The root of Astragalus membranaceus, an herb that grows in northern China, has been used for over 2000 years to strengthen the body as a whole. Astragalus is believed by the Oriental people to strengthen muscle and support metabolic functions. One of the most important herbs in the world, Astragalus has been recognized as a superb and potent tonic by modern researchers.
Astragalus is said to have an effect on the “surface” of the body --- that is, it is used to tonify the “Protective Qi,” known as Wei Qi in Chinese. This Protective Qi is a special kind of energy which circulates just under the skin and in the muscle. Protective Qi is a Yang energy. Protective Qi circulates in the subcutaneous tissues providing suppleness to the flesh and adaptive energy to the skin. This function is essential to life. Wei Qi is the energy of the skin and immune system, in harmony, that responds to changes in the environment.
An important effect of Astragalus is in its ability to fortify the “Upright Qi.” Upright Qi is the energy allocated by the body to maintain upright posture and to maintain the position of the organs in their healthy position in their battle with gravity. As one gets older, this Upright Qi is naturally depleted.
Astragalus promotes healthy skin.
Astragalus helps to support healthy functioning of the excretory and nervous systems.
Astragalus has been shown to optimize sperm motility.
Tonifies the “three burning spaces” (metabolic functions), increases Qi, tonifies the Lungs and Spleen, raises Yang, reduces perspiration, facilitates excretion of water*
Who can use it?
As an energizer, Astragalus is famed for its strengthening effects on the outside of the body, in particular to the musculature. It is therefore beneficial in particular to younger adults, who tend to be physically active and require abundant external energy. Astragalus is used to strengthen the legs and arms, and is commonly used by people who work outdoors, especially in the cold, because of its strengthening and warming nature.
A Superfood That Halts Aging And Revitalizes Your DNA
Astragalus is a potent medicinal herb
Astragalus is a class of herbs found in northern Asia that’s been used to treat fatigue and sickness for thousands of years.
Some of the plant constituents have shown to be so potent that they’re now being used as the basis for different drugs to treat cancer, fatigue, and subdue ulcers, among other things.
The Health Benefits of Astragalus
Astragalus seems to work its magic through the following mechanisms:
- It causes your body to produce more telomeres, a part of your DNA that protects chromosomes from degradation
- It contains a unique class of polysaccharides which are very biologically active
- It improves the rate of replication of immune cells called macrophages
These three properties are very unique to astragalus, and are one of the reasons its such a wonderful medicinal herb.
It’s health properties are so unique that isolated compounds from its polysaccharides are being used as the basis for billion dollar pharmaceutical drugs being used to treat some of mankind’s most daunting health problems.
It’s also one of the reasons
How Astragalus Stops Aging
Astragalus is uniquely healthy for your cellular health because of its ability to protect your body’s telomeres from degradation.
Telomeres are small pieces of DNA located at the edge of your chromosomes. When your cells replicate telomeres help prevent your DNA from unraveling and keep it locked into place. They serve a similar function as the plastic caps on the edges of your shoelace.
Whenever your cells replicate telomeres shorten a wee bit. After so many replications the stubby telomeres reach a critical point where they’re no longer usable and cells begin their programmed death, a process called “apoptosis.”
The gradual shortening of telomeres is an important component of and different types of cancer.
Astragalus causes your body to increase its production of a substance called “telomerase”, which is an enzyme that enables the production of more telomeres. In clinical studies mice treated with extracts of astragalus root had telomeres that were longer and degraded more slowly than a control group.
What’s more impressive is that despite these remarkable effects on cellular health there’s apparently no toxicity from astragalus if taken at reasonable dosages.
Astragalus Helps Improve Sickness and Heal Wounds
As stated before, astragalus contains some polysaccharides which are just darn unique.
The most notable compounds are called formononetin, calycosin and astragaloside IV, and seem to do the following things in your body:
- Reduces the amount of nitric oxide released from cells, which reduces inflammation
- Causes certain genes and metabolic pathways to be shutdown which would otherwise cause blood and chemicals to flow to wounds
- Activates other genes and pathways which activates different immune cells
Because of this astragalus is fairly robust at healing sickness. It’s been used to treat ulcers, swollen wounds, reduce hemorrhaging, and serve as a complimentary input to cancer treatments.
One of my favorite studies on astragalus was published recently in the journal
Clinical Investigative Medicine,
and it studied the ability of astragalus to reduce fatigue in cancer patients with very developed cases.
The patients were treated with a purified extract of Astragalus membranaceous in two 1 month cycles. After the first month 82% of patients reported feeling better and more energetic, and the following month 71% of the remaining group reported better feelings of energy, vitality, and youth.
The study was a double-blind study and fairly high quality.
Astragalus is Good For Diabetics
Astragalus seems to be a decent food for diabetics. For a reson that’s not entirely clear patients who take astragalus exhibit better blood sugar control.
The different polysaccharides protect against radical scavengers, and the benefits astragalus provides to cellular health seem to carry over in its ability to metabolize different nutrients.
Astragalus supplements should be safe for most people
Astragalus Supplements, Dosages, and Side Effects
One of the benefits of astragalus is that despite its potent behavior within the body it seems to be benign at almost all doses. As far as I know there are no cases where astragalus caused harmful side effects in patients.
When you buy astragalus at the store you’ll want to buy
Astragalus Membranaceous ,
as it’s the form most studied and easily consumed by humans.
You can either buy astragalus membranaceous in its root form or as an extract. Astragalus supplements typically come in powdered form, but it’s in capsules.
With most supplements the amount of astragalus contained will be between 250-1000mg, and as far as I know this is fine. Only if you’re taking significantly more than this or taking several doses a day should you exercise caution.
It’s also possible that at very high dosages astragalus might suppress your immune system, and taking it with immune-stimulating drugs might cause side effects.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about this.
Who Should Take An Astragalus Supplement?
Because of its widespread health benefits and benign nature, most people would benefit from having some astragalus in their diet.
However, due to its unique properties astragalus probably provides the most help to the following people:
- elderly people looking for a non-invasive way to fight the vagaries of old age
- people looking to reduce fatigue or reduce the collateral damage from severe chemotherapy or drug treatments
- anyone with a brittle immune system that’s sensitive to over the counter medication
- people looking for a natural/homeopathic way to help control blood sugar
if you have specific questions about a condition you should consult your doctor or licensed medical professional. This is not specific medical advice.
Astragalus is a pretty bodaceous herb. There are a large amount of studies that verify its health benefits, and the fact that it’s the subject of mimicry in pharmaceuticals alludes to its medicinal potency.
Ingredients: 20:1 Astragalus Root Extract*
Other Ingredients: None
Container Size: 1.8oz. | 50 grams
Serving Size: 1/4 - 1 teaspoon
Directions: Add 1/4 – 1 teaspoon (more or less depending on your taste and experience level) to 8 oz of hot water. Mix and enjoy. This powder can also be added to smoothies, juices, and protein shakes. Lastly, you can just eat the powder right from the bag as it is a pure extract and ready to consume as is.
* This powder is a concentrated extract, this means that the active constituents are extracted from the herb and then concentrated to a 20:1 ratio. The ratio means that 20 pounds of whole herb is concentrated down into one pound of extract!
The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your health practitioner. If you believe you are experiencing a medical or health problem please seek the assistance of a qualified health professional.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.