Ayurvedic herbs, such as Astragulas, used to strengthen immunity have been used for thousands of years in this ancient healing medicine. It is still practiced today in those countries with success. They know how to use these herbs correctly and safely. It is your responsibility to become educated on how to use these herbs properly.
The book listed at the bottom of this herb profile is one of the best books on Adaptogen herbs. Many of the Ayurvedic herbs are adaptogen herbs that help your body to work more effectively and efficiently. This herb is generally used in combination with other herbs for greater benefit to the organ or system. To get the healing you need to address your body system and its strengths and weaknesses. Imbalance sets into our weaknesses which leads to illness.
There are over 2000 species of Astragalus but only two of them are used for medicinal purposes. So, it is important that you deal with a responsible company that tests the products they sell to make sure it is the correct species.
This is one of the herbs we use to keep our immune function healthy from flu, Covid, and other seasonal health issues.
This herb can be taken in capsules, pills, extract, or powder mixed into smoothies or oatmeal. The taste of this herb may not be pleasant so be aware of that.
Astragalus membranaceus; Family: Fabaceae;
Common Names: Huang qi (Chinese) , hwang-gi (Korean); milk vetch and kibana-ogi (Japanese)
Taste/Energy: Sweet, slightly warm, and moist
Medicinal Part Used: 4-year mature Root (yellow in color)
Natural Habitat: native to China
Growing Requirements: Full sun; sandy soil; low nitrogen levels
Medicinal Benefits: Adaptogen; antibacterial; antioxidant; antiperspirant; anti-inflammatory; heart tonic; liver protective; tonic for immune system functioning, anti-tumor inhibiting; Chinese studies show promise with combined with ligusticum fruit increased survival time for breast and some cell lung cancers; spleen supporting; used as a spleen tonic for lung qi;
Immune benefits: is used in Ayurvedic medicine to prevent colds, flu, viruses, lung infections, and other illness-producing bugs. Do not use during acute illness because it feeds the illness according to Ayurvedic medicine protocol.
Liver, Kidney, and Spleen Benefits: used in Ayurvedic medicine to protect the liver and kidney combined with milk thistle, Schisandra, and turmeric (liver herbs) or kidney herbs such as cordyceps, nettle seed, and S. miltirrhiza.
Cardio Benefits; Used combined with dan shen, dang gui, and corydalis tuber for angina and mild congestive heart failure.
Cancer: Is used to reduce the side effects from chemo and radiation treatments depending on the cancer treatment medications; consult dr first before using it.
Properties: polysaccharides including astragalans 1, 11, and 111; glucuronic acid, astragalosides1 go v11, flavones and isoflavones
How it is used: herb is usually found in combination with other herbs such as herbs to protect the liver, kidneys, or spleen. Comes in tincture, capsules, or powder.
Medicinal Uses and Indications
The following information was originally quoted directly from Pen State Hershey Medical Center Research. This article is no longer available on their site. The man who published his article is no longer there it seems. I leave it as quoted at that time.
Astragalus has been used for the following in India for hundreds of years and is still used today by both the people and given to patients by their Indian doctors in many countries:
- Adaptogen. Protects the body from stress and disease.
- Anemia. One early study suggested astragalus may improve blood counts in people with aplastic anemia. The study was poorly designed, so more research is needed.
- Colds and influenza. In TCM, astragalus is used as part of an herbal combination to prevent or treat colds, although TCM theory holds that, in some cases, it may make colds worse. Evidence in animal and laboratory tests suggests it may act against viruses like the ones that cause colds.
- Diabetes. Astragalus appears to lower blood sugar. More studies are needed to determine whether it can help treat diabetes.
- Fatigue or lack of appetite from chemotherapy. Some studies suggest astragalus may help reduce side effects from chemotherapy. The studies have not been well designed, however. More research is needed.
- Heart disease. Several studies suggest that astragalus may act as an antioxidant and help treat heart disease. Other studies suggest astragalus may help lower cholesterol levels.
- Hepatitis. A few studies have used a combination of herbs containing astragalus to treat hepatitis. Results have been mixed.
- Kidney disease. Preliminary research suggests astragalus may help protect the kidneys and may help treat kidney disease. More studies are needed.
- Seasonal allergies. One study found that astragalus may help reduce symptoms in people who have allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
- Cancer. Preliminary studies suggest astragalus may have anti-tumor effects, specifically against melanoma and leukemia. ” Again this originally came from a published paper at PenState but is no longer available.
Moderate Interaction-Consult your doctor if using medications listed below; consult with your doctors if taking medications before you go on herbs. Herbs can potentate or decrease the effectiveness of medications.
Important Note to Read!
Herbs and drugs should not be taken without the supervision of your doctor. If you do take both, do not take them at the same time. There should be at least three hours between taking herbs and medications. Herbs can reduce the potency of your medication or increase the potency of medication. Over time, it may lower your need for the medication or at least the dosage required. There is no research into how herbs will react to your medication or to more than one medication. Combing the two could increase side effects.
Medications that conflict with this herb are below:
Any herbs you take could potentially react to any medication you are taking. These are the known interactions below:
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) interacts with ASTRAGALUS
- Lithium interacts with ASTRAGALUS
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interact with ASTRAGALUS ( Azathioprine which is Imuran; basiliximab which is Simulect; cyclosporine which is Neoral and Sandimmune; daclizumba or Zenapax; muromonab-CD3; mycophenolate or CellCept; prednisone; corticosteroids; and similar medicines; these medicines decrease immune system functioning. Astragalus increases immune function.
Herbs and drugs should not be taken without the supervision of your doctor. It is always advised to clear the taking of herbs with your doctor. I would suggest a holistic doctor or integrated medicine doctor.
Please refer to Adaptogens; Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Wiston and Steven Maimes which gives specific dosages for many health issues and animals. The authors go into great detail on doses and usage with children and pets. The book is well worth the cost. This is the main book I use to study adaptogen herbs with the most specific detail on how to use them for different health issues. If you plan on using adaptogen herbs, you need to educate yourself and do it correctly.
I have listed below another book that is also good for dosage. Going to a holistic doctor should also be considered for your particular health issue. The books below are found on Amazon, and I do get a small commission from your order. The Penn State links are educational only in this article.
Read Dr. Axes’ article on this herb here ( This is an educational link only)
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Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin signing off
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