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Astragalus – The Magical Ancient Remedy
- Herbal remedies can be extremely powerful and extremely beneficial to our health, as astragalus proves
- As an herbal medicine, astragalus contains antioxidants that protect cells against damage, which can be caused by free radicals
Astragalus or Astragalus membranaceous is also known as milk vetch, locoweed, goat’s thorn, Huang Qi,Hwanggi and Bei Qi. It belongs to the legume family known as fabaceae, and the sub family faboideae. It is a perennial plant which is native to China, Mongolia, Korea and other parts of Asia. It has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, where it is known as huang qi. It was used to fortify the body against disease. Huag qi translates as “yellow leader”. This is because the root of astragalus is yellow and it is thought to be one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. The root is the part which is used in medications and dietary supplements, and is usually harvested from 4 year old plants.
Astragalus is prepared in traditional Chinese medicine by making a concoction. The roots are boiled in water and then they are removed. As with many Chinese herbal preparations, astragalus is often used in combination with other herbs, for example, ginseng. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat, diarrhea, night sweats and for energy tonics for particular times of the year.
Astragalus contains antioxidants which protect cells against damage which can be caused by free radicals and other waste products. It is thought to improve immune function by increasing the production of immune cells. It might also have an antiviral effect and may help with the prevention of colds. However, there is currently little scientific evidence to support these claims.
Astragalus has also been used to treat various heart conditions. Recent Chinese research shows that it may offer some antioxidant benefits to people who suffer from more severe forms of heart disease. It showed astragalus relieved symptoms and improved the functioning of the heart. This may be because astragalus has a diuretic effect which may cause blood pressure to lower, and it may also have the effect of causing the blood vessels to relax. It is used to prevent respiratory infections, treat diabetes and lower blood pressure. It is also used to protect the liver against damage. Again, there is little scientific evidence to substantiate these benefits.
Scientists in the USA have researched astragalus as a possible treatment for people who have undertaken radiation therapy or chemotherapy, and whose immune systems have been weakened. The studies showed that astragalus helped to speed up recovery and also extended life expectancy.
At low to moderate doses, astragalus may have a few side effects. It can also interact with a number of prescription medications and herbal remedies. However, astragalus has no known serious side effects and in general, can be used safely. Pregnant or breast feeding women should consult their doctor before taking astragalus.
Astragalus is available as a liquid tincture, in capsule form, and is also available as an ointment as it is believed to be a treatment for wounds. It may also be drunk in an infusion or as a fluid extract.
Doses vary from 1 – 25 g per day. However higher doses of astragalus might suppress the immune system.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Herbal Treatment24 Oct 2008|