Astragalus is one of the most widely used Chinese traditional medicines. It is also known as huang qi or milk vetch. There are over 2,000 different species of Astragalus. The species Astragalus membranaceus is used in dietary supplements.
Astragalus root contains a complex mixture of naturally active compounds. In fact, more than 100 compounds, including flavonoids, saponins, polysaccharides, amino acids and some trace elements have been identified.
Of the 20 or so flavonoids that have been identified in Astragalus, quercetin is probably the best known. Quercetin is a plant pigment that is found in many foods including red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Gingko biloba and St. John's Wort, and others. Quercetin is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Astragalus contains 20 kinds of trace elements, including relatively high amounts of iron, manganese, zinc and rubidium.
Astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, to help lift energy and strengthen the body through stress while providing underlying support for the immune system.
Based on modern science, Astragalus is used as a dietary supplement for a variety of conditions, most commonly for supporting healthy immune function. Astragalus root supports our baseline immunity (known as the innate immune response) and acquired immunity (the immune response that kicks in after exposure to specific antigens).
Specific uses include for upper respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, fibromyalgia, diabetes, kidney and liver support and cardiovascular benefits. It may also support healthy blood sugar in those with Type 2 diabetes.
Astragalus root provides antioxidant protection against heart, brain, kidney, intestine, liver and lung injury in various animal models of oxidative stress-related disease.
Astragalus root extract has gained attention as an anti-aging powerhouse. For example, extracts of Astragalus root can significantly increase telomere length and telomerase activity in a cell culture model.
The most common reason for staking Astragalus root is to support a healthy immune system. Additional signs that you may benefit from Astragalus root include age-related conditions and poor blood sugar control.
Chronic kidney problems, low energy and weakness are other indicators that Astragalus root may assist.
Bratkov, V. M et al. Flavonoids from the Genus Astragalus: Phytochemistry and Biological Activity. Pharmacogn Rev. Jan-Jun 2016;10(19):11-32.
Liu, P. Et al. Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic. Aging and Disease. Volume 8, Number 6; 868-886, December 2017.
Enukashvily, N.I. et al. The Effect of the Geroprotectors Astragaloside IV, Cycloastragenol, and Timovial–Epivial Peptide Complex on Telomere Length and Telomerase Activity in Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and Senescent Fibroblasts. Cell and Tissue Biology. Volume 14, pages83–90 (2020).
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