The name Astragalus refers to a whole host of herbal and shrub species encompassing over 3000 varieties within the genus. A member of the legume family, Astragalus is also referred to as goat’s thorn, milkvetch, and locoweed.
Native to the Northern hemisphere where the climate is mild or temperate, Astragalus grows easily in standard conditions. In nature, the herb is the primary food source for many species of moth. A few of the species of Astragalus that sprout decorative flowers are grown and employed in ornamental displays or gardens.
Benefits of Astragalus
Astragalus has been utilized for centuries in ancient Chinese medicinal practices. Among the many health benefits and treatment uses accredited to the plant, the most popular is its effect on digestive ailments. Known to decrease the level of acidity in the human stomach, the herb is often prescribed for acid reflux as well as ulcers.
The herb is also acknowledged to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies have shown that Astragalus has demonstrated positive effects when used in correlation with chemotherapy treatments. Other studies have shown that Astragalus works well to improve the immune systems of patients suffering from HIV or AIDS. It is also effective in treating:
- Chronic hepatitis
- Genital herpes
- Cancer (breast, cervical, lungs)
Astragalus is sold in a myriad of forms, including tinctures, powders, capsules, and teas. The herb is easy to store and even easier to mix into prepared foods. Users should not mix Astragalus with teas or foods that include sugar, as the Astragalus and sugar will counteract each other.
While this is not harmful to the person taking the herb, it will defeat the purpose of taking the supplement. If drank as a tea, the patient may do so daily without fear of overdose. Astragalus itself does not have any side effects, however, it is often sold as an immune system booster along with other supplemental herbs.
Astragalus is easy to find and inexpensive. The only warning presented by herbalists and physicians is to pay attention to what other herbs may be combined with Astragalus to create certain supplement forms.
Have you ever used this herb?