It is known by many names such as huang qi in Chinese, meaning yellow leader, referring to the colour of the roots. In Japanese it is known as ogi and in Korean, hwanggi. Another common name is milk vetch.
Benefits of Astragalus Root
Astragalus is rich in iron, zinc, folic acid, and choline. Its roots contain polysaccharides, triterpenoids, isoflavones, glycosides, malonates, and saponins. Astragalus root is a potent adaptogen, which can help the body deal with emotional, mental, and physical stress, as well as having a major health benefits for the body. Three important components of astragalus are flavonoids, polysaccharides, and saponins. Flavonoids have antioxidant qualities that scavenge free radicals and help to prevent numerous issues such as cancer, heart disease, and immunodeficiency viruses.
Anemia: Astragalus helps to strengthen blood vessels and improve the body’s efficiency in delivering oxygen throughout the body.
Anti-Aging: Telomere length in DNA is associated with aging, with shorter telomeres indicating damaged, older cells. TAT2 increases the activity and production of telomerase, an enzyme that facilitates the repair of telomeres on DNA.
Anti-Inflammatory: The saponins and polysaccharides in astragalus reduce inflammatory response in a wide range of illnesses.
Asthma: Traditionally used to prevent asthma attacks in chronic asthma patients.
Colds and Flu: Rich with antioxidants to fight free radical damage and stimulate the immune system.
Cancer: Astragalus may have anti-tumour effects, specifically against melanoma and leukemia, as well as gastric cancer cell growth.
Chemotherapy Side Effects Relief: Patients receiving chemo may recover more quickly and experience relief from symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when taking astragalus.
Cholesterol: Studies show that astragalus is promising in its ability to lower cholesterol levels and if proven in human trials, would be a great alternative to statins.
Diabetes: Lowers blood sugar.
Insomnia: Because astragalus promotes your overall health and hormonal balance, consuming astragalus on a consistent basis can help your body get back into a normal circadian rhythm.
Immune System Booster: This study shows astragalus’ ability to regulate immune responses.
Kidney Disease: Preliminary research suggests astragalus may help protect the kidneys and may help treat kidney disease.
Liver Cancer: This study shares the success of astragalus in decreasing or destroying cancer tumours, especially in instances of chemo resistance.
Seasonal Allergies: Astragalus may help reduce symptoms in people who have allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
Toxin Removal: Astragalus offers support for liver activity and can also help to reduce the effects of toxin overload in the liver.
Wound Healing: This 2012 study shares exciting news about increased recovery rates for healing wounds and prevention of scarring.
Who Shouldn’t Use Astragalus?
While this may be beneficial for people with weak immune systems, it’s not a good choice for people who have an autoimmune disease, as it can exacerbate your symptoms. Unless approved by a physician, people with multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, or systemic lupus erythematosus shouldn’t use astragalus.
People who have had transplant surgery should not use astragalus, because it counteracts with the drug (cyclophosphamide), which is responsible for minimizing the risk of organ rejection. Astragalus may interfere with the effectiveness of corticosteroid medications and other drugs that suppress the immune system.
Pregnant and nursing mothers should also discuss this with their healthcare provider.
Astragalus root is available in many forms, such as dried root strips, tinctures, powders, capsules, and tablets. It can be taken as a tea, strips can be added to soups, and powders can be added to many recipes.