Astragalus Roots: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage
Do you fall sick too often and are you concerned about improving your immunity? Well! Then you must be made aware about one of the most potential immune-building plants and that is Astragalus. Astragalus or the Astragalus root is known to be very effective in fighting diseases, improving immune system's function and in lowering cortisol or stress hormone. However, the benefits of Astragalus roots are not limited only to this. There are a lot of benefits which we have discussed in the following arrays of the article along with the side effects and appropriate dosage of Astragalus root.
Believe it or not, Astragalus root is one of the most powerful medicinal plant which is not only known for pumping up your immune system, but also used in alleviating symptoms of chemotherapy, and improving cardiovascular health and many more. This root actually adds wellness to your health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus roods has been used as an adaptogen for several years; which means it aids in fighting stress and disease.
Astragalus roots are harvested from 4-year old plants and they are the only part of the plant that is medicinally used since ages. It must also be mentioned that only 2 out of over 2000 species of Astragalus; namely Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus, are used medicinally.
Primarily there are three components present in the Astragalus root that helps in improving human health. These components are Saponins, Flavonoids and Polysaccharides; which are all active compounds present in the plant.
- Saponins are known for their wonderful ability to lower cholesterol, improve the immune system function and prevent cancer.
- Flavonoids provide tremendous health benefits via cell signaling. They actually show antioxidative properties, control and scavenge of free radicals and can also help prevent heart diseases, cancer and immunodeficiency viruses.
- Polysaccharides present in Astragalus are known to have antimicrobial properties along with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits of Astragalus Root
Astragalus Roots Acts As An Anti-Inflammatory:
Most diseases are caused by inflammation, be it arthritis or heart disease, it is often the culprit of the damage to the body. Many studies show that Saponins and Polysaccharides present in astragalus root is able to reduce inflammatory response in connection to a lot of illnesses and conditions; starting from healing of wounds and lesions to reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.
Benefits of Astragalus Roots in Enhancing the Immune System:
One of the most powerful health benefits of Astragalus root is that it aids in enhancing the body's immune system. It is been used for this since many years. A study out of Beijing displayed the ability of astragalus root to control t-helper cells 1 and t-helper cells 2, essentially regulating the immune responses of the body.
Astragalus Roots are Beneficial in Slowing Down or Preventing Growth of Tumors:
One more benefit of Astragalus root is that it aids in preventing or slowing down the growth of tumors. There have been several screening that have shown the success of Astragalus root components like saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides in reducing or eliminating tumors. In some instances of chemoresistance treating liver cancer, astragalus root has also shown potential in reversing multidrug resistance and also as an addition to conventional chemotherapy. This was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.
Benefits of Astragalus Roots in Regulating and Preventing Diabetes and Its Related Illness:
Astragalus root is also studied progressively as an antidiabetic. There have been many studies which show its ability to relieve insulin resistance and also treat diabetic condition naturally. Saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides are all known to be very effective in treating and regulating Type 1 as well as Type 2 diabetes. They are able to increase insulin sensitivity, protect pancreatic beta cells and also act as anti inflammatories in areas related to symptoms of diabetes.
Kidney disease is also most common problem in diabetic patients. Astragalus root is known to treat kidney diseases since many years. Most recent studies have also shown that astragalus root can slow the progress of kidney issues in diabetic patients and protect their renal system.
Cardiovascular System is Protected by Astragalus Roots:
The Astragalus roots also offers benefits to the cardiovascular system. The flavonoids found in the Astragalus root are antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and narrowing of vessel walls by safeguarding the inner wall of the vessel. One study during 2014 that was published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine suggests that injecting Astragalus, combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis, makes the treatment more successful in heart conditions.
There are also other studies that have shown that Astragalus root has an ability to reduce blood pressure and level of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides actually put individuals at risk for many forms of heart diseases like strike, heart attack and hardening of artery walls.
During a heart attack, heart muscles get damaged when there is a lack of supply of blood and oxygen. At that time, calcium overload creates secondary damage. Astragalus root can actually prevent additional damage of heart muscles by regulating calcium homeostatis in the heart.
Astragalus Roots Are Beneficial For Their Antioxidative Properties And Anti-Ageing Properties:
The main component in disease and ageing is oxidation becayse of free radical damage. Many elements present in Astragalus root fight free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress. The polysaccharides found in Astragalus root have positive effects on the immune system and also in improvement of the function of the brain; both of which can aid in increasing life span.
Symptoms Of Chemotherapy Is Alleviated By Astragalus Roots:
Astragalus root has also been shown to benefit patients receiving chemotherapy for recovering more quickly and extend their life spans. In cases of severe symptoms of chemotherapy such as nausea, bone marrow suppression, vomiting, diarrhea etc; Astragalus root has been given intravenously and in combination with other Chinese herbal mixtures. Early research has suggested the Astragalus root's ability to reduce these symptoms and increase the efficacy of the chemotherapy treatments.
We know that Astragalus roots have anti-inflammatory qualities. So, this is used for treating wounds. Radix Astragali, or dried root of Astragalus, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the regeneration of injured tissues and organs.
In one study during 2012 done by the Institute of Pharmaceutics at Zhejiang University, it was found that wounds treated with Astragaloside IV or an active ingredient in dried Astragalus roots, showed recovery rates increase two to three fold over 48-49 hours. Thus, it was concluded that Astragalus is a promising natural product for anti-scarring and healing in wounds.
Astralagus Roots Also Provides Supplemental Therapy For Chronic Asthma:
Astragalus root has been used to treat chronic Asthma and determined to be a successful supplemental therapy and Asthma natural remedy. As per studies, Hypersensitivity in airways reduced substantially and mucus production and inflammation were reduced after being treated with Astragalus root. By preventing or reducing Asthma attacks, individuals could be relieved of Chronic Asthma problems.
Benefits of Astragalus Roots in Treating Colds and Flu:
One more benefits of Astragalus roots are its antiviral capabilities which have long been used for treating common colds and flu. The Astragalus root is commonly combined with other herbs such as ginseng, licorice and Angelica. As with many other natural cold remedies; Astragalus root seems to work better when used by healthy individuals regularly so as to prevent the illness before it happens. It is said that a regimen of Astragalus root before the colder months in winter, prevent or reduce the number of cold and upper respiratory illness individuals will have throughout the winter season.
Other Benefits Of Astragalus Roots:
Some of other benefits of Astragalus root include the following.
- Astragalus root prevents collagen degradation.
- Astragalus root inhibit herpes simplex virus 1
- Promote the growth and function of new blood vessels in newborns
- It treats inflammation in eczema
- Astragalus root prevents the replication of viruses such as Coxsackie B-3, or a virus that triggers illness ranging from mild stomach problems to major heart complications
- Astragalus root treat hepatitis by inhibiting hepatitis B virus cells in the liver
- It treats HIV by protecting t-helper cells fight the virus for much longer time.
- It is used as a mild diuretic.
Side Effects of Astragalus Roots & its Safety Precaution
Usually Astragalus root is safe to use; however there may be some side effects, especially there may be possible interactions with other herbal supplements. So, it is essential to begin with smaller doses to prevent side effects. Moreover, there are no sufficient research to determine the safety use of astragalus for baby and mother, when taken by the pregnant women. So, it is advised that pregnant women must avoid using this.
Apart from this, individuals with Autoimmune disease must speak with their doctors before beginning Astragalus root as it may stimulate the immune system.
Individuals with Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA and other immune system conditions could be especially sensitive to Astragalus root.
Side Effects of Astragalus Root:
Some of the drug Interactions which may occur with Astragalus includes the following.
- Cyclophosphamide( Cytoxan, Neosar): This drug is used for suppressing the immune system. Using Astragalus root will reduce the effectiveness of this drug.
- Immunosuppressants: They are the drugs that suppress the immune system which are commonly used to prevent rejection in transplant patients and accept the new tissue or organ. However as Astragalus have immune system boosting capabilities, it reduces the effectiveness of these drugs. Some of these drugs include Azathioprine, Basiliximab, Daclizumab, Corticosterodis, Prednisone, Tacrolimus, Mycophenolate etc.
- Lithium: Astragalus root can affect how the body reduces levels of lithium because of its diuretic qualities. Taking Astragalus with lithium can cause unsafe levels of lithium in the body. Make sure you talk with a medical professional before combining Astragalus with lithium, as a change in dosage might be required.
Dosage of Astragalus Roots
The exact dose of Astragalus depends on several factors like the user's age, health and many other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information for determining an appropriate range of doses of Astragalus root. Make a note that natural products are not always necessarily safe and appropriate dosage is highly important. Be very sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and also consult your physician or pharmacist before using the Astragalus root.
How to Use Astragalus Roots?
There are a lot of ways to use Astragalus root medicinally. Astragalus is currently used as an addition to conventional treatments and should not be used as a replacement for medication, unless your doctor suggests for it.
As per the University of Maryland and Medical Center, Astragalus is available at most Chinese markets or health food stores in form of capsule and tablets, tincture or liquid alcohol extract, injectible forms for use in clinical and hospital setting in Asian countries. It is also available in dried form for being used in tea and topically for the skin.