Astragalus membranaceus: what you need to know

Astragalus membranaceus is considered to be one of the most important traditional Chinese medicines, and has also been used with various different natural remedies and herbal blends, which includes dang-gui buxue tang.

There has also been lots of research conducted on the cardio-protective, longevity, and anti-inflammatory effects of this plant.

The astragalus membranaceus supplement has also shown signs of reducing the physical and metabolic effects of aging, although there aren’t many studies that showed an increase in the actual lifespan of a person.

The supplement has flavonoid content in it, which is known for producing the cardio-protective effects of the plant. The polysaccharide content in the plant also offers protection for the heart, since it is a known anti-inflammatory agent, which can reduce levels of cholesterol.

The plant supplement has lots of active ingredients, which offer various health benefits. It also has an adaptogen herb that lowers cortisol, which is the stress hormone that fights disease. Astragalus not only strengthens the immune system, but has also shown to enhance cardiovascular health, alleviate chemotherapy symptoms, and even fight tumors.

What is astragalus?

Astragalus has had a long history of being a strong immune system booster, along with a very potent disease fighter. It has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine, and has been used for thousands of years as an adaptogen, which included fighting off disease and stress.

Astragalus is considered to be incredibly beneficial today in fighting against different diseases and illnesses. The flowering plant is also known as, milkvetch root, and huang-qi. It grows between 16 to 36 inches tall, and is found in the northern and eastern regions of China. 

The roots of the plant are harvested after it has grown for 4 year, and are the part of the plant that is used in medicine. There are over 2,000 different species of astragalus, and astragalus membranaceus that are used medicinally [1].

The plant has three different active components, saponins, flavonoids, and polysaccharides, which are also found in different vegetables and plants [2].

Saponins are renowned for their properties of preventing cancer, boosting the immune system, and lowering cholesterol [3].

Flavanoids on the other hand, also improve cell signaling, which include anti-oxidative qualities like controlling free radicals, preventing heart disease, immunodeficiency viruses, and cancer [4].

Polysaccharides are also known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties that provide numerous health benefits [5].

What are the health benefits of astragalus?

Astragalus is hailed in Chinese medicine as the magical herb that protects against physical and mental stresses. It also helps the body fight against numerous ailments, and numerous studies have proved that the active compounds in the plant are beneficial for the health.

There has been numerous successful research studies conducted on the herb, which proved that it is excellent in protecting and strengthening the cells against free radicals and oxidation.

According to scientific research, astragalus offers a lengthy list of health benefits, which include:

  • Supplemental therapy for chronic asthma
  • Treating colds and flu
  • Alleviating symptoms of chemotherapy
  • Healing wounds
  • Anti-oxidative and anti-aging capabilities
  • Regulating and preventing diabetes

We have also discussed some of the major health benefits offered by astragalus, which are as follows:

Inflammation is generally the root of diseases, which can range from heart disease to arthritis. There are numerous studies, which have shown that polysaccharides and saponins in astragalus can reduce inflammation and therefore protect against such conditions.

They also help to heal lesions and wounds, while also proving useful against diabetic kidney diseases [6].

Astragalus actually rose to fame, due to its reputation as an exceptional immune system booster. It has been used in this way in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and studies conducted in Beijing, backed up its claim to control t-helper cells 1 and 2, while also regulating the immune responses of the body [7].

However, further research is required to discover the full capabilities of this herb.

There have been a lot of successful scientific studies that have shown the active components in astragalus to eliminate or decrease growth of tumors.

Astragalus has also shown in chemo-resistance for treating liver cancer that it can reverse multi-drug resistance, along with standard chemotherapy. This was also featured in a study that was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology [8].

Astragalus also helps prevent the buildup of plaque in arteries, and stops the narrowing of vessel walls. The flavonoids protect the inner walls of the vessels, and a study conducted in 2014, which was published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, recommended injecting astragalus for treating viral myocarditis.

The study stated that it showed successful results in treating heart conditions [9]. While other studies showed that it can help lower the level of triglycerides and reduce blood pressure [10].

What are the side effects of astragalus?

Astragalus is considered to be extremely safe, with no studies indicating that there are any serious side effects associated with the herbal plant. There are also possible interactions with other herbal supplements, which is why it is recommended that you should start with small doses so that there aren’t side effects.

Women who are nursing or are pregnant are cautioned not to consume astragalus, since there isn’t any scientific data or research that has determined safe use for the herbal supplement for mother and baby.

People who are suffering from autoimmune diseases are also advised to consult with their doctors before considering using astragalus, since it has the ability to stimulate the immune system. Also, those who have diseases such as immune system conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, shouldn’t take astragalus either.

Summary: Ashwagandha is being hailed as one of the best healing herb extracts in Ayurvedic medicine. It has a lot of great healing qualities, and helps people fight cancer, and those that are suffering from depression.

References

  1. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/astragalus
  2. http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/11/18850/htm
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2928447/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15678717
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22909979
  6. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/astragalus
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22981502
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23146037
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25098261
  10. http://www.journaltcm.com/modules/Journal/contents/stories/133/25.pdf
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