Astragalus has long been used within traditional Chinese medicine, offering benefits for thousands of years. Throughout history, Astragalus was often combined with other herbs in order to strengthen the body to fight disease. Astragalus is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the human body battle various forms of stress, including emotional, mental, and physical.
This herb is known to support immune function while protecting against conditions like diabetes and cancer. With its antioxidant content, Astragalus is able to protect cells against harmful damage. Astragalus is also an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and much more. It’s the perfect supplement to support immune function, further protecting your long-term health.
Astragalus is a perennial plant that grows to be up to 36 inches in height. This plant is native to northern and eastern areas of China but is also found in Korea and Mongolia. It grows hairy stems and plenty of leaflets, however, the medicinal properties are taken from the roots. It’s generally harvested at around four years of age, offering the long list of benefits below.
Astragalus appears to work by stimulating the immune system, offering a wide range of health benefits. It has antioxidant effects against free radicals and has been linked to a wide range of ailments, offering both preventative and treatment-focused effects.
How Does Astragalus Work?
There’s a special chemical within Astragalus that helps slow down the again process within our cells. Recent research has shown that this special chemical can turn on an enzyme known as telomerase (hTERT). This enzyme acts to maintain and extend the life of your DNA.
Telomerase is generally turned off in adult cells, except within immune cells, egg and sperm cells, and in malignant cells, such as those found within cancer. Since this enzyme helps protect your DNA from becoming damaged, it supports protective measures against conditions relating to the aging process, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
The Many Uses of Astragalus
Astragalus can be used to protect you against anything from high blood pressure to respiratory infections and everything in between. It’s also been said that Astragalus stimulates the liver, spleen, lungs, urinary system, and helps treat conditions like asthma.
Within the United States, Astragalus has been researched to be used as a possible treatment for those who suffer from a weakened immune system due to radiation or chemotherapy. In these related studies, Astragalus supplements have been shown to aid in a faster recovery, allowing patients to live longer.
Here are some of the other key uses from Astragalus in order to summarize some of its main benefits:
- Adaptogen: As mentioned, this helps to support stress levels in all forms, protecting the body from disease.
- Anemia: Astragalus may improve blood counts in those that suffer from aplastic anemia.
- Colds: Astragalus is used an herbal combination to reduce the risk of colds and influenza. Based on animal and laboratory testing, it’s believed that Astragalus acts against viruses that cause colds. It’s also believed to work against seasonal allergies, such as hay fever.
- Diabetes: Astragalus can help lower blood sugar, reducing symptoms and complications associated with diabetes.
- Heart Disease: Astragalus acts as an antioxidant, helping to treat symptoms of heart disease. In some studies, it’s been suggested that Astragalus reduces bad cholesterol levels.
- Cancer: It’s been suggested that Astragalus has anti-tumor effects, especially regarding leukemia and melanoma. It’s also used to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, mainly fatigue and lack of appetite.
Overall, Astragalus is known as an immune system restorative. Basically, it helps shield us from falling ill and developing more severe conditions and diseases. Due to components such as polysaccharide glucans and astragalus heteroglycans, they help to fight infection and boost T-cells. This helps to further regulate the thymus gland and stimulate the production of white blood cells.
Astragalus For Athletes
Not only is this supplement great for your health, but it can also improve fitness levels for those training. It’s known to affect the promotion of muscle development and general fitness regarding the body, legs, and arms. It has been shown to be particularly effective for athletic training, as well as strenuous physical activity.
For those involved in competitive sports, it’s often used in an herbal formula with ginseng. This is believed to enhance endurance, improving overall athletic capacity. When taken with superfoods like Cordyceps, it’s said to increase stamina, concentration, and energy levels.
Side Effects of Astragalus
When taken at recommended doses, there are no serious side effects of Astragalus. Evidence has suggested that Astragalus may be safe for pregnant women, however, you should speak to your doctor regarding your personal health. In most cases, it’s best to avoid supplementation during this essential time within your baby’s development.
The same is true for individuals who suffer from autoimmune diseases. It’s also possible to experience interactions regarding lithium and drugs that suppress the immune system. If you have an autoimmune condition, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, or taking cyclophosphamide or corticosteroids, do not take this supplement. Astragalus makes it harder from the body to eliminate lithium, so dangerous levels could accumulate.