What is Astragalus?

Astragalus is an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is also known as huang qi or milk vetch. Astragalus root is used to make teas, extracts, and capsules. It is said to have many health benefits, including boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and aiding in digestion.

Astragalus is a member of the pea family and is native to China, Mongolia, and Korea. The plant grows up to three feet tall and has small yellow or white flowers. The underground part of the plant, the root, is where the majority of the health benefits are found.

Health Benefits of Astragalus

Astragalus is most commonly used to boost the immune system. It is said to help fight off viral infections, such as the common cold and flu. Additionally, astragalus is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is often combined with other herbs to treat a variety of ailments. For example, it is sometimes combined with ginseng to improve mental function and energy levels. It is also sometimes used in conjunction with ginger to treat nausea and vomiting.

Astragalus Root Side Effects and Precautions

Astragalus root is generally considered safe when taken in the recommended dosages. However, it can cause some side effects, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and headaches. Additionally, astragalus root can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and immunosuppressants. Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking astragalus root or any other supplement.

Additionally, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should avoid taking astragalus root. There is not enough research to determine if it is safe for these populations.

To get the most benefit from astragalus root, it is best to take it in capsule form or as an extract. The recommended dosage depends on the individual’s age and health condition. Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Dosages

Capsules: 250–500 mg three times daily

Extract (10% astragaloside IV): 2.5–5 mL three times daily

Tea: 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiling water; infuse for 10–15 minutes.

Tincture (1:2): 2–4 mL three times daily

Interactions

Astragalus might increase the immunosuppressive effects of medications that suppress the immune system. Therefore, people taking immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids or cyclophosphamide should avoid astragalus.

Astragalus might also increase the effects of blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin). Therefore, people taking these medications should avoid astragalus.

It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking astragalus root or any other supplement. Additionally, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should avoid taking astragalus root. There is not enough research to determine if it is safe for these populations.

Pharmacokinetics

Astragalus root is generally considered safe when taken in the recommended dosages. However, it can cause some side effects, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and headaches. Additionally, astragalus root can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and immunosuppressants. Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking astragalus root or any other supplement.

The recommended dosage of astragalus root depends on the individual’s age and health condition. Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Alternatives to Astragalus

There are many other herbs that are traditionally used to boost the immune system. Some of these include echinacea, goldenseal, and garlic. Additionally, probiotics and vitamin C are also thought to be helpful for boosting the immune system.

It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements. This is especially important for those who have a medical condition or take medications on a regular basis. Additionally, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should avoid taking supplements unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.