Also called Huáng Qí, astragalus is a flowering Chinese plant that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. With properties that can help boost your immune system, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, and even help ease the side-effects of chemotherapy, astragalus is a perfect herb to add to your supplement regimen.
What is Astragalus?
Astragalus is a green plant with pink, purple, or sometimes yellow flowers that grows in parts of China, Mongolia, and Korea. Considered one of the “50 fundamental herbs” of Chinese medicine, its usage goes back hundreds of year.
What Are The Benefits of Astragalus
- May help your immune system
- Lowers blood sugar
- Reduces stress & helps sleep
- Good for heart health
- May help with side-effects from chemotherapy
May Help Boost Your Immune System
Astragalus appears to help boost the production of white blood cells, which can help your immune system fight off illness and infection. Human studies are limited, but astragalus has been shown to help kill viruses, including the common cold and chronic hepatitis. In animal research, it has been shown to help kill bacterial infections and viruses.
Lowers Blood Sugar
In Chinese medicine, astragalus is frequently used in people with diabetes to help lower high blood sugar. Studies have shown that taking between 40-60 grams of astragalus daily can help people with type 2 diabetes regulate their insulin levels. In animal studies, astragalus has been shown to not only help with blood sugar, but can also help with weight loss.
Reduces Stress & Helps Sleep
As an adaptogen, astragalus is great for helping the body combat stress, both emotional and physical. Astragalus can help fight off fatigue, give the brain clarity, and even help give relief to those suffering from depression and anxiety. Because it can help relieve your body of stress, it can also help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Good For Heart Health
Astragalus has been shown to help patients with a variety of heart issues. For instance, one study showed that people with heart failure who took astragalus had greater improvement in their condition than those who did not. While studies have shown conflicting results, there is some early research that shows that astragalus may be beneficial to those with myocarditis.
May Help With Side-Effects of Chemotherapy
Astragalus has been shown to help alleviate common side-effects of chemotherapy, like nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, when it is given via IV. However, receiving astragalus via IV must be done by a medical professional, and there appear to be no studies as to how astragalus impacts chemo side-effects when taken orally.
Other Health-Related Benefits
- Helps with fatigue
- Good for kidney health
- Anti-aging properties
- Helps with seasonal allergies
- Potential anti-cancer properties
How Do I Take Astragalus & What Should I Expect?
Astragalus can be taken in a powder, root, or in a pill. It also can be given via IV by a medical professional. Taking astragalus orally only has been shown to have minor side-effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, a rash, runny nose, or itching. However, taking astragalus via IV can have much more serious side-effects, including an irregular heartbeat.
Before Taking Astragalus
Talk to your doctor before starting any supplement or vitamin plan to make sure it’s a healthy choice for you. In particular, if any of the following apply to you:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough research has been done to show if astragalus is safe on unborn children or while breastfeeding.
- Have an autoimmune disease or on immunosuppressant medication: Since astragalus can impact your immune system, it’s important to speak to a medical professional if you have an autoimmune disorder.
- Have diabetes or blood pressure issues: Since astragalus can affect your blood sugar and pressure, talk to a doctor before adding it to your daily supplements.
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