Astragalus: Ancient Remedy for Modern Health Issues

Astragalus is an adaptogenic plant that has been used for centuries to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve heart and brain health.


Key Takeaways

Astragalus Benefits

1. Boosting the Immune System

Astragalus boosts the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells and containing polysaccharides with immune-modulating effects.

2. Regulating Blood Sugar Levels

Astragalus improves blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity and inhibiting carbohydrate absorption through compounds like saponins.

3. Protecting the Heart

Astragalus supports heart health by increasing heart contractility and reducing oxidative damage. It contains flavonoids that prevent plaque buildup in arteries and improve blood circulation.

4. Enhancing Brain Function

Astragalus enhances brain function by improving blood circulation and increasing oxygen flow to the brain. Also by increasing dopamine and serotonin levels.

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus is an adaptogenic plant that belongs to the legume family, also known as “milkvetch” or “huang qi” in traditional Chinese medicine. It has been used for centuries in China to strengthen the body's immune system and promote healing. [1]

The Astragalus root is the most commonly used part of the plant. They usually turn it into tea, capsules, or extracts for medicinal purposes.

Astragalus has several health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and improving the health of the heart and brain.

As an adaptogen, it helps the body cope with stress and alleviates its adverse effects.

Astragalus Benefits

1. Boosting the Immune System

Several studies have found that astragalus can increase the production of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in the body's immune response. These white blood cells, including T-cells and natural killer cells, help to identify and destroy foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. [2] [3]

Astragalus also contains compounds called polysaccharides, which have immune-modulating effects. These polysaccharides may help to regulate the immune system and enhance its ability to defend against pathogens like liver infections. [4] [5]

Some research has also suggested that astragalus may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections, including the common cold and flu.

2. Regulating Blood Sugar Levels

Astragalus increases insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes 2, improving glucose uptake by cells and controlling blood sugar levels. [6]

Also, Astragalus contains compounds called saponins, which inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. This process slows glucose absorption into the bloodstream and prevents blood sugar spikes. 

Finally, inflammation is a critical factor in type 2 diabetes development. Astragalus contains anti-inflammatory compounds such as polysaccharides, which can reduce inflammation in the body and improve glucose control. [7]

3. Protecting the Heart

Astragalus improves heart function by increasing heart contractility and reducing oxidative damage to the heart. The flavonoids present in astragalus are antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and the narrowing of vessel walls by protecting the inner wall of the vessel.

A 2014 study suggests that astragalus injections in combination with conventional therapies may improve outcomes for patients with viral myocarditis (inflammation of the heart wall). [8]

Studies have also shown Astragalus to reduce cardiac fibrosis, improve blood circulation, and reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

4. Enhancing Brain Function

Astragalus improves brain function by increasing oxygen flow to the brain, improving blood circulation, boosting energy and alertness, and increasing levels of antioxidants.

It may also help to protect against age-related cognitive decline and reduce stress and anxiety. [1]

Thanks to its neuroprotective effects, Astragalus improves memory and concentration and enhances mood by increasing dopamine and serotonin levels. [9]

Safety And Side Effects

Astragalus is safe when taken in recommended doses.

Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, and allergic reactions. [10]

Long-term use of astragalus may cause an imbalance of electrolytes or interfere with medications. It is important to discuss your usage plan with a healthcare provider.

People with autoimmune diseases, bleeding disorders, or those taking immunosuppressants should not use Astragalus. This also applies to Pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Final Thoughts

Astragalus root is an adaptogen used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for multiple conditions.

It contains several components that may help ward off free radicals and protect against oxidative stress.

Additionally, the polysaccharides in astragalus may enhance the immune system and boost brain function, potentially extending life expectancy. [11]

Additional Readings

You May Also Like

The Power of Adaptogens and The Best Adaptogenic Plants

Panax Ginseng, The Powerful Adaptogen

Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) For A Healthy Brain And Immune System


[1]Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic - PMC (

[2]Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review - PubMed (

[3]The effect of Astragaloside IV on immune function of regulatory T cell mediated by high mobility group box 1 protein in vitro - PubMed (

[4]Clinical and experimental effectiveness of Astragali compound in the treatment of chronic viral hepatitis B - PubMed (

[5]Chinese herbal medicine and interferon in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials - PubMed (

[6]Recent Advances in Astragalus membranaceus Anti-Diabetic Research: Pharmacological Effects of Its Phytochemical Constituents - PMC (

[7]A Review of the Pharmacological Action of Astragalus Polysaccharide - PMC (

[8]Astragalus membranaceus injection combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials - PubMed (

[9]Astragalus species: Phytochemistry, biological actions and molecular mechanisms underlying their potential neuroprotective effects on neurological diseases - PubMed (

[10]Astragalus | NCCIH (

[11]Mitochondrial Protection and Anti-aging Activity of Astragalus Polysaccharides and Their Potential Mechanism - PMC (

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