Astragalus has been studied and continues to be studied for the following actions and benefits it possesses among others:
1. Astragalus is a powerful immunostimulant showing the ability to control T-helper cells 1 and 2 while increasing macrophage, immunoglobulin and natural killer cell activity, production and function. (1) This property is the main reason Astragalus can be viewed as an excellent broad-spectrum antimicrobial herb with an emphasis on viruses and bacteria. It is the number one herb used in China for prevention and treatment of colds, the flu, and respiratory illnesses.
2. Acts as a potent anti-inflammatory due to its high concentration of saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides.
3. It has supreme cardiovascular protective properties by lowering arterial plaque, regulating heart calcium levels, lowering blood pressure, and lowering triglyceride levels. In 2014, the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine stated that combining Astragalus with conventional methods increased the success of viral myocarditis treatment. Along with Dan Shen, Astragalus showed superior in the treatment of angina vs. conventional drugs. (2)
4. Astragalus is being used extensively for the treatment of diabetes due to its ability to reverse insulin resistance and protect pancreatic beta cells. The herb is being researched and used for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. (3)
5. Fibromyalgia and Adrenal/chronic fatigue are two conditions that Astragalus has showed promising results for due to its adaptogenic properties and ability to “invigorate vital energy” by strengthening the body’s resistance and constitution according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
6. The herb has been used for thousands of years for longevity, which has now been attributed to Astragaloside IV and Cycloastragenol, two of the plants powerful saponins. These constituents activate telomerase enzymes leading to reversal of cellular damage and the slowing of aging and degenerative diseases. (4)
7. It is extremely helpful for male hormones and has been scientifically shown to increase male sperm motility, thus helping with male infertility.
8. Used in treatment of chronic asthma, Astragalus has been shown in studies to decrease airway hypersensitivity and reduce mucus production. (5)
9. Potent kidney protector shown to reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (6) and in one study preserved residual renal function in dialysis patients. People with IgA nephropathy have been shown to benefit from supplementing Astragalus.
10. Anticancer properties have been demonstrated in vitro for gastric, colon, ovarian and hepatic cancers. (10)(11)(12)(13) Furthermore, Astragalus is very affective for reducing the toxicity and side effects of chemotherapy and has been shown to enhance platinum-based chemotherapy. (8)
11. It can help methylation issues due to its folic acid, betaine and choline content.
12. Very effective in normalizing GTP in people with viral hepatitis with over 70% success rate, showing potent liver protective properties (9). The herb also inhibits herpes simplex virus 1 (7).
In conclusion, Astragalus is a powerful herb that should be considered in any immune system related case. These consist of but are not limited to chronic infection, fibromyalgia and adrenal/chronic fatigue. The herb is best used for longer periods of time due to its potent ability to build immune system and constitutional strength over time and help prevent infections in the first place. For this reason, we evaluate it on every patient.
Do not take this supplement if pregnant or nursing. Astragalus is contraindicated for patients on lithium and or immunosuppressant drugs.
Dosage : 1 capsule 3 times daily
5. Planta Medica 77(4):328-33 · October 2010
9. Han DW, Xu Rl, Yeoung SCS: Abst Chin Med 2(1):105-134, 1988
10. Auyeung KK, Woo PK, Law PC, et al. Astragalus saponins modulate cell invasiveness and angiogenesis in human gastric adenocarcinoma cells. J Ethnopharmacol. Jun 1 2012;141(2):635-641.
11. Tin MM, Cho CH, Chan K, et al. Astragalus saponins induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in human colon cancer cells and tumor xenograft. Carcinogenesis. Jun 2007;28(6):1347-1355.
12. Huang WH, Liao WR, Sun RX. Astragalus polysaccharide induces the apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells by decreasing the expression of Notch1. Int J Mol Med. Aug 2016;38(2):551-557.
13. Zhang J, Liu L, Wang J, Ren B, Zhang L, Li W. Formononetin, an isoflavone from Astragalus membranaceus inhibits proliferation and metastasis of ovarian cancer cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jul 15;221:91-99.