Do you know about astragalus? If not, you should, because astragalus root is one of the most powerful immune-building plants on the planet.
This adaptogen herb helps beat stress while fighting disease at the same time. How effective can it be? Turns out, plenty.
In addition to pumping up your immune system, studies show it’s vital for cardiovascular health and can even fight off tumors and alleviate symptoms of chemotherapy!
Believe it or not, that’s not all, either. There are more astragalus benefits that are simply unbelievable, which is why I consider it one of the essential herbs to add to your wellness regimen.
What Is Astragalus?
Astragalus is a plant within the Leguminosae (beans or legumes) family, with a very long history as an immune system booster and disease fighter. Its roots are in Traditional Chinese Medicine, in which it’s been used as an adaptogen for thousands of years — meaning it helps the body fight off stress and disease. Today, astragalus medicinal healing and treatment uses span many different illnesses and diseases.
The perennial flowering plant, also called milkvetch root and Huang-qi, grows from 16 to 36 inches tall and is native to the north and eastern regions of China. It’s also been traced back to Mongolia and Korea.
Astragalus roots are harvested from 4-year-old plants and are the only part of the plant that’s used medicinally. Only two of the over 2,000 species of astragalus, astragalus membranaceus and astragalus mongholicus, are used medicinally. (1)
Astragalus contains three components that allow the plant to have such a positive impact on human health: saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides, which are all active compounds contained in certain plants, including some fruits and vegetables. (2) Saponins are known for their ability to lower cholesterol, improve the immune system and prevent cancer. (3) Flavanoids, also found in astragalus, provide health benefits through cell signaling. They show antioxidative qualities, control and scavenge of free radicals, and can help prevent heart disease, cancer and immunodeficiency viruses. (4) Polysaccharides are known to have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory capabilities, among other health benefits. (5)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the herb was hailed as a protector against stresses, both mental and physical. Astragalus provides health benefits to a number of body systems and ailments. Although more studies in humans are needed to solidify its effectiveness, success in rats, mice and other animals have prompted progressive research on the herb.
Because of the tremendous success of so many research studies and trials, new information about astragalus is coming to light all the time. In general, its greatest strength is preventing and protecting cells against cell death and other harmful elements, such as free radicals and oxidation.
According to continuing research, astragalus health benefits include: