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Astragalus Root: Uses, Benefits, & Risks

Astragalus Root: Uses, Benefits, & Risks

What’s inside this article: An overview of the adaptogenic herb astragalus root – includes important information such as its uses, benefits, side effects, safety, potential risks, and history of the herb.

What Is Astragalus Root?

Astragalus is a plant native to Asia. It’s one of the most important herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

It’s the astragalus root specifically that has medicinal uses. In Chinese medicine, the astragalus root is used to treat diarrhea, night sweats and for creating energy tonics. 

Astragalus is an adaptogen – meaning it protects the body from stress.

Uses for Astragalus Root

Although limited scientific research is available, there is anecdotal evidence that this adaptogenic herb can treat several medical issues:

  • fatigue
  • heart disease
  • immune function

You may have even heard celebrity doctor, Dr. Oz, talking about astragalus root’s ability to slow down the aging process.

In China, the root is added to soups to treat the common cold because it’s believed to increase “qi”. According to ancient Chinese medicine, qi is the body’s defensive energy that’s needed to fight disease.

Astragalus is also a component of fu zheng therapy, a contemporary Chinese herbal treatment for restoring immune function in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

Benefits of Astragalus Root

  • antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • may protect the body from cancer
  • may reduce the risk of diabetes
  • lowers blood pressure
  • antiviral properties
  • early studies show it may help treat aplastic anemia

Risks and Side Effects

Astragalus root supplements haven’t been tested for safety, mostly because dietary supplements are largely unregulated in the United States. 

Consumers should be aware that some products’ content may differ from what is on the product label. It’s crucial to ensure when using supplements that you’re purchasing high-quality products from a trusted source.

With that said, astragalus root has a long history of safe use (hundreds of years) and appears to be safe when used appropriately.

There are no known serious side effects for adults who are not immune-compromised. 

Astragalus may interfere with the effectiveness of corticosteroid medications and drugs that suppress the immune system.

Who Can’t Take Astragalus Root?

Certain people shouldn’t use this adaptogen unless recommended by a qualified health care practitioner. 

You shouldn’t take astragalus root if you have:

  • Had transplant surgery
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Other autoimmune disease

How to Take Astragalus Root

Astragalus supplements come as capsules or tablets or in tincture form. You can take it in capsule form or add the powder to smoothies, teas, or soups.

The dosage depends on your age, weight, and reason for taking the supplement. You should consult a knowledgeable provider to determine the appropriate dosing for you.

You can also apply astragalus root as a topical solution to your skin. Its antibacterial and anti-microbial properties may help with wound care. 

Making Astragalus Tea

You can purchases slices of dried astragalus root at some Chinese grocery stores and health food stores and use these root slices to brew your tea. 

Place the roots inside a tea infuser and place in hot water, allowing it to steep for 10 minutes. 

What To Look For Before Buying

Before you purchase any herbal supplement, carefully read the supplements facts label.

You should know the dosage amount of active ingredients per serving and look into additional ingredients like fillers or flavorings and dyes. 

ConsumerLab.com offers quality testing of many products; look for their seal of approval or visit the website. You can search for different brands on their website to make sure their labels are accurate, and they don’t contain any harmful ingredients.


Sources:

https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/astragalus
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WYNTK-Consumer/

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