Astragalus "super herb" protects, supports immune system function

Monday, October 12, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of (See all articles...)
Tags: ASTRAGALUS, immune system, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for literally thousands of years. Today, in the western world, it's being rediscovered as a powerful adaptogenic herb with a remarkable ability to balance and boost immune function. With more and more people concerned about immune function today -- especially with the swine flu pandemic on peoples' minds -- ancient herbs like astragalus are experiencing a resurgence in interest.

Here, we present a unique collection of supporting research quotes about astragalus and how it protects and enhances the immune system. Feel free to forward this information to friends, family members or coworkers who may benefit from it.

Astragalus and the immune system

One of the best known herbs used in Chinese medicine, astragalus strengthens the digestion and stimulates the immune system. It also aids adrenal gland function, acts as a diuretic and dilates blood vessels. Astragalus can be used to boost the immune system in people who frequently suffer from infections such as colds. It can also be used in convalescence and to aid in cancer treatment and recovery from chemotherapy. Astragalus should not be used in cases of acute infections or fevers.
- The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs by Nicola Reavley

Astragalus is one of the best-researched immune system stimulants now available. It works like echinacea, in that both herbs increase the number and activity of immune cells. However, astragalus concentrates on building the immune system, and unlike echinacea, it can be taken on a daily basis. Echinacea boosts immune system activity and promotes fast recovery, especially when taken at the onset of symptoms. The most potent formulas have a peculiar tingling and numbing effect on the tongue.
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing: A Comprehensive A-Z Listing of Common and Chronic Illnesses and Their Proven Natural Treatments by Gary Null, Ph.D.

Astragalus is another ancient Chinese herb that is frequently combined with ginseng to strengthen the body's natural defenses, namely, the immune system. Astragalus has also shown some vasodilatory as well as anti-inflammatory action. Its anti-inflammatory effects occur, it seems, because it inhibits the release of histamines from mast cells. Quercetin, a polyphenol, works the same way. Consequently, astragalus could help relieve hay fever and other allergic conditions. I have personally used astragalus as a remedy for my seasonal hay fever.
- Optimum Health - A Cardiologist's Prescription for Optimum Health by Stephen T., M.D. Sinatra

Examples of popular adaptogenic herbs include astragalus, panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, lonicera, and glycyrrhiza, also known as licorice root. The herb astragalus has been researched thoroughly and is available from an abundance of sources. Studies have revealed that astragalus is quite effective in enhancing immune function and can be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses, ranging from the common cold to cancer. Instead of directly attacking infectious organisms, astragalus aids the body by fortifying the existing immune system.
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing: A Comprehensive A-Z Listing of Common and Chronic Illnesses and Their Proven Natural Treatments by Gary Null, Ph.D.

The immune-building and adaptogenic effects of astragalus have been studied extensively. Modern research has isolated the constituents in astragalus that are believed to be responsible for its effectiveness. Two types of chemical compounds found in astragalus, polysaccharides and saponins, are credited with many of the herb's benefits. But traditional herbalists believe there may be dozens of other active, synergistic, or supportive components. Astragalus heightens the efficiency of virtually every component of the immune system.
- Herbal Defense by Robyn Landis

Another traditional energy tonic, astragalus strengthens the immune system and is good for both digestion and lung function. Sometimes this root is available in bulk in health food stores - long and flat, it looks like a tongue depressor. These sticks can be added to soups, stews, rice, or any food that simmers for at least 30 minutes. When cooking is complete, remove the wilted stick and discard. The medicine has gone into your food! Astragalus has a neutral, somewhat pleasant taste.
- The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White, M.D.

Astragalus was originally used in China for a variety of reasons including immune system support, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Dr. Mauligit of Texas University found it helped to restore immune function in cancer patients. Astragalus helps to invigorate vital energy, drain pus, reduce swelling and strengthen the spleen. It is helpful for lingering diarrhea. It has been shown to augment interferon response to viruses.
- Powerful and Unusual Herbs From the Amazon and China by World Preservation Society

Astragalus is a traditional Chinese medicinal herb used for viral infections. Research in animals has shown that it apparently works by stimulating several factors of the immune system, particularly in those whose immune system has been damaged by chemicals or radiation. In immunodepressed mice, Astragalus has been found to reverse the T cell abnormalities caused by cyclophosphamide (a cancer drug), radiation, and aging. It also increases T cell activity in normal mice.
- Total Wellness: Improve Your Health by Understanding and Cooperating with Your Body's Natural Healing Systems by Joseph Nd Pizzorno

Astragalus (Huang chi root) in Chinese medicine, is known to strengthen the body's natural defenses that involve the immune system. It is one of the main herbs used in fu-zheng therapy to enhance the immune system during chemo and radiation therapy. It seems to increase not only interferon levels but also natural killer-cell and T-cell activity. It also makes the T-cells more aggressive. Astragalus has been shown to have liver-protective activity against a number of toxic substances, including carbon tetrachloride.
- Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment by Donald R. Yance, j r.,C.N., M.H., A.H.G., with Arlene Valentine

Research in animals has shown that Astragalus apparently works by stimulating several factors of the immune system, including enhancing phagocytic activity of monocytes and macrophages, increasing interferon production and natural killer cell activity, enhancing T-cell activity, and potentiating other antiviral mechanisms. Astragalus appears particularly useful in cases where the immune system has been damaged by chemicals or radiation. In immunodepressed mice, astragalus has been found to reverse the T-cell abnormalities caused by cyclophosphamide, radiation, and aging.
- Textbook of Natural Medicine 2nd Edition Volume 1 by Michael T. Murray, ND

In the exotic language of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), astragalus boosts the immune system by "stabilizing the exterior" and strengthening the "chi." The Chinese knew thousands of years ago that astragalus could strengthen our shield ("exterior") against disease and increase overall vitality (chi), long before anyone knew about bacteria, white blood cells, or the immune system. You may already be accustomed to taking echinacea at the first sign of a cold or flu, or when people around you are getting sick. How is astragalus different?
- The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs by Robert S. McCaleb, Evelyn Leigh, and Krista Morien

The effectiveness of astragalus and the fu-zheng treatment was put to the test in a study of cancer patients undertaken at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in the early 1980s. After giving a specially prepared astragalus extract to 19 cancer patients and 15 healthy people, doctors found that the treatment restored immune system functioning in the majority of the patients. In some cases, it made the cancer patients' immune systems resemble those of the healthy subjects. The researchers concluded that astragalus contains a potent immune stimulant.
- Nature's Medicines : From Asthma to Weight Gain, from Colds to High Cholesterol -- The Most Powerful All-Natural Cures by Gale Maleskey

They use astragalus to boost immune function during and after radiation or chemotherapy treatments. When cancer invades your body, your immune system naturally weakens. In the advanced stages of the disease or after rounds of chemotherapy or radiation - which are lifesaving but very toxic treatments - your immune system can be devastated.
- Nature's Medicines : From Asthma to Weight Gain, from Colds to High Cholesterol -- The Most Powerful All-Natural Cures by Gale Maleskey

Also known as huang qi, astragalus has been used for centuries by the Chinese to boost energy and vitality. Several studies of the herb have convinced me that it's an immune system stimulant as well. In fact, it appears to be almost as effective as echinacea. Astragalus helps counteract TRF. And because the herb enhances immunity, it helps treat all manner of infections, which can deplete your energy. But the herb's effects are subtle, very subtle, so don't expect a coffee buzz.
- The Green Pharmacy Anti-Aging Prescriptions: Herbs, Foods, and Natural Formulas to Keep You Young by James A. Duke, Ph.D.

To fight infections without stimulating the components of the immune system that aggravate lupus, use astragalus or Scutellaria. Astragalus increases activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which fight infection. For people who are responding well to steroid drugs, taking astragalus reduces the risk of infection, especially when infections are "going around." Take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of the freeze-dried herb in capsules three times daily. However, be sure to let the doctor know if you are taking astragalus, since it increases the body's response to steroids.
- Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

Astragalus also is useful in the treatment of viral myocarditis, a flulike infection that affects the heart. Astragalus treats infections caused by Proteus, which can cause kidney stones. Astragalus increases the body's production of the immune-system chemical interleukin-2 (IL-2). It also releases polysaccharides that act in the same way as important antibodies, complementing their production by the immune system. Chinese studies have found that astragalus increases the activity of lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells, an immune-system component.
- Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

Astragalus is known as an immune stimulant. It works by stimulating the body's production of interferon (antiviral compounds) and by restoring red blood cell formation in bone marrow. Because it stimulates the immune system, astragalus is being used to treat HIV viral infections, pneumonia, and cardiac arrhythmia.
- The Doctor's Complete Guide to Vitamins and Minerals by Dr. Mary Dan Eades

As with most Chinese herbs, astragalus is generally used in a formula that's made up of a blend of herbs, and it's a perfectly good addition to soup or rice. In fact, in China, it's not uncommon to use astragalus root as a standard ingredient in cooking. There is not a whole lot known about the exact constituents of astragalus that boost the immune system. Large, sugarlike molecules known as polysaccharides probably help to stimulate the "good" immune cells. Astragalus also contains substances called saponins, which have a similar immunity-enhancing effect.
- The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies by Mark Stengler, N.D.

Preliminary research suggests that astragalus may also have powerful anticancer properties. In a study conducted at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, researchers found that a water extraction of astragalus restored or enhanced the function of T-cells (white blood cells that play specific roles in the immune system) taken from people with cancer. In some cases, astragalus stimulated the damaged cells to greater activity than found in normal cells taken from healthy individuals.
- The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs by Robert S. McCaleb, Evelyn Leigh, and Krista Morien

Anderson Hospital in Houston found that astragalus was able to enhance the immune capacity using the cultured blood of cancer patients as well as augment the anti-tumor ability of Interferon-2. In a study of 176 patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancers of the gastro-intestinal tract, astragalus and ginseng were able to prevent the normal immune depression and weight loss that occurs. In a variety of human studies, astragalus has been shown to stimulate various parameters of the immune system, has anti-tumor activity, and inhibits the spreading (metastasis) of cancer.
- Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS

In addition to general immune strengthening, astragalus offers powerful help when immunity is severely challenged. Clinical studies show astragalus infusion highly effective at improving and restoring T-cell functioning, improving bone marrow activity, and augmenting interferon response. Chinese hospitals give astragalus to strengthen the immune systems of those with cancer, and to protect them from the detrimental effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
- Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way by Susun S. Weed

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.

About the author: Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

In 2013, Adams created the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, a research lab that analyzes common foods and supplements, reporting the results to the public. He is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

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

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

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

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
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, 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

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
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, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

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.