Astragalus – Take it: All season long
This Chinese root is shown to stimulate the white blood cells that fight infection, says Andrew Weil, MD. A study published found that astragalus appears to boost immunity in mice. And a pilot study suggests that the herb may have similar effects in people. However, keep in mind that astragalus may take 6 to 8 weeks to reach its full effect.
According to continuing research, astragalus health benefits include:
Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is at the root of most diseases. From arthritis to heart disease, it’s often the culprit of the damage. Many studies show that thanks to its saponins and polysaccharides, astragalus can reduce inflammatory response in connection to a number of illnesses and conditions, from helping to heal wounds and lesions to reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease. (6)
Boosts the Immune System
In terms of reputation, boosting the immune system is astragalus’ claim to fame. It’s been used in this capacity for thousands of years. A study out of Beijing displayed its ability to control t-helper cells 1 and 2, essentially regulating the body’s immune responses. (7) Although the full extent of the herb’s capabilities is yet to be determined, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that astragalus, used as an adjunct therapy, will someday be used to cure many diseases.
Slows or Prevents the Growth of Tumors
Many recent screenings have shown the success of Astragalus saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides in decreasing or eliminating tumors. In instances of chemoresistance treating liver cancer, astragalus has shown potential in reversing multidrug resistance and as an addition to conventional chemotherapy, according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. (8)
Protects the Cardiovascular System
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. In addition, a study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine suggests an 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. (9)
Reduce Blood Pressure and Level of Triglycerides
Other studies have shown its ability to reduce blood pressure and level of triglycerides. (10) High levels of triglycerides put individuals at risk for many forms of heart disease, such as stroke, heart attack and hardening of artery walls.
Regulates Calcium Homeostasis in the Heart
During a heart attack, heart muscle damage occurs when there is a lack of blood supply and oxygen. At that time, calcium overload creates secondary damage. Astragalus can prevent additional heart muscle damage by regulating calcium homeostasis in the heart.