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Astragalus is a herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Many people take Astragalus supplements to support their immune system and improve energy levels. Research is in its early stages, with much of the research cited in this article being limited to cell culture and animal models. Nevertheless, research does show that this herb has health benefits. In this article, we’ll dig into the science behind these benefits to give you a clearer understanding of what Astragalus can do for you.
What Is Astragalus?
Astragalus is a perennial plant native to China, Mongolia, and Korea. The root of this plant serves as the foundation for various health supplements and traditional medicines. It belongs to the legume family, which also includes beans, lentils, and peanuts. For hundreds of years, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used Astragalus root to enhance the immune system, fight fatigue, and improve overall vitality. Today, people continue to use supplements made from this root for its health-promoting properties. These supplements commonly come in the form of capsules, tinctures, and powders. With ongoing research, scientists are working to understand more about how Astragalus can improve health and well-being.
What Are the Health Benefits of Astragalus?
- Boosts Immune System: Astragalus is known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. Studies suggest it can help increase the production of white blood cells, which fight off infections. [PMID: 35713852]
- Improves Energy Levels: Many people use Astragalus to combat fatigue and improve overall energy. Its adaptogenic qualities help the body adapt to various stresses, physical or emotional. [PMID: 27773802] A study in mice suggests it does this through effects on the microbiome. [PMID: 37167729]
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The compounds in Astragalus may help reduce inflammation in the body, making it a useful supplement for conditions like arthritis. [PMID: 28830214]
- Supports Heart Health: Some evidence points to Astragalus’s ability to improve heart function and reduce symptoms related to heart disease. [PMID: 21390582]
- Antioxidant Effects: Astragalus contains antioxidants that help combat free radicals, reducing oxidative stress in the body. [PMC5877661]
- Improves Skin Health: Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Astragalus may contribute to better skin health and may even help with wound healing. [PMID: 32145159]
- Helps with Blood Sugar Regulation: Preliminary research indicates that Astragalus can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is particularly useful for those managing diabetes. [PMID: 37433206]
- Supports Kidney Function: Some studies suggest that Astragalus can improve kidney function and may be beneficial for those dealing with kidney diseases. [PMC8921640]
Is Astragalus Safe?
When it comes to safety, Astragalus has a good track record. It’s been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine with few reported side effects. Most people who take Astragalus supplements or use it in its natural form find it to be well-tolerated. Common side effects are usually mild, like digestive upset, and often go away on their own. It’s also generally considered safe to use alongside other medications.
Medication Interactions with Astragalus
- Immunosuppressants: Since Astragalus boosts the immune system, it might interfere with drugs that suppress the immune system, like cyclosporine.
- Anticoagulants: If you’re taking blood thinners like warfarin, always be cautious of every herbal supplement. Astragalus might make these medications less effective.
- Antihypertensives, Diabetes Medications, Diuretics, and Lithium: Research is very limited, however, these medications may theoretically interact with Astragalus.
Supplement Interactions with Astragalus
- Echinacea: Both Astragalus and Echinacea boost the immune system, so taking them together might overstimulate the immune system.
- Ginseng: Since both are adaptogens that help the body handle stress, using them together might amplify their effects, which isn’t always beneficial.
- Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, and Fish Oil: These have blood-thinning effects, so they might have additive effects with Astragalus if you’re taking medications for blood clotting.
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Astragalus Extract 300mg by Vital Nutrients
- supports a healthy immune system*
- high in trace minerals and micronutrients*
Astragalus Root Extract is a superior Chinese herb used to support the immune system.* Astragalus is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to tonify the spleen, the qi (vital energy), and the blood.* Astragalus is very high in trace minerals and micronutrients.*
Take 1-2 capsules 2 or 3 times daily, or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.
Amount Per 2 veg Capsules Serving
Astragalus membranaceus root extract … 600mg
Astragalus Extract 500mg by NOW Foods
- Standardized to 70% Polysaccharides
- Supports Healthy Immune Cell Function*
For more than 2000 years, Chinese herbalists have valued Astragalus for its adaptogenic properties, as well as for its ability to tonify the body’s “vital force” known as the Qi.* More recently, Astragulus has been found to support healthy immune function through numerous mechanisms.* Non-clinical studies using Astragalus have demonstrated it can support the healthy production of and activity of specialized white blood cells.* Astragalus has also been studied for its role in the support of healthy liver and vascular function.*
Natural color variation may occur in this product.
Take 1 capsule 1 to 3 times daily as needed, preferably with food.
Amount Per 1 Capsule Serving
Astragalus Root Extract … 500mg (Astragalus membranaceous)
(Standardized to min. 70% Polysaccharides)
Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.
Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.
“To Sum It Up”
Astragalus offers a range of health benefits that many people find useful. From boosting your immune system to helping fight fatigue, this root has long been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. Although researchers have yet to conduct rigorous clinical studies, what we have so far suggests Astragalus shows real promise in reducing inflammation, supporting heart health, and even improving skin and kidney function. Overall, Astragalus can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine.
This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice
Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.