astragalus

Tune Up Your Immune System for Cold and Flu Season

Saturday, October 18, 2008 by: Barbara L. Minton
Tags: flu season, health news, Natural News

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) It's almost cold and flu season again. This is the time to make sure your immune system is up to the task of killing off invading germs, viruses and bacteria. A healthy, well-tuned immune system also vanquishes abnormal or degenerating cells before they can do any damage. One of the best ways to make sure your immune system is first rate is through the use of adaptogens, a group of substances that have nonspecific actions in the body and create minimal disruption while they normalize body functions. Two herbal pillars of Chinese medicine, astragalus and schisandra, are adaptogens rapidly gaining favor in the Western world.

Walking on the tightrope

You and your immune system do a constant balancing act as you walk the tightrope of life. Let your immune system weaken too much, and the door is opened to pathogens. Let it strengthen too much, and the result can be systemic inflammation, allergies and autoimmune disorders. Astragalus and schisandra function as balance beams to keep you perfectly centered on that tightrope.

Astragalus is a 2000 year old healer

Astragalus, known in Chinese medicine as Huang Qi, has been used for more than 2,000 years to strengthen vitality and stave off illnesses including colds and flu. Its growing popularity in the West may be due to extensive scientific study that began in the 1970's, documenting the ability of the herb to stimulate the immune system, fight bacteria and viruses, reduce inflammation and protect the liver.

Astragalus is prescribed for shortness of breath, general body weakness, and poor appetite. It has diuretic properties and can be used to treat colds, flu, stomach ulcers, and diabetes. It supports and strengthens body resistance, invigorates, and promotes tissue regeneration. Recent research findings point to the conclusion that astragalus acts by augmenting white blood cells that fight disease, and clearing out aberrant cells that may create disease in the future.

Astragalus is a perennial plant and a relative of the pea plant. It's native to the northern and eastern parts of China, Mongolia and Korea. It contains numerous nutritional components including flavonoids, polysaccharides, triterpene glycosides, saponins, amino acids, and trace minerals.

Research documents the normalizing effects of astragalus on the body

In a study reported in the Journal of Food and Medicine, September edition, researchers investigated the immune stimulating effects of astragalus through the innate effects of astragalus on pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by cultured macrophages. Astragalus was able to affect production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha when used in high concentrations. It was also able to modify responses from artificially stimulated macrophages, with identified immunomodulatory effects to reduce production of TNF-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, and IL-12 in a dose-dependent manner. Researchers concluded that astragalus exhibited ability to modulate macrophage responses during stimulation. These results underscore the adaptive, balancing qualities of astragalus.

Other research conducted in the U.S. investigated astragalus as a treatment for people with compromised immune systems from chemotherapy or radiation. In these studies, astragalus supplements were shown to speed recovery and extend life expectancy. Studies performed at the National Cancer Institute and other leading Cancer Institutes in recent years have positively shown that astragalus strengthens cancer patients' immune systems, allowing them to recover significantly faster and live longer.

Recent research in China reveals that astragalus offers antioxidant benefits to people with severe forms of heart disease by relieving symptoms and improving heart function. The Chinese have known for centuries that astragalus is a superior herb. In the West the benefits of this herb are beginning to be understood by allopaths. It is well accepted by naturopaths and holistic healers.

How to use astragalus

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, astragalus may be given to children to support their immune systems if there is no fever present. The dose should be determined by adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the weight of the child. The dose for an adult is calculated on a weight of 150 pounds. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 pounds, the appropriate dose of astragalus would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.

Adult doses from 1 to 25 grams are used as follows:

•Decoction (strong boiled tea): 3-6 g of dried root per 12 oz water, three times per day
•Fluid extract (1:1) in 25% ethanol: 2-4 mL three times per day
•Powdered root: 500-1,000 mg three times a day
•Powered extract: 100 to 150 mg
•Tincture: (1:5) in 30% ethanol: 3-5 mL three times a day

Astragalus has no side effects and can generally be used safely. It does interact with prescription drugs.

Schisandra, another ancient adaptogen

The Chinese name for schisandra means "five-taste-fruit". Its balancing affect includes the taste buds where it produces a mixture of sour, sweet, salty, hot, and bitter tastes. This herbal adaptogen improves vitality and promotes revitalization. It boosts the immune system, and enhances physical endurance and mental concentration. It soothes the nerves, reduces anxiety, and is said to promote radiant skin tone.

Schisandra contains essential oils, acids and lignans that help regenerate liver tissue damaged by alcohol or hepatitis. One group of the lignans is therapeutic against oxidative neuronal damage induced by excito-toxins, making schisandra a supplement to use before consuming foods suspected of containing MSG or asparatame.

The herb improves physical and mental performance, relieves fatigue, and strengthens and tones the body, particularly after exertion or disease. It promotes cellular oxygenation and potentiates the immune system through its beneficial effects on blood circulation. It is said to improve sexual performance for men and women.

Schisandra is a research star

The European Journal of Pharmacology, September edition, reports a study of schisandra's anti-inflammatory ability on plasma nitrate concentration in mice. Results indicated that induced paw edema and vascular permeability were inhibited by schisandra. The herb also had a protective effect on induced sepsis. This study is the first to show that the anti-inflammatory properties of schisandra result from the inhibition of nitric oxide production, prostaglandin release, and COX-2.

A review of Russian research from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, July edition, reveals that schisandra was used as an adaptogen in the USSR in the early 1960's. It is included in the National Pharmacopoeia of the USSR and the State Register of Drugs. Animal studies in the USSR have shown that schisandra increases physical working capacity and affords a stress-protective affect against a broad spectrum of harmful factors including heat shock, skin burn, cooling, frostbite, immobilization, decreased air pressure, aseptic inflammation, irradiation, and heavy metal intoxication.

Schisandra exerts an affect on several body systems including central nervous, sympathetic, endocrine, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal. It is a blood sugar stabilizer and acid-alkaline balancer in the body. Studies on isolated organs, tissues, cells and enzymes have revealed that schisandra exhibits strong antioxidant activities and affects smooth muscles, arachidonic acid release, biosynthesis in leucocytes, platelet activating factor activity, carbohydrate-phosphorus metabolism, tissue respiration and oxygen consumption, and the tolerance of the body to oxygen intoxication.

In healthy subjects, schisandra increases endurance and accuracy of movement, mental performance and working capacity. It generates alterations in the basal level of cortisol in blood and saliva with subsequent effects on the blood cells, vessels and central nervous system. Clinical trials have demonstrated the efficiency of schisandra in dealing with psychiatric disorders such as neurosis, depression, schizophrenia, and alcolism. It is effective against influenza, chronic sinusitis, otitis, pneumonia, allergic dermatitis, and stomach and duodenal ulcers. It has been used successfully in wound healing.

How to use schisandra

For use as a general tonic in China, patients are advised to chew dried schisandra berries daily for 100 days. Daily doses of schisandra supplements range from 1 to 6 grams. Schisandra is frequently consumed in the form of an infusion. To make an infusion, pour ˝ cup berries into a one gallon container of dark fresh fruit juice and allow them to soak for one day, strain and drink. Schisandra can be added to tea decoctions and other herbal simmered brews.

Shopping for astragalus and schisandra

Two products containing both astragalus and schisandra stand out and are readily available online. Zand Astragalus Formula is available as a tincture in a 2 oz. bottle from Vitacost for $6.59, or as capsules in a bottle of 100 for $9.03. Gaia Herbs, a company that promises that all their ingredients are organic or wild crafted, sells Astragalus Supreme in a bottle of 60 capsules for $18.74. Both are excellent products.

Sources not mentioned in text:

Katrina Thompson, "The Healing Plant", Cancer Salves Sacred Medicine Sanctuary.

"Astragalus", University of Maryland Medical Center.

"Schisandra", Life Extention Center.

Dr. Maoshing Ni, Secrets of Longevity.

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.