Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root is an Asian herbal remedy that has been used for 2000 years to boost immunity. The Chinese name for it is huang qi, meaning “strengthener of Chi” (Chi being the life force, therefore the ability to fight disease). Chinese herbalists believe that this plant strengthens all body systems and that it is particularly effective for treating illnesses that cause fatigue. Modern herbalists largely use it to protect and support the immune system.
Western scientists began their study of Astragalus in 1983 when a study was carried out at the University of Texas. The research showed that the herb improved immune function in 19 cancer patients who were being treated with immune-suppressing chemotherapy drugs. Further studies also proved that Astragalus helps to alleviate nausea, vomiting, and tiredness in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Since then, several studies proved the immune-boosting properties of Astragalus and the fact that it improves the infection-fighting abilities of white blood cells.
Other proven therapeutic uses of Astragalus:
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces hay fever symptoms (itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, etc.)
- Improves heart function
- Improves liver function
- Significantly reduces chronic fatigue
Astragalus should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women, children under 2, individuals with autoimmune diseases/taking immunosuppressant drugs. Whenever taking herbal remedies, it is best to consult a trained medical herbalist.