Astragalus: What it is, Properties, Benefits, Uses, Contraindications

Astragalus: what it is, properties, benefits, uses, contraindications. In this article; What is the contraindication for Astragalus? What is Astragalus used for? Is Astragalus safe to take everyday? answers to the questions and astragalus benefits, astragalus cancer benefits, Can anyone take Astragalus? You can find all the curious about…

What is Astragalus?

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a perennial plant particularly valued by traditional Chinese and Oriental medicine. Scientific studies attest to the formidable immune-stimulating, antioxidant and adaptogenic tonic properties of the remedy. In phytotherapy, astragalus is mainly used to strengthen the immune system, combat insomnia, and preserve heart health.

It is commercially available as a dietary supplement, mother tincture, and in herbal tea cuts. Although the plant boasts countless therapeutic virtues, it is not without contraindications. Astragalus is also the name of an important bone for the ankle joint. The homonymy with the plant comes from the similarity of the plant’s inflorescences to the calcaneus.

The botanical name for astragalus is Astragalus membranaceus. It is an herbaceous perennial species belonging to the Fabaceae (leguminous) family. The plant is native to the Far East and China and spreads mainly in the grassy, forested areas of the Northern Hemisphere, which are dominated by a temperate climate. The Chinese plant is particularly valued in Eastern and Western phytotherapy for its immune-stimulating, antioxidant and adaptogenic tonic properties.

As rich in saponins, polysaccharides, and flavonoids, the roots constitute the drug of the plant and undergo special extraction processes to produce extracts titrated in polysaccharides. To benefit from the therapeutic effects of the plant, the remedy can be purchased not only in the form of a dietary supplement and mother tincture drops but also in herbal tea cuts.

Chemical constituents

The drug consists of the root of the plant. In the chemical composition of astragalus we mainly find saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides: substances with a positive impact on human health. Saponins act not only on lowering bad cholesterol, but also strengthen the immune system. Flavonoids are credited with significant antioxidant properties suitable for preventing the onset of heart disease.

In contrast, polysaccharides give the remedy anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Benefits and properties of astragalus

Strengthens the immune system
Plant compounds in astragalus root act on the immune system by strengthening it. The medicinal plant increases white blood cell production and stimulates the body’s defenses, preventing the onset of certain diseases. In addition, the adaptogenic properties of astragalus help the immune system to mount an effective defense in eradicating pathogens. Therefore, it is believed that the remedy may be useful in coping with colds and certain viral-type infections.

Relieves coughs and colds

Due to astragalus’ antiviral abilities, the Chinese remedy is effective in the treatment of cold diseases. In particular, when used together with plants with similar therapeutic properties, such as:

  • Ginseng.
  • Angelica.
  • Licorice.

Therefore, taking astragalus supplements before the arrival of the coldest months of the year can help prevent or reduce the frequency of diseases affecting the respiratory system.

Improves cardiac function

Flavonoids in the remedy act as antioxidants, preventing both plaque buildup in the arteries and narrowing of blood vessel walls.

A 2014 study reported in the Chinese Journal of Integrative medicine reveals that an injection based on astragalus extract, combined with conventional treatments to treat viral myocarditis, succeeds in significantly improving the heart condition.

In addition, the Chinese plant lowers blood pressure and triglyceride levels in the blood, preventing the onset of heart disease.

Keeps blood sugar in check

The saponins, flavonoids, and polysaccharides found in astragalus root are effective in reducing blood glucose levels. It appears that with daily intake of 40 to 60 grams of the drug, for up to 4 months of treatment, there is a significant improvement in fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels.

In addition, the Chinese plant is able to increase insulin sensitivity and protects pancreatic beta cells by acting as an anti-inflammatory against symptoms associated with diabetes.

Astragalus: an ally against urinary disorders

The Chinese plant supports kidney health by improving blood flow and markers that indicate proper kidney function. In addition, astragalus is able to improve proteinuria-a condition present in many people with kidney disorders.

It is believed that taking astragalus remedies succeeds in preventing the occurrence of infections in individuals with impaired kidney function.

Relieves symptoms of chronic fatigue

Astragalus supplements can improve the feeling of exhaustion that characterizes chronic fatigue syndrome. Especially when combined with other plants with energizing properties.

In addition, in traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus finds use in restoring immunological balance challenged by intensive training. The remedy works through increasing oxygen uptake, so that physical fatigue is significantly reduced.

Reduces allergy attacks

Astragalus root acts on histamine by inhibiting the release of the molecule. Therefore, taking supplements based on the Chinese plant can keep allergic reactions characterized by itchy nose, rhinitis, and other irritating symptoms under control.

It is also used in the treatment of chronic asthma as a supplementary therapy to conventional remedies. Following treatment with the medicinal plant, there is an effective reduction in mucus production and the degree of inflammation.

Astragalus to counteract stress

Astragalus can effectively reduce stress levels by imparting feelings of calm and indirectly affecting the well-being of the entire body. For those who suffer from mood swings and nervous tension, the Chinese plant is an excellent natural solution to restore proper hormonal balance.

Anti-inflammatory action
The saponins and polysaccharides present in astragalus are credited with anti-inflammatory properties that can counteract states of inflammation associated with certain conditions and diseases.

It also appears that constant intake of the remedy helps speed up the healing process of minor wounds and injuries.

Promotes night rest

If you suffer from insomnia and disturbed sleep, regular intake of astragalus extracts is particularly indicated in quickly restoring the correct circadian rhythm.

The plant succeeds in ensuring a healthy, restorative night’s rest by acting on both metabolic efficiency and hormonal balance.

Astragalus: natural anti-aging

Consistent use of astragalus remedies can significantly reduce signs of aging affecting the face by promoting tissue renewal and neutralizing free radicals.

Therefore, the Chinese plant plays a key preventive role in the onset of certain chronic diseases.

How to use astragalus
Astragalus is attributed many therapeutic properties, in particular it acts as an immunostimulant, antioxidant, and energetic. Chinese root extracts, can be purchased mainly in the form of: dietary supplements produced in capsule or tablet form, mother tincture and in vials.

Mother tincture of astragalus

Useful for strengthening the body’s defenses; it also has an adaptogenic tonic action.

To benefit from a preventive immune-stimulating action, take 20 to 30 drops of the remedy once a day. In cases of flu, fever, cough and cold, administer 30 to 40 drops, twice a day, away from meals.

Dietary supplement to promote the body’s natural defenses.
Formulated as capsules or tablets containing the dry extract of the plant root titrated to 50 percent polysaccharides. Take one capsule daily, accompanied by a glass of water, with a meal.

Astragalus Vials

Formulated in liquid solution, contained in ampoules, with adaptogenic tonic and immune-stimulating properties. Useful for combating typical ailments of the winter season.

Take one ampoule (15 ml) in the morning by diluting it in a glass of water. The treatment should be repeated daily for one month.

Immunostimulant decoction

Boil 3 grams of astragalus root in 200 ml of water for about 5 minutes. After that, let it steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and take two to three cups daily.

Natural remedy for an energy boost with astragalus


  • Ginseng root: 60 grams.
  • Astragalus root: 20 grams.
  • Licorice root: 20 grams.

Mix the mixture and add 40 grams of the remedy to one liter of water. Let the solution boil for 10 minutes and strain. Take one cup in the morning.

To enhance the immune-stimulating action of astragalus, you can work in synergy with other plants with similar properties, such as:

  • Eleutherococcus.
  • Schisandra.
  • Rhodiola.
  • Echinacea.

To cope with particularly stressful times, the remedy is combined with sage root.

Recommended dosage.

Astragalus root is commercially available in different formulations. Although it is usually found in the form of capsules or liquid extract. In addition, through grinding the root, a powdered solution can be obtained for use in the preparation of herbal teas.

The recommended daily dosage ranges from a minimum of 9 grams to a maximum of 30 grams, but could vary depending on the disorder being treated. It is considered sufficient to keep the glycemic index under control to take 40-60 grams in decoction for 4 continuous months.

Alternatively, to reduce the risk of occurrence of urinary tract infections, administer 7.5 to 15 grams of the powdered drug, twice daily, for up to 6 months. In treating chronic fatigue, drink daily a decoction prepared from 60 grams of astragalus root along with other herbs with similar therapeutic properties.

Finally, to relieve seasonal allergies, take 60 grams of astragalus extract daily for up to 4 months. Despite the presence of such guidelines, there are currently no scientific studies showing that high-dose, long-term administration of the drug is safe.

Uses in cooking

Astragalus root is edible. It can be eaten fresh or accompanied by a little honey. Also in the Chinese culinary arts, it is particularly found in soups and stews to enrich their flavor.

Contraindications of astragalus

Astragalus acts by increasing the activity of the immune system so it should not be taken in the presence of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In the presence of diabetes or blood pressure disorders, the use of astragalus should be done with caution.

Interaction with drugs

The plant could affect the action of drugs by inhibiting the therapeutic effects of immunosuppressants. In particular, concomitant use of the remedy with tacrolimus and cyclosporine is not recommended.

It may reduce the effectiveness of antiestrogen drugs prescribed to treat certain types of cancer. In addition, the remedy could both cause bleeding in people taking anticoagulants and excessively lower blood pressure if taken together with antihypertensive drugs. Astragalus makes it difficult for the body to eliminate lithium, which is why it exposes people to a risk of dangerous accumulation of the metal.


As a precaution, use of the remedy during pregnancy and lactation is not recommended.

and take immunosuppressant drugs, anticoagulant drugs, hormone treatments, lithium, and medicines for hypertension, you should inform your health care provider before taking the remedy.

Side effects of astragalus

Usually taking astragalus supplements is well tolerated. In rare cases, minor reactions have been reported such as:

  • Headache.
  • Skin rash.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.

If there is a condition of hypersensitivity to the active ingredients of the medicinal plant, it is recommended to discontinue use immediately.

Intravenous administration of astragalus should be done under medical supervision in order to avoid the occurrence of serious side effects such as irregular heartbeat.

Purchasing tips

Dried astragalus root supplements can be purchased at herbalist shops and specialty retailers both physical and online. In addition, dried root, reduced to thin slices, can be purchased in Chinese herbalist shops for use in food.

A higher concentration of polysaccharides indicates the good quality of the product. It is advisable to prefer supplements that meet the guidelines provided for organic farming so that certificates of analysis of the raw material can be viewed.

Astragalus: botany

Astragalus can stand up to 40 cm in height. The root is cylindrical in shape, inflexible and unbranched. The surface of the root system, colored grayish-yellow, appears hard and particularly rough. In contrast, the inner flesh has a yellowish-brown hue and a woody texture.

A delicate fragrance and a sweetish taste are further characteristic traits of the root. The grayish-brown bark is marked by irregular longitudinal grooves. The stems are branched while the imparipinnate leaves are arranged alternately along the branches. It also has fruits consisting of pods, containing seeds, and inflorescences grouped in racemes.

Historical background

Since ancient times, astragalus has been renowned in traditional Chinese and Western medicine for its anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties. It mainly finds use in the treatment of colds, stress and chronic fatigue.

In addition, in Chinese territory the plant is called ‘huang qi” and is known to be the best QI adaptogen remedy: emblem of the life force of every living being. In Eastern pharmacopoeia, astragalus is used purely to treat:

  • Immunodeficienza.
  • Astenia.
  • Alcune patologie gastrointestinali.
  • Deperimento.
  • Inappetenza.

Nel territorio asiatico, la pianta si utilizza singolarmente o in associazione con altre piante asiatiche per trattare disturbi anche importanti. Difatti trova principalmente impiego nella cura delle miocarditi di origine virale, dell’amenorrea e della fibrosi epatica. Oltre a fungere da rimedio tonico e antivirale.

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