Often combined with other herbs to create highly potent formulas, Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus) has been used in Chinese Traditional Medicine to tone and strengthen many systems of the body for thousands of years. It has also been seen as a protector against both mental and physical stress.
Modern-day research on the effect of astragalus is very promising, providing proof to the centuries-old claims of its powerful impact on the body.
The dried root of the plant is the part that is used medicinally, and is generally available as a capsule, tincture, topical ointment, or injections (in a clinical setting only).
Today we’ll go over six of the biggest health benefits of astragalus root that are being proven by research.
1 | Astragalus May Slow Or Prevent Growth of Tumors
One of the most exciting things about astragalus is that recent findings show the capability of the saponins, flavonoids, and polysaccharides (the chemical makeup of the plant) to actually reduce or prevent cancerous tumor growth.
One study of liver cancer in particular showed the ability of astragalus to reverse multidrug resistance, showing it could be used alongside conventional chemotherapy, particularly for those showing chemoresistance in traditional treatment. Another study found that in those with malignant tumors, astragalus injections inhibited further growth of the tumor, while also reducing the chemotherapy’s toxic effect on the patient. Some research shows that astragalus may have particularly helpful tumor-reducing effects in the case of melanoma, and may even contribute to prolonging survival of those with leukemia.
2 | Astragalus Boosts Immune Health in Unique Ways
Astragalus is well-known in chinese medicine as an immune-system powerhouse. One study from Beijing displayed the herb’s ability to control and manage T-1 and T-2 helper cells, which take part in regulating all immune system responses. This effectively shows that astragalus can improve the immune system’s responses from the inside out.
3 | Astragalus is The Top Choice Herb For Heart Health
Chinese herbal tonics for cardiovascular support have long included astragalus root extract, and research is beginning to show why.
One new study showed that astragalus is an effective protector for the heart, because of its ability to reduce the effect of free fatty acids (FFAs) on the healthy functioning of the aorta. Research also suggests that astragalus can prevent the stiffening of the heart muscle (cardiac fibrosis) and protect heart tissues from damage caused by lack of oxygen flow following a heart attack.
4 | Astragalus Provides Clinically Proven Stress Relief (Both Physical & Mental!)
Chronic stress can have damaging long-term effects on learning, memory and cognitive function. Research in rats is now showing that the use of astragalus may provide recovery from both the behavioral and neurochemical impairments caused by stress. While further study in humans is needed to learn more, this is a promising glimpse into the anti-stress capabilities of the herb.
5 | Astragalus is a Natural Cold & Flu Remedy
As with other tonic herbs, astragalus is most effective in preventing illness in healthy individuals when taken regularly before getting ill, rather than once illness is already present. Even in those who are already ill, however, astragalus also has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral capabilities.
6 | Astragalus Regulates and Prevents Diabetes and Kidney Disease
Multiple methods have been used to study astragalus’ effect on kidney health, and the possible prevention or improvement of diabetes in particular.
Research is finding that the chemical makeup of astragalus root has the potential to correct “…the characteristic defects of inadequate insulin production, secretion, and action on target cells” (Agyemang, et al., 2013).
In addition to its activity on diabetic target cells themselves, astragalus may help prevent complications for those already experiencing diabetes. One study found that in those undergoing dialysis, astragalus may also help preserve residual renal function. Another recent study found that in patients with Type 1 Diabetes who used a TCM formula including astragalus root, they were 33% less likely to experience diabetic ketoacidosis (a serious complication of diabetes) than patients who did not use the herb.
With such a wide variety of therapeutic applications, using astragalus root can improve the health of just about everyone. If you want to improve your wellness with tonic herbalism, head over to our online shop now to find the astragalus root supplement that’s right for you today.