Used for a number of conditions, the benefits of astragalus are varied. From fighting infections to aiding digestive problems, it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese herbal medicine as a general strengthening tonic.
The herb is a member of the pea family and contains sterols, isoflavones, and a number of other constituents that have health-giving benefits. It is the root that is the most beneficial part of the plant.
Conditions that may be helped by astragalus herb include:
- Respiratory infection by protecting the mucus membranes in the body
- Diarrhea and other digestive problems. A reduction in stomach acid can aid a number of symptoms and improves digestion
- Diabetes. Astragalus extract may be blended with other herbs for treatment of diabetes and regulating blood sugar, though medical advice should be sought before embarking on herbal treatment for this condition, as it needs to be monitored.
- Weakened immune system. Astragalus herb promotes production of white blood cells, which the body needs for fighting infection. This in turn can help reduce allergic reactions, as the body is better equipped to cope with them. This function can also aid anemia sufferers.
- Fatigue. Astragalus can be helpful when fatigue is related to a weakened immune system.
- Heart conditions. Astragalus extract can prevent fatty deposits from forming in the heart’s arteries and slowing the blood flow. It can also be a general tonic for cardiovascular function. When a weakened heart causes breathlessness, this herb can ease the symptoms.
- Salt and water retention. This herb helps the body to reject excess salt and water. Too much salt in the diet can cause high blood pressure, and astragalus can be used to regulate blood pressure. It has diuretic properties and can help the body to rid itself of waste.
- Stress. Another one of the wonderful benefits of astragalus is its ability to strengthen the body against stressful situations.
- Lack of energy. The herb can increase energy levels, build stamina, and increase vitality
The benefits of astragalus herb can be enjoyed in a number of ways. Astragalus tea is often used when treating arrhythmia. Ointments and tinctures are also available.
Capsules are available in a number of concentrations, and dosages will vary according to the condition. Astragalus root can be found in capsules and can also be used fresh in a number of cooking recipes.
Astragalus Side Effects
This herb is considered to be safe when it is taken as advised. Those taking prescription drugs are advised to seek medical advice before beginning a course of treatment with astragalus, as it may increase the effects of medications.
It is also a good idea for pregnant and nursing women to seek medical advice first. Some minor side effects have been reported. These include itching, difficulty breathing, and nausea. Some users may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The immune system may be strengthened when using this herb, which could have a negative effect for sufferers of conditions such as multiple sclerosis. It is also not a herb recommended for children.