When it comes to natural remedies, it seems there is always an answer to the health problems we experience. Astragalus is a major one of those answers. This Chinese herb is thought to protect DNA, increase longevity, and enhance your immune system. It is also considered an adaptogen, a substance that can help your body resist and balance itself from the debilitating effects of stress.
Astragalus As an Adaptogenic Herb
Astragalus has been a foundational herb in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. Its benefits make the herb one of the important "Qi tonifying" adaptogenic herbs from the Chinese materia medica. Adaptogens were initially defined as substances that enhance the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress, a physiological condition that is linked with various disorders of the neuroendocrine-immune system. Studies on animals and isolated neuronal cells have revealed that adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and central nervous system stimulating activity. In addition, a number of clinical trials demonstrate that adaptogens exert an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity against a background of stress and fatigue, particularly in tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhanced attention.
Astragalus as an Immunostimulant
Current research on astragalus use focuses on its benefits as an immunostimulant, or a substance that activates or speeds up the immune system As such, it is used in the treatment of chronic viral infections, hepatitis, edema, common cold, and flu. Astragalus increases the body's response to viral infection and works synergistically with interferon. Modern research shows that a simple preparation of astragalus as a whole herb stimulates the immune system in several ways. It increases the number of stem cells in bone marrow and encourages their maturity into active white blood cells. It appears to help signal white blood cells to migrate to places they are needed to fight infection. It stimulates the "germ-eating" white blood cells known as macrophages, activates T-cells and natural killer (NIK) cells, and increases the production of immunoglobulins. This is why you may not be surprised to find it as an ingredient in Jon Barron’s Immunify formula.
Astragalus Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, and Antioxidant Properties
Astragalus benefits come from its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and its antiviral benefits suggest that it is helpful in preventing colds above and beyond its immune boosting properties. It is sometimes used topically to treat wounds (something Jon Barron keeps pointing out when talking about his Immunify formula). It also contains antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radicals. As an antioxidant, it may help people with severe forms of heart disease by relieving symptoms, lowering cholesterol levels, and improving heart function. Usually taken with a variety of other herbs, astragalus eases chronic respiratory infections, aids in recovery from both cancer and the side effects of cancer therapy, and enhances health in HIV.
More Natural Health Benefits of Astragalus
In addition to protecting and supporting the immune system, astragalus has also been used for upper respiratory infections, lowering blood pressure, treating diabetes, wound care and protecting the liver. It also appears to be useful in dealing with cancer, and in increasing stamina. This herb has been used to...
- protect against physical, mental, or emotional stress
- help with angina, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarct
- aid in the treatment of hepatitis
- increase metabolism and energy
- boost stamina
- promote healing
- reduce post-stroke damage
- ease symptoms of hay fever
- ease effects of heart failure
- treat fatigue
- subdue ulcers
- cause your body to produce more telomeres
- improve the rate of replication of macrophages
- aid in blood sugar control
How to Take Astragalus
Astragalus is available in a variety of forms including tinctures, capsules, and tablets, dried and in topical form. It is also used in conjunction with other medicinal treatments. Dried slices of root can also be added to soups or other foods for a nutritional boost.
Read on for a more in-depth look at creating and strengthening a healthy immune system.