Nutrition Market

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus is an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It comes from a plant called Astragalus membranaceus, which is a small, flowering plant native to northern China.

The root of the astragalus plant is the main part used medicinally. It is usually dried and sliced to be made into teas, capsules, extracts, or topical creams and oils.

What Are the Benefits of Astragalus?

Astragalus has been studied for a wide array of health benefits, including:

May Help Support Immunity

One of the key uses of astragalus in Chinese medicine has been to help support immunity. Studies have shown astragalus has antiviral effects and can stimulate the immune system. It appears to increase the production of white blood cells, which fight infections and foreign pathogens.

In supplements, astragalus may be beneficial for preventing colds and upper respiratory infections and helping you recover faster when unwell.

Contains Antioxidants

Astragalus contains antioxidant compounds called polysaccharides and flavonoids. These antioxidants help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body’s cells.

Research indicates astragalus’ antioxidants can help protect the body from damage linked to autoimmune disorders, neurological disease, heart conditions, and certain cancers.

Anti-Aging Effects

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects of astragalus also make it popular in anti-aging skincare products. Applied topically, astragalus creams may help reduce signs of sun damage, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

There is also evidence that astragalus supplements can help protect telomeres – the protective caps at the end of DNA strands that shorten with age. This may support longevity and healthier aging.

May Support Heart Function

Studies show astragalus supplements may help improve heart function in various ways. Its antioxidants can prevent plaque buildup in arteries and lower blood pressure. One of its compounds called astragaloside IV appears to help regulate cholesterol levels.

Together, these benefits can promote better cardiovascular health and circulation.

Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Astragalus may also help balance blood sugar levels. Some of its compounds appear to support healthy glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

In diabetics and pre-diabetics, astragalus supplements could help maintain normal blood sugar variation after meals. But more research is still needed in this area.

Is Astragalus Safe?

For most healthy adults, astragalus is very safe when consumed orally in typical supplement dosages or drunk as a tea. Side effects are rare.

However, the safety is not as clear when astragalus is injected directly as part of chemotherapy protocols. Injected astragalus has been linked to instances of toxicity.

Topically, astragalus creams are well tolerated by most skin types without redness or reactions. Patch testing is still recommended before wider application.

Who Should Not Take Astragalus?

While astragalus is well tolerated by most people, the following groups should exercise more caution with it:

Autoimmune Diseases

There are concerns that astragalus could make autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis worse. Its effects on the immune system may overstimulate already overactive immune cells.

Those with autoimmune conditions should avoid astragalus or carefully monitor its effects on disease symptoms.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There has not been enough research into the safety of astragalus for pregnant or nursing women. As an immune stimulant, astragalus could theoretically trigger contractions.

Therefore pregnant and breastfeeding women should stick to food sources of astragalus rather than supplements out of precaution.

Scheduled Surgery

It’s recommended to stop taking astragalus at least 2 weeks before any scheduled surgery since it could interfere with anesthesia.

Astragalus’ effects on the immune system may also slow recovery times.

Diabetes Medications

Astragalus could enhance or alter the effects of diabetes drugs meant to lower blood sugar levels. Diabetics on medication should monitor blood sugar closely if taking astragalus as well to avoid complications.

Blood Pressure and Heart Medications

Astragalus supplements may also amplify the effects of medications prescribed for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart conditions. Avoid combining astragalus with these drugs except under medical supervision.

There is no standard astragalus dosage for health prevention. However, these general dosage guidelines apply depending on form:

Astragalus Extracts and Powders

Recommended dosages are typically between 250mg to 500mg per day. Higher doses from 1,000mg to 2,000mg can be considered for combatting seasonal illness during winter months. Take doses at the lower end of the range for children based on body weight.

Astragalus Tea Bags

3 to 6 grams per day brewed into a tea is common. This equals about 9 to 18 tea bags split into 3 doses. Steep the herb for 5 to 10 minutes before drinking for best extraction.

Astragalus Root Slices

Soaking astragalus root slices overnight in cold water and drinking the broth as a tonic is traditional. Use approximately 15 to 60g per day in full doses or break up into 3 smaller servings. Roots can be re-used for up to a week before replacing.

Are There Any Side Effects?

As mentioned earlier, astragalus is typically safe for most people with very rare side effects. Occasional reports of nausea, diarrhea or itching have occurred which subsided once supplementation was stopped.

There are also some drug interactions to be aware of. Astragalus can alter liver enzymes that metabolize medications and impact how many drugs are absorbed by the body. Consult your doctor about potential interactions.

And those with autoimmune conditions should closely monitor symptoms in case astragalus worsens inflammation or overstimulates the immune system. Adjust dosages downward or cease usage if existing health conditions flare-up.

Product Recommendations

If you’re looking to add astragalus supplements to your routine, these products from our store are top-quality options made with organic astragalus root:

Astragalus Complex Capsules

Our Astragalus Complex capsules contain 470mg of pure astragalus root powder per capsule for immune and heart support. Recommended dose is 1 to 2 capsules per day.

Liquid Astragalus Extract

For convenience, try our concentrated Liquid Astragalus Extract tincture. Just 20 drops equals over 1,000mg of herb. Add drops to water, tea, or smoothies twice daily.

Both products are vegan, non-GMO, allergen-free and made exclusively from Australian astragalus plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about astragalus:

What does astragalus taste like?

Dried astragalus root and herbal teas have an earthy, woody taste. Extracts in water have a milder flavor. Astragalus is often combined with sweeter herbs like cinnamon or licorice to improve palatability.

When is the best time to take astragalus?

Traditionally astragalus teas or broths are drunk in the morning for an energizing effect. Otherwise supplements can be taken anytime – ideally on an empty stomach up to three times daily.

Is astragalus better in extract form?

The primary compounds and benefits between astragalus root, powder or extracts are comparable. Extracts simply offer higher concentrations and doses per serving. But astragalus supplements in all forms have shown clinical efficacy.

What’s the difference between astragalus and milk vetch?

Milk vetch is often sold as a cheaper substitute for astragalus root. However, astragalus membranaceus offers higher levels of active compounds. Products labelled as genuine astragalus are preferable.

Can astragalus be taken long term?

There is no current evidence indicating any harm from long term daily usage of astragalus supplements or teas. Some herbalists believe cycling astragalus – such as 3 months on and 1 month off – is sensible as well.

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