additional stress relieving benefits. Some studies have found AR may help with glucose control for those with Type 2 diabetes.

Research has found that several of the beneficial compounds in AR can boost T-cell levels to close to normal in cancer patients. Therefore, it is sometimes used as an adjunct treatment to chemotherapy.

It may also help with the side effects of chemo. Other studies have shown AR to have broad antioxidant properties.

No known side effects are seen when AR is used as recommended.

At large doses however, the Astragalus root has been known to cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea are possible.

As a supplement

As well as apparently having antioxidant, common cold-curing and de-stressing properties, extracts of Astragalus have also been promoted for having life-prolonging effects on humans.

Research has shown that the Astragalus root may be able to protect DNA and prevent the death of cells in the body.

However, more conclusive research is needed on Astragalus before we all rush to use it as a magic cure for the aging process.

How to use Astragalus

When used as a single herb, doses of 500mg per day are recommended but when combined with other herbs, lower doses are typically used (100-200mg per day).

Dividing the 500mg dose to two 250mg doses per day is preferred.

Caution should be used for those individuals with autoimmune disease due to the immune stimulating properties of the herb. Due to the increased risk of bleeding with AR, it is best to discontinue the herb prior to surgery. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding also should not use Astragalus root.

You should always consult a health care specialist before taking Astragalus or any other supplement!


Benefits of Astragalus Shown to Extend Human Life

By Danica Collins

Do You Want to Live till you’re a 100? The Benefits of Astragalus, Can Help You Reach That Goal.

There are many benefits of astragalus, it has been shown that the astragalus compounds are helpful in fighting diseases such as AIDS and lupus, as well as slowing down the aging process.

Astragalus is an herb belonging to the legume family that grows in northern China and Mongolia. It’s commonly called milk-vetch, locoweed or goat’s-thorn. The herb has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries — mainly to boost the immune system, enhance strength, regulate metabolism, and treat a variety of ailments.

In recent years, the herb has gained popularity among herbalists and health practitioners in the West who specialize in alternative medicine.

There are 2 chemical compounds found in astragalus, namely, polysaccharides and saponins that are credited with many of the health benefits provided by the herb.

Extensive research and clinical studies in China have shown that these compounds may play an important role in preventing and treating diseases such as aplastic anemia, cancer, genital herpes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, AIDS, lupus, oral herpes, flu and respiratory infections.

Perhaps the most exciting development surrounding the benefits of astragalus are that scientists have been able to extract 2 powerful molecules from the astragalus root — cycloastragenols and astragalosides — that have been shown to activate the production of the enzyme telomerase, which maintains healthy telomeres and consequently… extends human life.

Telomeres are the “caps” at the end of chromosomes that protect the chromosomes. They are the part of the chromosome that governs aging. Every time the cells of the body divide, the telomeres get shorter and aging sets in.

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to scientists Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak, who co-discovered telomerase, the enzyme that rebuilds the telomere. They found that when they reignite the production of telomerase, telomere shortening is prevented — and oftentimes, telomeres even lengthen, thereby causing cells to age in reverse.

Astragalus -based dietary supplements that contain potent levels of cycloastragenols and astragalosides — and which reportedly have the ability to activate the production of telomerase in the body — have been on the market for many years.

The extracts can be purchased in powder, capsule or liquid form from supplement companies or health food stores. The Geron Corporation offers a patented form of the highly-concentrated extract which is called TA-65. It’s a proprietary regimen that studies show “was associated with a statistically significant ‘age-reversal’ effect” — and it’s administered through licensed physicians.

Many health practitioners agree that astragalus root extracts can be used safely by healthy adults with few side effects. Pregnant or nursing women, as well as people taking prescription medications should consult with their doctor or health practitioner before using astragalus.


5 caffeine-free energy boosters

(Asian One)

There are times when we need a little pick-me-up; whether it's to wake you up in the morning, to get rid of that midday slump or when you're feeling just plain out tired. Naturally an energy booster would be the way to go, and for the majority this would mean coffee!

The surge of energy you experience from drinking coffee comes from the mild stimulant effect of caffeine on your brain. It activates the body to release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline which gives you an instant surge of energy. Caffeine also gives mental focus and alertness a little boost. However, these effects are short-lived and you may actually feel more tired than you did before once they wear off. Your body can also get used to the caffeine fix and you'd need to keep upping your dosage - which isn't a good thing as too much caffeine can bring about anxiety, insomnia and heart palpitations, just to name a few.

If you'd like to cut down on your caffeine intake without suffering from energy slumps, here are a few natural caffeine-free energy boosters!

Ginseng

Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is known for its ability to promote health, increase vitality and prolong life. Studies have found that ginseng helps to improve mental performance, and boost both endurance and strength, and reduce fatigue in athletes. Research has shown that Ginseng may have the ability to act as an "adaptogen" - which means, it helps the body to better cope with mental or physical stress.

Make ginseng tea by steeping 3-4 slices of ginger root for 10 minutes. You can also take ginseng supplements. Caution: Ginseng is not suitable for kids under 12. Always take ginseng during the day, and start with a small dosage, as too much might disrupt sleep.

Codonopsis pilosula

If ginseng is a little too pricey for your pocket then codonopsis root is an ideal alternative. Codonopsis, native to Asia, is a cheaper ginseng substitute, sometimes referred to as "poor man's ginseng". It is used to boost the immune system, reduce fatigue and stress, promote mental sharpness and memory, and it is very good for strengthening your lungs as well.

The stimulant effects of codonopsis is not as strong as ginseng, so you may require a larger dosage to achieve the same effects as true ginseng. Like ginseng, you can take it in tea form or supplements.

Astragalus

Another traditional remedy, astragalus is a sweet, warming herb that helps to increase the metabolism and is an excellent remedy for fatigue. Research has shown astralagus to not only be a natural energy booster but also helps to repair and heal. It is a great antioxidant and also strengthens the immune system.

You can purchase it in the form of a tincture, tea or capsules. It is extremely safe, but you should not take it if you have an infection or high fever because it may strengthen the virus instead of you. It can also be used with other herbs, like ginseng.

Peppermint

Peppermint is something that is easy to come by and offers a whole host of benefits. It increases mental alertness while relaxing your muscles at the same time - just sniffing it will give you a lift. Peppermint oil is also very effective in relieving headaches caused by muscle tension.

Just put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on your hanky and sniff it for a boost, or you could chew on a peppermint leaf or two, or take a cup of peppermint tea for a pick-me-up. If you do have a headache, just apply a drop of peppermint oil on to your temples with a little massage.

Maca

Maca, a root belonging to the radish family, is native to the high Andes of Peru. It is also an adaptogen and helps to regulate hormones that affect your moods, growth and tissue functions. The darker coloured maca roots (red, purple, black) contain significant amounts of natural iodine - a 10-gram serving of dried maca generally contains 52 micrograms of iodine.

It is highly beneficial for reducing fatigue and enhancing energy and endurance. Maca contains 55 phytochemicals that are known to have vitality-enhancing effects in the body, in addition to being incredibly mineral-dense and nutritious.

It is commonly available in powder form; you can put it in your smoothie.

Although fatigue is not a disease, it can have a negative impact on the quality of your life and may even result in physical and/or psychological illnesses. If you suffer from chonic fatigue, do see a healthcare practitioner.


Benefits of Astragalus

By Kathleen Roberts (Site Editor) [Reviewed by Terri Forehand, RN]

Astragalus has been used for centuries to boost the immune system. It is a commonly used herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine and recently it has become popular in the United States as well. The astragalus root is used in soups and teas and it can also be taken as a supplement for those who want to enjoy the health benefits of astragalus.

About Astragalus

Astragalus has a long history of medicinal use with early writings on the herb dating back over 2000 years. A native of China and Tibet, astragalus is a perennial that is a member of the legume family.

There are over 2000 species of astragalus, but only two are used medicinally - Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus. Roots are harvested from plants that are four to seven years old. They are then dried and used in teas and supplements that provide a variety of health benefits.

The Benefits of Astragalus

• Immune Support

Astragalus seems to have the unique ability to stimulate the immune system's NK cells without stimulating B cells. It also increases the production of interferon which helps improve resistance to viral infections. These qualities may make it useful in treating autoimmune diseases that can be worsened with other immune stimulating herbs.

There is also evidence that, combined with other immune stimulating herbs, astragalus activates immune cells quickly. This may be helpful in those with weak immune systems and those fighting infections

• Cancer

Studies have shown astragalus to be useful for those with cancer as well. One study concluded that astragalus is helpful for those undergoing chemotherapy. Test subjects who supplemented with astragalus experienced less toxicity from the chemotherapy, higher immune function, inhibited tumor development and a better quality of life overall.

• Male Infertility

An increase in the motility of sperm was reported in test subjects of a study conducted by the Institutes of Traditional Medicine and Clinical Medicine. This confirms the traditional use of astragalus in ancient Chinese medicine where it was prescribed for treating male infertility.

• Hepatitis

There is also some evidence that astragalus may be useful in the treatment of hepatitis because of it's ability to enhance immune function. More research is needed to confirm this benefit.

• Other Benefits

If all that isn't enough, astragalus also has anti-fungal properties as well as an anti-inflammatory effect. Herbalists also recommend it for treating cold and flu and it may also be useful for improving heart function. Cautions

Astragalus is considered safe with no known side effects however, if you are pregnant or breast feeding you should discuss it with your doctor before using it. If you are taking any immune suppressing drugs, you should not take astragalus. Children can safely take astragalus unless they have a fever, in which case astragalus may prolong the fever.

It is also important to note that the only astragalus species that is used in herbal remedies is the one grown in China. In the western United States another species grows and is commonly referred to as locoweed. Common names for this species include Lambert crazyweed, stemless loco, white woollyloco and whitepoint locoweed. In animals, especially cows and horses, ingesting this herb causes aggression, fatigue, nervousness, abortion and depression. Locoweed has not been tested or researched for its effects on humans.

As with any herb, you should discuss astragalus with your doctor before using it. Please note that this herb is not approved by the FDA.

• An Immune Tonic

The evidence shows that astragalus is useful in supporting immune function. Supplementing with astragalus may help you stay healthier, especially during cold and flu season. Add this herbal supplement to your health routine and enjoy the benefits of astragalus yourself.


16 Amazing Health Benefits Of Astragalus Root

(Nithya, StyleCraze)

Traditional Chinese medicine is a storehouse of countless herbs, most of them quite powerful with hidden benefits. Astragalus is one of the many herbs used in Chinese medicine.

Known as Astragalus Membranaceus alias Astragalus Propinquus scientifically, the roots of this herb is known to heal different health conditions. Thanks to its never ending healing properties, including antiviral, antibacterial, adaptogenic, anti-hydrotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-hypertensive, and anti-cancerous properties, the herb is an essential part of several alternative branches of medicine.

Health Benefits of Astragalus Root:

The list of benefits offered by this herb is, unarguably, an exhaustive one. Here is a closer look at the different health benefits of astragalus roots.

1. A Protective Shield for Your Brain:

An oxygen-deprived brain leads to stroke – the reason – zero circulation of blood. Chinese studies conducted on animals suggest that the inflammation triggered under such circumstances can be eased with the use of the roots of this awesome herb. Yes, astragalus is known to possess the potential to re- initiate blood supply to the brain. This, in turn, ensures faster recovery and also lowers stroke-induced death risk. Studies also suggest that people using this herb regularly enjoy a virtual shield around their brain.

2. Ensures Faster Recovery from Cardiac Failure:

Studies conducted on about 90 people suffering from Chronic Heart Failure suggested that using astragalus over a period of 30 days show visible improvement in their health conditions. The study was conducted in 3 batches, each having a group of 30. The batch that was administered this astralagus herb in moderate quantities showed significant improvement, compared to people who were given low doses.

3. Admirable Anti-cancerous Properties:

Use of these root extracts have shown to inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells in the human body. The roots work on these infected cells and disconnect the blood supply, ensuring the death of cancer cells, especially in cases of breast and gastric cancers. Astragalus contains saponins that possess chemotherapeutic properties. These is one of the most sought after alternative medicines for easing advanced as well as metastatic stages of gastric cancer – both by ending it and preventing its recurrences. People who drink a decoction made from its roots twice a day are known to enjoy better anti-cancerous benefits.

4. Anti-allergic Agent:

This is, perhaps, one of the most acknowledged use of astragalus roots. A tincture made from the dried roots of this herb, when consumed twice a day, is known to offer relief from allergic rhinitis as well as asthma. It is also an advised natural remedy for hay fever. It is also known to ward off allergy-induced cold, given its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Consumption of this herb for 6 or more weeks is known to ease and prevent seasonal allergies and their associate symptoms.

5. Fights Signs of Ageing:

Human body contain telomeres, the degradation of which triggers ageing. Studies suggest that the roots of this miracle herb can stimulate the synthesis of telomerase, the enzyme responsible for the manufacture of telomeres. Include this herb decoction, two times a day, in your diet and impede your ageing process. These roots also possess antioxidants, the ingredients that possess free radical scavenging potential. The lesser the free radicals in your body, the slower the ageing process will be.

6. Ensures Faster Recovery from Wounds:

Along with the rich presence of antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, these herb roots are potential sources of some unique polysaccharides, including calycosin, formononetin, as well as astragaloside IV. These ingredients combat inflammation by lowering nitric acid levels in the body. Plus, these prevent the flow of blood to the affected area by hindering the functioning of metabolic pathways and genes. They also trigger the immune system. A synergic effect of these actions ensures faster healing of the wounds without inflammations and infections.

7. Helpful for Type II Diabetics:

While the antioxidant nature, along with assorted polysaccharides in the roots of this herb, shields the diabetics from radical scavengers, they also significantly improve the metabolic rate. The higher metabolic rate ensures that the sugar levels are kept under control. When used scrupulously, Type II diabetics can keep their sugar levels within the acceptable limits with the help of astragalus root decoction.

8. Peps up Energy Levels:

Being an adaptogen by nature, this herb works as a stimulating tonic. It helps to ease fatigue, stimulate and enhance your stamina levels, and combat chronic stress and anxiety. It gives your energy levels a boost, and aids in easing the symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity.

9. Natural Detoxifying Properties:

You can now take the help of this herb to eliminate all those unwanted toxins and chemicals from your body. The diuretic nature along with its antioxidant potential ensures that the radicals are curbed and toxins are eliminated from the liver as well as stomach.

10. Good for your Digestive System:

This herb is known to lower the levels of acids in your stomach and maintain the pH levels, shielding the body from assorted gastric issues. It also gives you digestive power a boost. The detoxifying properties of this herb ensure easier and faster elimination of wastes from digestive system, keeping constipation issues at bay.

11. Strengthens Liver and Spleen:

A natural detoxifier, this herb also possesses the potential to improve the blood flow, eliminating the waste from liver and spleen, strengthening and safeguarding it from various liver issues in the process. Various studies, though inconsistent, show that intravenous administration of astragalus roots is known to benefit patients suffering from chronic hepatitis.

12. Keep Blood Pressure Level Under Control:

The herb is a vasodilator, which means it has the power to open and widen blood vessels, improving the circulation levels. This helps in to lower blood pressure, and is beneficial for people suffering from hypertension. Keeping blood pressure levels under control also ensures safety from cardiovascular conditions.

13. Helps Maintain Cholesterol Levels:

Regular intake of astragalus roots is known to reduce bad cholesterol in the blood. The roots curb the absorption of fat from intestines, plus it also acts as a natural detoxification agent. It safeguards your arterial walls from the deposits of plaques and shields you from many conditions, including atherosclerosis.

14. Strengthens Immune System:

One of the key benefits for astragalus roots is to improve the functions of the immune system. It improves the metabolic rate as well as paves way for better circulation of blood. The antiviral properties work in conjunction with these aspects of this Chinese medicine to bolster the immunity and thwarting off various health issues, including common cold. The immunity enhancing potential of this herb enables it to be used as an alternative treatment for HIV/AIDS.

15. Good for Lung Health:

It stimulates, strengthens, and tones the lungs and their functions. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb work to ease and prevent various respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, and asthma. 16. Naturally Rich Diuretic Properties:

The natural diuretic potential of this herb helps in eliminating the excess fluids that gets collected in the urinary bladder and other pockets of the body. It helps in easing edema and infections affecting the urinary bladder. Regular use of this herb is also known to lower the chances of the bladder developing infections.

A Word of Caution:

Though astragalus is generally considered safe but when used in higher doses it can cause certain side effects including:

• Diarrhea
• Bloating
• Dehydration
• Suppressing immune system
• Hindering the action of various medications, including medications for auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
• Lowers blood pressure levels
• Affects blood sugar levels

Although no data is available on the effect of this herb on women during pregnancy and lactation, it is suggested that women in such conditions should strictly stay away from this herb.

Even though the evidence supporting the health benefits of astragalus roots are quite limited, studies do suggest that it is quite powerful, especially when used with a certain set of other herbs.


Astragalus & Blood Sugar

By Tracey Roizman, D.C. (Demand Media)

Astragalus, a perennial native to China and Korea, grows as tall as 3 feet and bears pink, purple or white flowers. Considered an adaptogen -- a substance that helps the body adapt to stress -- astragalus' roots are harvested when the plant is four years old. Herbalists use them to treat a variety of conditions, including anemia, diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis and allergies. Some scientific studies have supported the use of astragalus for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

AGEs

A study published in the December 2009 issue of the journal "Acta Pharmacologica Sinica" found that astragalus may decrease the toxic effects of high glucose levels. Excess glucose binds to cells and molecules throughout the body, forming complexes known as advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, that promote inflammation, oxidation and accelerated aging. In the eight-week laboratory animal study, polysaccharide extracts of astragalus decreased glucose toxicity by activating an important enzyme involved in maintaining proper energy levels in cells. The enzyme, known as AMP-activated protein kinase, or AMPK, influences fat breakdown and storage and controls the secretion of insulin. Researchers concluded that astragalus may be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Sensitivity

Astragalus may improve insulin sensitivity, according to a study published in the January 2010 issue of the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology." In the laboratory animal study, doses of 700 milligrams per kilogram body weight of astragalus polysaccharide extract per day for eight weeks lowered blood sugar levels and reduced insulin resistance. In particular, researchers noted that astragalus extract improved glucose transport in muscle tissue. These results indicate that astragalus may be useful for improving insulin sensitivity in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.

Fasting Blood Sugar

Fasting blood sugar levels may improve with astragalus supplementation, notes nutritionist Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Herbal Healing." A laboratory animal study published in the July 2012 issue of the journal "Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao" found that astragalus lowered fasting blood sugar and insulin levels after four weeks of supplementation. Researchers noted that astragalus extract regulated several key liver enzymes involved in energy production and insulin sensitivity.

Considerations

Astragalus is considered safe with only mild side effects such as digestive complaints reported from high single doses or long-term use, according to New York University Langone Medical Center. However, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners avoid using astragalus during an infection. Common dosages range from 9 to 30 grams of dried root per day, taken as a tea. Standardized extracts are also available. Use astragalus under the supervision of a healthcare professional well-versed in Chinese herbalism.



Benefits of Astragalus

By Steven Foster

Chinese characters are stylized pictures with several layers of meaning, which makes the writing and interpretation of these characters a complex art form. Two characters make up the written Chinese word for astragalus, huang-qi. The top character, “huang,” means ­yellow, the bottom, “qi,” means venerable, according to Kai-Ho Mah, a calligrapher and ­professor of foreign languages and Asian studies at Colorado State University.

For the ­Chinese, yellow is the color of life-giving earth, he says, and this quality is reflected in the huang character’s depiction of a fence above a square rice paddy, beneath which are two marks ­indicating the sweat from labor.

Qi shows the crosslike forms of two plants atop the character lao, translated as aged and venerated. Lao in turn sits above a square-shaped sun.

Together, these symbols mean a plant both venerated and good for the elderly, one that will bring many more days. The sound “qi,” when pronounced with different intonations, also means vital force, addiction to sensory pleasures, and to eat—all meanings that factor into the idea that astragalus increases vitality and overall health.

In the ancient Chinese herbal Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, under the category of superior herbs, there is a listing for a plant known as huang-qi, praised for its ability to fight fatigue and general debility.

Today, Westerners know this herb as astragalus, and scientists are learning that the lessons of ancient cultures are not to be dismissed. Modern research shows that astragalus’s reputation can be attributed to compounds that boost the immune system and help many people in distress, including cold-sufferers and chemotherapy patients.

Origins Of Astragalus

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is the common En­glish name for huang-qi. One interpretation of the word is that “huang” means yellow, referring to the yellow interior of the herb’s root, and “qi” means leader, referring to this herb’s place as a superior tonic in Chinese medicine.

A. membranaceus grows in China from the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, south to the Shandong peninsula, west to the mountains of Sichuan, and north to the westernmost province of Xinjiang. It is found along forest margins, in shrub thickets, thin open woods, and grasslands near the edge of forests. The Chinese harvest its roots when plants are four to five years old. Before completely dry, the roots are sliced into thin diagonals or sliced lengthwise, producing a dried product that looks like a tongue depressor.

The astragalus genus is one of the largest groups of flowering plants, with more than 1,750 documented species and members; some are merely ornamental, some are medicinal, and some are poisonous. In the United States, the astragalus genus is best known for producing “locoweed.” Woolly loco (A. mollissimus), which grows abundantly in New Mexico and Texas, is one of the first plants to produce foliage in the spring. When livestock eat this plant, it can be harmful and even fatal. Locoism causes structural changes in nerve cells and makes animals behave strangely. They may develop a craving for the plant and refuse to feed on other forage, which can lead to death from starvation. Locoism can affect horses, cattle, prairie dogs, and even bees.

Other astragalus species are considered safe and used in foods, cosmetics, and coffee or tea substitutes. Gum tragacanth­—a common colloidal ingredient in lotions, pharmaceutical suspensions, resinous tinctures, creams, jellies, and ice cream—is derived from several astragalus species.

Western Acceptance Of Astragalus

Westerners began to realize the medi­cinal importance of A. membranaceus ­during the 1800s. The species was first ­described for the West in 1868 by Dr. Alexander von Bunge, a Russian physician who studied East Asian plants. In the Chinese Materia Medica of 1911, G. A. Stuart wrote that astragalus “is in great repute as a tonic, pectoral, and diuretic medicine, the diseases for which it is prescribed, therefore, are almost numberless.”

According to various books on Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus invigorates vital energy (qi) and strengthens bodily resistance. Health practitioners have prescribed it to treat shortness of breath, general weakness, and lack of appetite, and have recommended it as a diuretic as well as to treat colds, flu, stomach ulcers, and diabetes.

Astragalus is becoming one of the ­better-known Chinese herbs. Some of its popularity may be attributed to extensive scientific study that began in the 1970s. Laboratory and clinical studies confirm the herb’s ability to stimulate the immune system, fight bacteria, viruses, and inflammation, protect the liver, and act as a diuretic and adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that have nonspecific actions and cause minimal disruption to the body while normalizing body functions, no matter the condition or disease.

Combining Traditions To Help Cancer Patients

Astragalus is one of many herbs used in Chinese fu-zheng therapy, which treats disease by enhancing or promoting the body’s defense mechanisms. In the West, we describe this process as stimulating or enhancing the immune system. Scientists are tracing the immune-boosting abilities of ­astragalus to chemicals in the plant known as polysaccharides, especially astragalan I, II, and III, and saponins and triterpenes.

Scientific interest in astragalus was stimulated by Chinese research groups during the mid-1970s. The researchers were trying to verify, through laboratory and clinical tests, a basis for the ancient practice of fu-zheng and to determine whether astragalus had value for modern medicine.

In modern China, three systems of medicine are recognized—modern Western medicine, the ancient system of ­Traditional Chinese Medicine, and a ­combination of the two. It was in the context of the combined Chinese and Western medical traditions that researchers sought answers.

The researchers knew that chemo­therapy and radiation treatments tend to suppress the immune system of cancer patients, making them more susceptible to other illnesses. So they studied the potential of astragalus to increase these patients’ immunity. The researchers began their work in 1975, and during the late 1970s and early 1980s, they published several studies that outlined their findings. According to the studies, astragalus encourages bone marrow, otherwise ­depressed by chemotherapy and radiation, to produce more white blood cells, the immune system’s first line of defense. It also increases the ability of these cells to engulf invading particles such as bac­teria and viruses. The researchers also reported that astragalus mitigates gastrointestinal poisoning in patients undergoing conventional cancer therapies. The result was a significant increase in survival rates for the patients receiving both the fu-zheng therapy and Western cancer treatments.

Astragalus can help boost the immune system in other situations as well, apparently by supporting the body’s natural killer cells. Some studies have focused on the herb’s ability to fight viruses, but it hasn’t been effective against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Other studies conducted during the past thirty years show that the root acts as a diuretic to help flush the system. And when mice were given a decoction of the root during a three-week period, their swimming time increased, as did their body weight, suggesting that the root has an adaptogenic effect. Other ­experiments show that astragalus can help reduce blood pressure, dilate blood vessels, and improve circulation. Since the early 1990s, several Asian research groups have conducted studies showing that ­astragalus root protects the liver from toxic compounds.

Proving Superiority

It’s tempting to believe that we are only now documenting something that the Chinese have known for centuries—that astragalus is a superior class of herb. But we’re just beginning to understand how it works, and its acceptance by practitioners of Western medicine will likely depend on the outcome of additional well-designed, controlled clinical trials. 8 Dosage: Astragalus ( Astragalus membranaceus)

What it does: Stimulates the immune system.

How we know: In some studies, astragalus has been shown to boost the immune system of patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Chinese studies show that astragalus can increase the ability of white blood cells to engulf microbes and other antigens.

Dosage: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ­astragalus is often used in daily doses of 9 g to 15 g of the dried sliced root, simmered for several hours in a quart of water (the decoction is ready when the water is reduced down to a pint).

Astragalus tinctures, tablets, and capsules are available on the American market, where it is often combined with ginseng. Typically, capsules deliver a dose of up to 500 mg. Two average capsules three times a day equal a dose of 3 g. For commercial products, follow manufacturers’ instructions listed on the label.

Cautions: Astragalus has no known side effects.


The Best Soup for a Cold, Recipe Included

By Kathleen Jade (ND)

Grandma’s cold remedy — chicken noodle soup — may be warming and nourishing, but it’s not the best soup for a cold. An even better soup for colds is one that is actually therapeutic in the medicinal sense. This means it contains proven, immune-boosting foods like medicinal mushrooms (such as maitake and reishi) and astragalus root.

Astragalus

Astragalus membranaceus is one of the most extensively studied herbal medicines and has been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine to treat infections and other ailments for thousands of years. The dried roots of Astragalus contain compounds that possess immune-modulating, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties, among others. Astragalus and herbal formulas that contain it can prevent upper respiratory infections in people whose immune systems aren’t functioning optimally.

Astragalus has firm, fibrous roots that are light yellow in color and have a sweet, pleasant taste. Dried astragalus root can be purchased in long slices, small pieces, or as a powder. The type most often used in soups is the sliced, dried root which is typically added to soups during cooking and then removed before eating. Since the bioactive compounds in astragalus are soluble in water, they are extracted into the broth while the soup is cooking.

Medicinal Mushrooms for Immune Enhancement

Of the approximately 130 healing actions of medicinal mushrooms, they are perhaps best known for their ability to boost immune function. Even white button mushrooms, the most commonly eaten variety, enhance immune function.

But certain mushrooms have more potent immune-modulating activities. The medicinal mushrooms with the most powerful effects on immune function include:

• Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
• Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
• Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
• Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)
• Turkey tail (Coriolus versicolor)

In addition to improving a number of aspects of immune function, some of these medicinal mushrooms, like reishi, have antimicrobial actions, especially against viruses.

Both fresh and dried mushrooms can be used for soups. Some medicinal mushrooms, like reishi, are difficult to find fresh (unless you grow them yourself). Plus, reishi are tough and therefore you’ll likely want to take them out of the soup before you eat it. Others, like shiitake, are more widely available in their fresh form for culinary use and are delicious to eat as part of the soup.

You can find dried mushrooms and organically-grown, dried, sliced astragalus root for sale online. Many western herbalists, acupuncturists, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners carry dried astragalus root in their dispensaries.

The best soup for a cold is one that contains fresh or dried versions of these mushrooms along with astragalus and other immune boosting foods like garlic and ginger. Try the chicken soup recipe below, and feel free to add or adapt it to your liking.

Chicken Soup Recipe for a Cold

Ingredients:

• 5 pounds organic chicken (If using a whole chicken, remove chicken meat just after stock is brought to boil and reserve.)
• 12 cups fresh water
• 3 carrots, cut into thirds
• 2 parsnips, quartered
• 2 celery stalks, cut into thirds
• 2 onions, quartered
• 1 oz astragalus root
• 2 oz dried medicinal mushrooms of choice
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 to 2 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

1. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Skim the top layer of the stock and discard. Then cover and simmer for at least 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Strain and keep stock. Discard veggies, astragalus, mushrooms, and chicken carcass.

2. To the homemade chicken broth, add:

•Reserved chicken

• 2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms (or fresh, if available)
• 2 inches grated ginger root
• 6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed
• Additional vegetables and grains as desired

3. Simmer 15 to 30 minutes, or until all ingredients are tender. Serve immediately. Eat throughout the cold and flu season and up to three times per day during active upper respiratory infections.

4. Another key element of preventing and treating colds is keeping your immune system in top shape by following healthy living practices.


Health Benefits of Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus Root) for Anti-Aging and More

By Jon Yaneff (CNP)

Astragalus root is one of the most efficient anti-aging herbal remedies. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root has a long-standing relationship in traditional Chinese medicine for treating energy deficiency and digestive disorders of the spleen and lungs.

The herbal remedy is also known by its Chinese name huang qi, which translates as milk-vetch root. Astragalus root has been used for centuries, and it can help treat a variety of health problems, including blood disorders, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), cancer, diabetes, and respiratory infections such as asthma or bronchitis.

Astragalus is a popular adaptogenic herb. This means it can improve your energy by helping the body adapt to stress and resist disease. The herb is also a great immune system stimulant, and it can help prevent and treat a sore throat and a common cold. It is also used for radiation and chemotherapy support, fatigue, chronic diarrhea, hepatitis, and heart function.

How Does Astragalus Work?

Why is astragalus root an anti-aging herbal remedy? The anti-aging effect of astragalus root can be attributed to a particular chemical that activates the enzyme telomerase (hTERT).

Think of your DNA like a shoelace, and your telomeres are the plastic caps at the end, which keep your shoelaces from unraveling. The telomeres help protect your DNA during the replication process. When you age, the telomeres shorten, which increases the lifespan of your DNA. The telomerase will protect the telomeres by increasing their length. Telomerase is often deactivated in adult cells; however, telomerase is active in sperm and egg cells, immune cells, and malignant cancer cells. The activation of telomerase can also stimulate additional telomere production.

In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus root will relieve spleen-deficient symptoms like appetite loss, fatigue, and diarrhea. It does this by increasing yang qi of the spleen and stomach. The root of astragalus will tonify the blood and protective qi called wei qi. It also contains other active constituents such as astragalosides, saponins, flavonoids, beta-sitosterol, selenium, and polysaccharides. The most notable polysaccharides in astragalus include astragaloside IV, calycosin, and formononetin, which help reduce inflammation and improve immunity. By nature, astragalus has a warming effect and it is sweet tasting.

The Ancient Health Benefits of Astragalus

There is also evidence to back up the anti-aging effects of astragalus root. In a mouse study published in the journal Aging Cell, researchers from Spain showed that the activation of telomerase from astragalus root helped increase telomere length and decreased the amount of short telomeres overall. The study found that astragalus root improved various factors linked with aging, such as osteoporosis, skin health, and glucose tolerance.

Besides the anti-aging activity of astragalus root, the herb has a variety of other health benefits. The following are a few of the best health benefits of astragalus root extract:

1. Immune support

Most notably, the astragaloside IV, calycosin, and formononetin help activate pathways and other genes, which help with immune cell activity. Studies have shown that astragalus root can stimulate the immune system in several ways by improving T cell activity, enhancing the phagocytic activity of macrophages and monocytes, increasing natural killer cell activity, and increasing the potency of the herb’s other antiviral properties.

2. Upper respiratory infections

Astragalus root is considered an effective treatment for acute and chronic bronchitis by strengthening weakened lungs and preventing upper respiratory infections that trigger asthma. The astragaloside, saponins, and flavonoids found in astragalus are thought to be involved to treat and prevent upper respiratory infections such as asthma, bronchitis, tracheitis, laryngitis, sore throats, and the common cold.

3. Chronic hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis is liver inflammation that lasts a minimum of six months; it is commonly caused by hepatitis B or C viruses, as well as certain drugs. A study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine in 2000 found that a supplementation with astragalus root could effectively treat liver fibrosis of chronic hepatitis B patients. Another study published in the Chinese Journal of Hepatology in 2005 found that injecting an astragalus solution could inhibit experimental hepatic fibrogenesis possibly due to its antioxidant activity.

4. Cancer

Astragalus can help complement cancer treatment by reducing fatigue. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Clinical Investigative Medicine in 2012, researchers found that Astragalus membranaceus root extract could safely treat cancer-related fatigue in patients with advanced cancer.

The patients were treated with astragalus root extract for a two-month period. After the first month, about 82% of the cancer patients had increased energy. In those who hadn’t shown improvement in the first treatment, around 71% showed signs of energy improvement after the second treatment. Astragalus is also used in combination with other herbs like glossy privet for the treatment of lung cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer. It is also safely used in conjunction with other cancer treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.

5. Diabetes

Astragalus root is considered an effective remedy for diabetics since it exhibits improved blood sugar control. The polysaccharides in astragalus are thought to benefit those with diabetes. In particular, the active polysaccharide component of astragalus root extract is called astragalus polysaccharide (APS).

In an eight-week rat study published in the journal Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, researchers found that APS extract reduced blood glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity by activating the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

Other health benefits of astragalus:

Astragalus is also used to treat fibromyalgia, arthritis, kidney disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia, seasonal allergies, diarrhea, ulcers, nervous conditions, wound healing, hemorrhaging, blood disorders, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Is It Safe to Use Astragalus?

When trying new herbal remedies, there is often concern whether they are safe to use. That being said, astragalus is considered relatively safe for most adults. On the other hand, dosages of more than 28 grams may interfere with immune activity, and those taking immune-suppressing drugs should avoid astragalus. People with autoimmune diseases are not advised to use astragalus root, including those with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Astragalus root should also be avoided in breastfeeding or pregnant women. A component in astragalus called astragaloside IV has been found to produce maternal toxicity and other fetal toxic events. Scientific evidence shows that toxic astragalus species have led to abnormal heart development and abortions during animal pregnancies. The herb is also thought to increase lactation.

There are also some drug interactions associated with astragalus root. For example, since astragalus may lower blood sugar levels caution should be used while using the herb with blood sugar-lowering drugs. Astragalus should also be avoided with drugs that increase bleeding like blood thinners, aspirin, naproxen, anti-platelet drugs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Astragalus may also interact with blood pressure drugs, drugs with estrogen-like properties, and drugs for arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, and anxiety. Other interactions with astragalus include lithium, cyclophosphamide, and diuretics.

What Is the Best Astragalus Dosage?

What is the proper astragalus root dosage? The best astragalus root dosage will depend on your age, weight, and the health condition being treated. It is a good idea to work with your doctor or herbalist to help determine the most effective and safest astragalus root dosage; however, there are certain dosage recommendation guidelines regarding the herb:

• For standardized astragalus extract, take 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams, three to four times per day.
• In a tea, the recommended dosage requires you to boil three to six grams of dried astragalus root in 12 ounces of water, three times each day.
• Astragalus root tinctures often contain 30% ethanol. The best dosage is 20 to 60 drops, three times daily.
Side Effects and Warnings Associated with Astragalus

Although there are many astragalus health benefits, there are a few side effects or warnings linked with the herb. The following are some side effects or warnings linked with astragalus root:

• Astragalus should not be used if you have a fever.
• Caution should be implemented as astragalus may increase the risk of bleeding in those with bleeding disorders.
• Caution should also be used in people with high blood pressure, neurological disorders, skin conditions, musculoskeletal disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions.
• Some holistic health practitioners avoid recommending the long-term use of a single adaptogenic herb. Astragalus should be taken in rotation with other adaptogens.
• It is also possible that the side effects associated with astragalus root are not well understood since it is often used in combination with other herbs.
Where Do I Find Astragalus?

How do you get astragalus health benefits? Well, astragalus root extract comes in several forms, including standardized and non-standardized tablets and capsules, dried astragalus root slices, astragalus root teas, astragalus root extract liquid tinctures, and topical astragalus skin creams. Astragalus root extract has also been injected in clinical or hospital scenarios in Asia.

Astragalus root is found in Chinese grocery stores and health food stores. You can also find astragalus root in the offices of some herbalists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.



Astragalus: Chinese medicinal herb enlisted in fight against allergic rhinitis

By Tan Shiow Chin

A herb long used in traditional Chinese medicine for diabetes has been recently proven effective for allergic rhinitis, with some even touting the plant as a 'superfood'.

Take a look around you, is there someone you know who has symptoms of allergies?

This might be in the form of allergic rhinitis — runny and/or blocked nose, watery eyes and sneezing; food allergies — itching, rashes, and even, difficulty breathing, upon consumption of the trigger food; eczema or contact dermatitis — itchy, red skin rashes; and allergic asthma — difficulty breathing upon exposure to the allergen, among others.

There is a pretty good chance that you know one or more persons who have some form of allergy, or even have allergies yourself, as the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology estimates that one in three Malaysians suffer from some sort of allergy.

In fact, allergies are a rising medical trend both globally and locally. Experts predict that if the present trend continues, around half the country's will be affected by ailments caused by allergies by 2020.

While allergies are unlikely to be fatal for most sufferers, they do seriously affect quality of life. This is especially so for those who are allergic to substances that are commonly found in the environment, like dust mites, pet dander and pollen.

According to Croatian medical doctor and researcher Dr Silva Pecanic, the current goals of allergic rhinitis management is to improve quality of life and minimise side effects from treatment.

“There are three main methods of management. First, of course, is the allergen avoidance. But this requires a lot of education of the patient, a lot of discipline, habit changes, and is quite restrictive,” she says, noting that when one family member has an allergy, the entire family usually suffers along as well.

“The other method is pharmacotherapy. Current pharmacotherapy includes nasal steroids, which have a lot of side effects like dryness, and after long-term use, leads to thinning of the nasal mucosa, making it prone to bleeding or infections. There are also a lot of side effects for antihistamines, which are often used to decrease allergy symptoms, like dryness, drowsiness, dizziness, and sometimes, trouble urinating,” she says.

The third method of treatment is with leukotriene inhibitors. However, Dr Pecanic notes that the US Food and Drug Administration has updated the precautions on this group of drugs to include warnings on reported adverse neuropsychiatric side effects like agitation, aggression, problems sleeping, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.

She says: “All these treatments are directed at the final symptoms — after the histamine attack. And all these patients usually change their therapy because they are never fully satisfied with their medication — changing from one antihistamine to another, and the nasal steroids and the nasal decongestants.”

Regulating allergy genes

Dr Pecanic, who is currently the Regulatory Department head of the South-East European Croatian-based health supplements and non-prescription drugs company Milsing, was in town recently to speak about a new allergy treatment based on the herb Astragalus membranaceus.

Also known as huang qi, bei qi or huang hu huang qi in Chinese, the dried root of A. membranaceus has actually been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Its primary function in TCM is as an energising tonic and boosting the immune system, as well as treating diabetes.

It is this last function that led a group of researchers at the Ruder Bokovic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, to take a deeper look at the root of this herb 14 years ago.

Milsing Product Development head and pharmacist Iva Martic shares: “During the research, they discovered that the activated root extract of A. membranaceus substantially influences some of the genes which are involved in the inflammatory reaction.

“After that, they performed a series of tests, and animal and clinical trials, to show that it does affect more than 20 genes involved in the inflammatory process.”

In was at this stage in 2003 that Milsing, which develops such products commercially, got involved.

According to Martic, their research showed that the activated root extract of A. membranaceus helps to regulate the genes involved in the Th1 (Type 1 helper T cell) pathway. (See What are helper T cells?)

Increased activity of this pathway helps balances out the Th2 (Type 2 helper T cell) pathway, which is the one responsible for releasing histamine and other inflammatory chemical mediators that cause allergy symptoms.

Providing effective relief

In 2007, Dr Pecanic and her colleagues conducted a randomised, double-blind clinical trial at the University Hospital Dubrava in Zagreb. The results were published in Phytotherapy Research in 2010.

Forty-eight patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis were randomly put into two groups for the six weeks of the trial. Two-thirds of them received the activated root extract of A. membranaceus, while one-third received a placebo. No other pharmacological treatment for allergies was allowed.

According to Dr Pecanic, participants on the root extract showed significant improvement for rhinorrhoea (runny nose) after three weeks on treatment, and itching or burning eyes after six weeks, compared to those on the placebo.

In addition, subjective evaluations on treatment efficacy from patients and doctors respectively both showed an agreement that the root extract was significantly more effective than the placebo.

She adds: “There were very few adverse reactions, and all of them were actually symptoms from the allergy. The conclusion was that there were no adverse reactions related to the root extract.”

While the treatment for the clinical trial was administered at the start of the allergy season, Dr Pecanic says that the treatment works best when begun a month before exposure to the allergen or allergy season (for example, spring in temperate countries when pollen starts to spread), as a preventive measure.

Patients need to take the treatment as long as there is risk of exposure to the allergen.

However, those who have perennial or constant allergies can also start the treatment at any time, as then, it will work to reduce the symptoms they are already suffering from. They would need to take a stronger dose of the root extract until their symptoms subside, whereupon they can continue with the maintenance dose until they are no longer at risk of being exposed to the allergen.

Dr Pecanic says that it takes up to about a week in such patients for the treatment to start showing effect. She adds that they can also combine the root extract with their usual pharmacologic treatments for symptom relief.

Although patients will probably have to continue taking the root extract for as long as they have allergies, which is usually lifelong, Dr Pecanic notes: “It is a natural product; it does not have side effects. And it is much better to take such products than drugs with side effects. It is safe.”


The Many Benefits of the Immune-Boosting Root Astragalus

By Christina Sarich

In a world full of toxins from oil spills, the spoils of war, chemtrails, GMO, and numerous other environmental toxins, it behooves us to boost our immunity in as many ways as possible. Reducing stress levels and getting enough sleep are a great way to start, but there are some great natural herbs that can boost our natural immune response, and one of them is the Chinese herb astragalus.

Known as Huang Qi in Chinese medicine, astragalus root has long been used by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners as a general tonic, to strengthen and energize the body, to help resolve colds and upper respiratory infections, and to strengthen and regulate the immune system. It is among the most widely used herbs in Chinese Medicine and has recently garnered the interest of western science for its potential to boost immunity and lessen side effects of chemotherapy.

It stimulates the immune system but also supports numerous internal organs, including the spleen, liver, lungs, respiratory system, circulatory system and urinary system. You could call astragalus an overall body tonic.

According to a University of Maryland study, astragalus is very effective in treating the number one cause of the death in the US, too – heart disease. Additionally, the root may be a sound solution for issues like cancer and diabete. It has antiviral properties, as well as energy boosting qualities. It is also an adaptogen – which means it adapts to support your body in whatever way it needs.

Astragalus has all of these other amazing ways to support our health as well – here are some astragalus benefits:

• Reduces cardiovascular disease
• Supports healing from chronic viral hepatitis
• Antibacterial qualities makes it great for healing the common cold or flu
• Can be used as a topical remedy for healing open sores or wounds
• May help an athlete to utilize oxygen better, thereby helping recovery after workouts and supporting energy levels during them
• Helpful in the treatment of diabetes
• Lessens asthmatic symptoms
• Free radical protection
• Slows aging process
• Helpful in treating kidney disease
• Treats Anemia
• Lessens seasonal allergies

Adults can take just 200-500 mg of Astragalus three times a day to receive the most benefits. It has no known side effects.


Astragalus is an Ancient Plant Root that Boosts Immunity

(The Alternative Daily)

Astragalus, also known as ogi, milk-vetch root and Huang Qi, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Only in recent years has Western medicine been catching on to the many health-promoting characteristics of this root, including its significant ability to support the immune system.

Scientifically known as Astragalus membranaceus, the astragalus plant is a member of the pea family. In China, the root is used as a warming tonic, and is thought to build up protective qi, therefore warding away infections.

Traditional Chinese medicine employs astragalus, alone or in combination with other herbs, for improving energy, stimulating the immune system, treating liver, heart and kidney conditions, battling cancers and viral infections, and promoting longevity.

This root also contains the minerals copper, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc, possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is also considered an adaptogen (helps the body to balance itself) and a diuretic. Other traditional uses for astragalus include the treatments of hypertension, fatigue, asthma and anemia.

A clinical review of three Chinese herbs, one of which was astragalus, was published in 1998 in the journal Alternative Medicine Review. Regarding astragalus, the author of this review, Stephen Sinclair, ND, LAc, writes, “currently, much of the pharmacological research is focused on its immune-stimulating polysaccharides and other active ingredients from the plant, useful in treating immune deficiency conditions.”

Sinclair goes on to mention an in vitro study in which the effects of astragalus were tested against renal carcinoma cells. Results of the experiment showed that the astragalus strengthened a certain class of immune cells (lymphokine-activated killer cells, also known as LAK) ten-fold against the invading cancer cells.

Dr. Oz reports on other recent research that has found that compounds in astragalus can activate an enzyme known as telomerase (hTERT), which works to lengthen telomeres. Telomeres are parts of DNA which work to protect and in essence expand the DNA’s longevity. Telomeres generally shorten as we age, and astragalus compounds were found to lengthen them in lab studies.

While more research needs to be done on astragalus, the ancients have been harnessing its power for generations. It has great promise in immune-system stimulation, and may help the body to fight off colds, flus and other infections. Some research is finding it may even have promise against retroviral conditions such as HIV and AIDS. Some herbalists also recommend it for seasonal allergies.

Astragalus root is sweet-tasting, and can be found in dried root slices, powders and teas, as well as in tinctures and capsules. Always make sure that you choose organic, minimally-processed astragalus from a source that you trust, to avoid chemical processing agents. In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots are sometimes roasted in Chinese Herbal honey, and can also be added to recipes.

Note: Astragalus may interact with certain medications, so make sure you talk to a naturopathic practitioner before starting to use it. It may also have negative effects for those with bleeding disorders, and should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding. A natural health professional can help you determine whether this potent root is right for you, as well as the amount to use for your individual needs.


Astragalus Extract May Strengthen Immune Response to HIV

(POZ)

An extract from a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine may help protect the genes of immune system cells and, as a result, enhance their ability to fight HIV, according to a new study announced by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and published in The Journal of Immunology.

When cells reproduce, their DNA gets capped at the ends by long repeated strands of genes called telomeres. Telomeres protect the genes, much like the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces. Unfortunately, telomeres get shorter every time a cell reproduces, which ultimately causes the cells to become “exhausted” and to stop functioning properly. This occurs naturally as a person ages, but more rapidly in the HIV-fighting CD4 and CD8 cells of people with HIV.

One of the lead researchers in telomeres and HIV, Rita Effros, PhD, and her colleague Steven Russell Fauce, PhD, of the department of pathology at UCLA, had experimented with gene therapy as a way to keep telomeres from shortening. But ultimately the researchers turned to what could potentially be a much less expensive method: an extract from the medicinal plant astragalus.

According to Effros and Fauce, the extract, TAT2, keeps an enzyme called telomerase turned on. CD4s and CD8s can naturally produce telomerase, which helps keep telomeres from shortening, but only for so long. After a cell has divided too many times, the telomerase gene turns off.

In test tube experiments, Effros and Fauce exposed CD4 and CD8 cells collected from HIV-positive patients to TAT2. Not only did the substance slow the shortening of the cells' telomeres, but it also increased the cells' production of proteins known to inhibit HIV replication.

While studies of TAT2 have not yet been conducted in people, the authors believe the strategy “could be useful in treating HIV disease, as well as immunodeficiency and increased susceptibility to other viral infections associated with chronic diseases or aging.”


Astragalus root plant chemical used to fight HIV

(News Medical)

Like other kinds of cells, immune cells lose the ability to divide as they age because a part of their chromosomes known as a telomere becomes progressively shorter with cell division.

As a result, the cell changes in many ways, and its disease fighting ability is compromised.

But a new UCLA AIDS Institute study has found that a chemical from the Astragalus root, frequently used in Chinese herbal therapy, can prevent or slow this progressive telomere shortening, which could make it a key weapon in the fight against HIV.

"This has the potential to be either added to or possibly even replace the HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), which is not tolerated well by some patients and is also costly," said study co-author Rita Effros, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and member of the UCLA AIDS Institute.

The study, to be published in the Nov. 15 print edition of the Journal of Immunology , is available online at http://www.jimmunol.org/cgi/content/full/181/10/7400.

A telomere is a region at the end of every cell chromosome that contains repeated DNA sequences but no genes; telomeres act to protect the ends of the chromosomes and prevent them from fusing together - rather like the plastic tips that keep shoelaces from unraveling. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter, eventually causing the cell to reach a stage called replicative senescence, when it can no longer divide. This seems to indicate that the cell has reached an end stage, but, in fact, the cell has changed into one with new genetic and functional characteristics.

A great deal of cell division must take place within the immune system for the system to function properly. For example, the so-called "killer" CD8 T-cells that help fight infection have unique receptors for particular antigens. When a virus enters the body, the killer T-cells whose receptors recognize that virus create, through division, versions of themselves that fight the invader.

Generally, the telomeres in cells are sufficiently long that they can divide many times without a problem. Moreover, when fighting infections, T-cells can turn on an enzyme called telomerase, which can prevent the telomeres from shortening.


Traditional Chinese Medicine Magic: Astragalus

By Sol Orwell

Astragalus Membranaceus (henceforth, AM) is a weird plant, to speak of it both scientifically and historically. A multipurpose superstar – if the anecdotes can be backed up.

Historically, AM is a component of traditional Chinese and Kampo (Japanese) medicine. What makes it weird is that it is not just one ‘elixir’, but appears to be a component of a very large variety of different mixtures of herbs for many purposes. It is uncommon to find herbs with such widespread usage; usually they are just used for a few purposes and then just shelved for those specific times.

Scientifically, the composition of the herb is weird. It has a steroidal saponin content that is unique to Astragalus (Astragalosides 1 through 7, in which number 4 is sometimes seen as the main component) and the flavonoids, which are present in almost every plant, are also fairly unique to Astragalus. AM has a few flavonoids (formononectin, calycosin) that are not commonly seen in other places.

Basically, AM is not like a normal herb. It is quite different. Is this difference good or bad? That is where the human evidence and animal models come in.

As for the actual intervention research, AM is currently in the phases of validating its panacea state. There has historically been many studies using injections of AM and seeing almost idealistic and perfect effects from it, being able to reduce blood sugar and protect the heart while repairing the kidneys and fighting inflammation and oxidation. AM is still being investigated for whether or not it serves a role in hospital settings to pump into an IV tube for people post-surgery to protect the kidneys.

Do these benefits correlate with oral ingestion of tablets or herbs? We are not sure due to a lack of oral ingestion studies. This is an important distinction, as the main compound noted above (Astragalus IV) has a bioavailability of about 1-2%, meaning that is the amount of compound that goes into your mouth that actually gets absorbed. By taking 10mg Astragalus IV, 0.1-0.2mg will circulate in your blood and the rest will leave in the toilet. This is an unavoidable consequence of oral ingestion, but it means we cannot just take injection studies and assume them true for us.

I’ve personally used some Astragalus in the past few days, as a test of sorts. I am dosing it at 10-15g daily in an attempt to override this poor absorption (if you look at many pills, they are sold at 500mg) and I have read a case study where a kidney inflammatory disorder was outright healed at 15g daily; although not a practical dose (guzzling 20-30 pills a day is no fun), it appears safe.

Taste-wise, AM root extract is slightly sweetened sawdust. Not adverse, but quite “meh” on its own. It goes down easy, and a bit easier in a protein shake or something.

I cannot back up this paragraph with science, but I feel that Astragalus is able to potentiate the effects of stimulants. The amount of times I spontenaously burst into euphoric dances or otherwise just had silly happy moments has outright doubled, but I believe this is due to some other compounds I am ingesting (L-tyrosine, caffeine) and Astragalus is merely increasing the frequency. If taking AM by itself, I am not sure I would have these effects.

The anti-inflammatory effects are real, and my workouts cannot really make me sore anymore. That is a nice side effect. I cannot speak on any health parameter as I cannot measure that.

Some bullet points on the pros and cons of AM supplementation:

Pros:

Aside from a possible adverse interactions with pharmaceuticals (the same thing that St.John’s Wort does), there does not appear to be any other known harm with AM supplementation
If it gets into your blood, it appears to exert panacea-like effects on the parameters for which it is highly studied (cardiovascular and blood health, blood glucose control, inflammation, kidney protection, etc). It is not the most potent in any of these regards, but works beneficially on them all
Rare for a herb, but it doesn’t taste bad (it is a general rule of thumb that herbal supplements, in powder form, taste horrible)

Cons:

Lack of human studies which we can apply to our daily lives and oral ingestion. We can only extrapolate from animal studies and injection studies which, although they provide info, must be taken with a grain of salt
The effective dose appears to be far greater than what is commonly sold as supplements, measured in grams (1-5g at a low dose, up to 15g for high doses)
There are some avenues that have not been explored, such as AM and its effects on testosterone and muscle mass or body fat. Unknown as to whether there are good, bad, or no effects on these parameters.

When more studies come up, they will be added to Examine’s page on astragalus membranaceus as to keep the page reliable. Until then, AM can either be an adventure or good table talk.



AIDS Breakthrough: Astragalus Root Could Replace HIV Drugs

By Sherry Baker (Health Sciences Editor)

(NaturalNews) Could an herbal therapy that's been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to strengthen the immune system hold the key to an effective treatment for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS? A new study by scientists at the UCLA AIDS Institute says that's possible.

The research, set to be published in the Journal of Immunology November 15th (available on-line now at http://www.jimmunol.org/cgi/content/full/181...), concludes astragalus root contains a substance that could make it a powerful weapon in the fight against the HIV virus that causes AIDS. "This has the potential to be either added to or possibly even replace the HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), which is not tolerated well by some patients and is also costly," co-author Rita Effros, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, said in a press statement.

So what specifically appears to make astragalus effective in treating HIV infection? The key finding in the UCLA study shows a substance in the herbal therapy prevents or slows down the progressive shortening of a part of immune system cells called telomeres.

A telomere is a region found at the end of each cell chromosome. It does not contain genes but does contain repeated DNA sequences. As immune cells age, telomeres gets shorter and shorter when the cells divide. Eventually, the cells change, can no longer divide and their ability to fight infections is compromised. This phenomenon is dubbed replicative senescence.

For a strong immune system to function correction, a great deal of cell division has to take place. For example, when a virus invades the body, killer T-cells (known as CD8 T-lymphocytes) have receptors that recognize the invader and begin to create versions of themselves to fight the virus --- through division, they create more and more of an immune system "army" to knock out the virus. In most healthy people, the telomeres in cells are long enough to allow cells to divide many times without a glitch. What's more, T-cells can switch on an enzyme called telomerase to prevent the telomeres from shortening and to boost the ability of the cells to divide.

"The problem is that when we're dealing with a virus that can't be totally eliminated from the body, such as HIV, the T-cells fighting that virus can't keep their telomerase turned on forever. They turn off, and telomeres get shorter and they enter this stage of replicative senescence," Dr. Effros explained in a statement to the press.

Previous studies have shown that injecting the telomerase gene into T-cells can keep the telomeres from shortening so they fight HIV longer than they normally would be able to. However, this complicated and expensive gene therapy isn't a practical way to treat the millions of people infected with the HIV virus. Good news: the current study shows that treatment with a natural substance called TAT2 found in astragalus could be a far better approach.

The reason? Not only did the researchers find that the astragalus-derived TAT2 slowed the shortening of telomeres, but it also boosted the CD8 T-lymphocytes production of soluble factors called chemokines and cytokines. And these substances have been shown in other research to shown to block the replication of the HIV virus.

"The ability to enhance telomerase activity and antiviral functions of CD8 T-lymphocytes suggests that this strategy (using TAT2 from astragalus) could be useful in treating HIV disease, as well as immunodeficiency and increased susceptibility to other viral infections associated with chronic diseases or aging," the researchers wrote in their research paper.

According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site (http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69128.cfm), astragalus has no reported adverse effects. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support and enhance the immune system and for heart disease. Currently, the herb is widely used in China for chronic hepatitis, colds and upper respiratory infections and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer. The remarkable herbal therapy has also shown promise in animal experiments as a way to prevent dementia.



What Is Astragalus, And Will It Get Rid Of My Cold?

By Rebecca Zamon (The Huffington Post Canada)

If there's one thing we've learned through combating season after season of run-down immune systems, it's that we are willing to try almost anything to make our bodies feel better. This year, we turning over to astragalus.

Astragalus is a Chinese herb that's been used for centuries to strengthen the body's internal systems, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and it specifically can help with colds and upper respiratory infections.

In traditional Chinese medicine, herbs are often taken as a group in order to get their best effects, but western medicine has found that it can be just as effective on its own. According to Dr. Weil, the herb is non-toxic and can be used over the long term to increase resistance.

How To Take It

Astragalus is available in a variety of forms at drugstores and natural food stores, coming in drops and tablets — be sure to follow the dosage recommended on the bottle. The root (which can be boiled in tea and soup) may also be available in Chinese grocery stores, and might be combined with other plants like ligusticum and ginseng. Drugs.com suggests taking it with a full glass of water, and drinking increased liquids while using the herb.

When To Take It

Though many people believe they should take astragalus when they feel a cold coming on, much like echinacea, in Chinese medicine, it's actually seen as more important to take it when you're healthy in order to prevent illness, according to NYU Medical Center. Astragalus can be taken daily.

What It Can Help

Besides colds and upper respiratory infections, astragalus has been associated with helping reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and helping with diabetes. Others have associated the herb with having helped things like hyperthyroidism, insomnia and hepatitis, but more research is needed.

What Does It Do?

Although there is no exact research on how astragalus works, it seems to stimulate the immune system, as well as bring in antioxidants that inhibit free radical production that is associated with cellular breakdown, according to Web MD.

Who Can And Can't Use It?

Astragalus is safe for most adults, although as with most medications, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it unless otherwise counselled by their doctor. People who have immune disorders, such as Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis and lupus should check with their doctors, as astragalus can make the immune system more active. The same goes for those taking lithium — be sure to speak with a healthcare practitioner before trying anything new.

Pictures of Atragalus