The Immune-Boosting Powers of Astragalus
This sweet little root packs a punch. The defender of the immune system and protector against stress and fatigue. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is a superhero in the plant world.
Traditional Chinese medicine has known about Astragalus or huang qi for centuries. It was used to increase circulation of qi in the body and considered as one of the most important tonic herbs for increasing energy and cultivating a strong immune system.
Today, Astragalus is used in much the same way. Primarily for strengthening the immune response and stress support. It really is the superhero you need on your side when your immune system is struggling.
With that in mind, let’s get a little nerdy and take a closer look at how the active constituents in the root can strengthen your immune response.
The guardians of immunity: The Polysaccharides in the root have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral capabilities. They are your immune system’s first line of defence. These active little constituents can even train the immune system by fuelling the good bacteria in the gut. Now that’s the kind of friend you want for your immune system!
Stress fighting saponins: The immune modulating capabilities of Astragalus are also influenced by its saponin content and their adaptogenic effect on the stress response. Stress can depress your immunity.
Antioxidant boosters: Lastly, but not least, its flavonoids have antioxidant benefits. Helping fight free-radicals and boost immunity. Making it a great tonic for the whole body with a special affinity for the heart.
To maintain a healthy immune system, look for a quality supplement made from the root. You will need a dosage of 2-4.8g per day.
Astragalus is for those that get sick multiple times a year (especially when stressed), find it hard to recover from illness and feel exhausted by fatigue.
Avoid use during acute infection and pregnancy. Caution with immunosuppressive drugs. Consult with your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns.
Health Canada. Canada Monograph Astragalus. Accessed from, http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=36&lang=eng 5th of September 2017.
Braun L & Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. Astragalus Monograph. Elsevier Mosby, Edn.4,Vol 2 2015;41-48.
PPRC 2015: Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China, Volume 1, In Chinese edition 2015. Beijing (CN): The State Pharmacopoeia Commission of the People’s Republic of China.
WHO 1999 Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants: Radix Astragali- Volume 1 Accessed from, http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js2200e/7.html of September 2017.