Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) Health Benefits
Astragalus membranaceus is also called Huang Qi, Hanggi, Milk Vetch and Bei Qi. Astragalus is a native plant in Asia. Astragalus has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for more than 2000 years and it is being borne out as a helpful herb by scientific research. It is considered to be completely safe and is commonly used for treating chronic infection. Its name in Chinese means “yellow leader” because it has a yellow root and is a very important herb used in Chinese medicine. The root is the viable part of the herb. The roots are boiled in water before being removed. It is primarily used as an energy tonic and for night sweats and diarrhea. This article covers the various health benefits of Astragalus.
Strengthens Immune System
Astragalus improves the immune system and is considered an adaptogen, having the ability to help the body fight against physical stress. The root can be used to treat chronic infection, chronic fatigue syndrome, weakness, and exhaustion. Bacterial and Viral infections can be prevented by regular intake of Astragalus membranaceus and it seems to be effective against generalized debility.
Astragalus controls spontaneous or excessive sweating in people who sweat too much. It also alleviates water retention. This property is due to its richness in flavonoids.
Managing Cancer Related Effects
Astragalus is not directly helpful in managing cancer but it does support the immune system in fighting cancer. It gives a sense of wellbeing and makes the cancer patient feel better. It is taken along with chemotherapy or as a preventative against cancer. It is known to reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It may need to be ingested over the long haul in order to be completely effective against chemotherapy.
Helps Heart Disease
Astragalus is used to treat heart disease. It can have a diuretic effect on the bloodstream so that the heart doesn’t have to work very hard. It makes the blood vessels of the body relax. This has been found to be true in animal studies but has not yet been proved in human studies.
Side Effects and Safety Issues
People who have autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Psoriasis and Crohn’s disease (among others) should not take Astragalus unless specified by a qualified herbal expert. This is because the herbal remedy enhances the immune system which needs to be somewhat suppressed in the above conditions. It’s not proved whether Astragalus is safe for pregnant women.
Astragalus can interfere with corticosteroid medications, including inhaled corticosteroids taken for asthma or nasal allergies and oral prednisone, taken for a variety of conditions.