(NaturalNews) Astragalus is a traditional Chinese medicinal herb that has been around for over 4,000 years. Astragalus is an adaptogenic, nontoxic herb and plant extract that helps the body resist the damaging effects of stress while restoring normal physiological function. Astragalus aids adrenal function, digestion, metabolism, combats fatigue and increases stamina. Astragalus is very effective in helping people with AIDS and has even proven to have an anti-tumor effect and can increase the efficacy of chemotherapy.
A native plant of China, astragalus is officially known as astragalus membranaceus: AKA Milk Vetch Root and Huang Qi. Astragalus is a perennial plant that grows up to 4 feet tall. The root of the plant has a sweet taste and contains choline, flavonoids, amino acids-gamma aminobutyric acid, canavanine, beta-sitosterol, saponins (astragalosides) and oil. The primary actions of astragalus are adaptogenic and immunomodulating. The secondary actions are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, cardiotonic, diuretic and hepatoprotective.
Astragalus is an herb that has actions in nearly all of the body systems. It is used to treat chronic colds, Epstein Barr Virus, HIV and candida by preventing infection recurrence. Astragalus stimulates bone marrow blood cells while enhancing deep immune strength. Studies show that the polysaccharides in astragalus increase phagocytosis (the engulfing of microorganism invaders by the immune system), increase production of immunoglobulins and macrophages and modulate the pituitary-adrenal cortical activity. Astragalus protects the kidneys and lungs from damage from autoantibody complexes, regulates sweating, decreases fatigue and increases tolerance to stress.
Astragalus protects against oxidative damage by increasing mitochondrial function without increasing the mitochondrial oxygen consumption. In the liver, astragalus is a mild choleretic and also increases repairs in chronic viral hepatitis while reducing inflammation and other symptoms. Astragalus also lengthens telomeres for longevity (TA 65 is a very pricey extract made from Astragalus that is touted to reduce all the effects of aging and mimics pretty much all the benefits of the inexpensive herb form of astragalus). Astragalus even increases motility of human sperm.
Astragalus is considered to be a cardiac tonic. In the cardiovascular system, the saponins in astragalus inhibit lipid peroxidation in the myocardium and one study using patients with angina revealed that cardiac output increased after two weeks of treatment. Astragalus strengthens left ventricular function and reduces free radical damage in patients after a heart attack and increases super oxide dismutase activity in cardiac muscle.
Astragalus: the unsung cancer fighter
Studies at the University of Houston have shown that astragalus can improve immune function in cancer patients by increasing T-cell counts. Astragalus increases the ability of NK cells and T-cells to kill cancer cells while switching on the anti-tumor activity of Interleukin-2. In chemotherapy treatments astragalus provides anti-neoplastic activity and decreases immunosupression. Astragalus reduces the consequences with both chemo and radiation of fatigue, weight loss, anemia, nausea and loss of strength while increasing WBC production for leucopenia (a common side effect of immunosuppressive therapy), thereby decreasing life-threatening infections.
Even though this incredible herb is listed on the Botanical Herbs Board Exams and in the Compendium of Pharmacological Actions of Medicinal Plants and Their Constituents, naming the benefits of astragalus can bring a warning letter from both the FDA and FTC, as Dr. Andrew Weil found out when he listed the benefits of taking astragalus to prevent the swine flu. So don't expect to see any of this information on a vitamin or herb label. Despite what modern medicine and the FDA says, healing did occur long before pharmaceuticals were invented. True health comes by good foods, minerals, herbs, fasting and cleansing. Astragalus is a good guy for natural health!
Compendium of Pharmacological Actions of Medicinal Plants and Their Constituents, Compiled and copyrighted by Eric Yarnell, ND Actions of Medicinal Plants 2007 Eric Yarnell, ND
Zhang CZ, Wang SX, Zhang Y, Chen JP, Liang XM. "In vitro estrogenic activities of Chinese medicinal plants traditionally used for the management of menopausal symptoms." J Ethnopharmacol 2005;98(3):295-300.
Nutrition 740 notes Spring 2006, Dr. Mona Morstein, SCNM
About the author: Craig Stellpflug is a Cancer Nutrition Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Neuro Development Consultant at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. http://www.healingpathwayscancerclinic.com/ With 17 years of clinical experience working with both brain disorders and cancer, Craig has seen first-hand the devastating effects of vaccines and pharmaceuticals on the human body and has come to the conclusion that a natural lifestyle and natural remedies are the true answers to health and vibrant living. You can find his daily health blog at www.blog.realhealthtalk.com and his articles and radio show archives at www.realhealthtalk.com