A strong immune is all we need during autumn and winter. Astragalus is a plant of Chinese medicine that is used both to strengthen body as as also to treat viral infections.
What is astragalus
For many centuries, astragalus has been used for its adjuvant properties. It can be used either alone or in combination with other immune-stimulating herbs such as echinacea and pau d’arco. The active part of the plant is the root. Astragalus is rich in saponins or otherwise known as astragalosides, polysaccharides and flavonoids, such as quersentin and phytosterols, which give it many properties.
Like most of the herbs, astragalus has many properties:
Thanks to its composition in flavonoids, astragalus has strong antioxidant properties. It neutralizes the action of free radicals by protecting cells from oxidative damage.
Boost immune system
Studies suggest that astragalus has the ability to boost the immune system as it affects the response of T-cells. Because of this action, astragalus extract is used to strengthen the body and treat colds and viral infections, especially of the upper respiratory system and bronchitis.
Polysaccharides and saponins have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is the main causative factor of many chronic diseases. Due to its anti-inflammatory action, astragalus is considered as a very potent supplement for treating and preventing the onset of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is considered as an adaptogen herb, which helps to treat stress, physical, mental and emotional.
Cardiovascular Health and Cancer
According to studies, astragalus help prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, as it provides strong antioxidant properties to the vessels. Some studies have shown that astragalus helps reduce serum triglycerides as well as blood pressure. Regarding cancer, astragalus exhibit anti-tumor properties, help to improve the action of anticancer drugs, and it also appears to reduce fatigue caused by chemotherapy.
Studies suggest that astragalus improves glucose serum levels, because polysaccharides, saponins and flavonoids exert a hypoglycemic effect by increasing insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion. It also appears to reduce apoptosis of β-cells οf pancreas, raising questions about the role it can play in diabetes type 1. However, more studies are needed to confirm the above actions.
Forms and dosage
The therapeutic dosage of adults ranges from 50 to 500 mg. Children should not take astragalus supplements. Available forms of astragalus in supplements are capsules and tablets, either standardised or not, in creams for topical application as well as in tinctures.
Contraindications – interactions
Astragalus in small doses has no effects and can be used with relative safety. Do not use in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Taking astragalus is contraindicated in people with autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus), acute infections and people taking diuretics, corticosteroids or hypotension. Do not use for more than 4 weeks.
In Vita4you you can find a great variety of nutritional supplements with astragalus.