Astragalus

Immune Support
Astragalus has been shown to enhance immune function through its various plant compounds (1). Specifically, studies indicate that astragalus can increase the body’s production of white blood cells (2). Astragalus may also help to fight viral infections like the common cold (3)

Other research shows astragalus can enhance the antibody response to T-dependent antigens and improve a weakened immune response (4)

In in-vitro studies, astragalus promotes apoptosis of certain cancer cells (5)

Reduces Inflammation
Astragaloside IV and polysaccharides in extracts have exhibited strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and protective properties in clinical and laboratory studies (6, 7). 

Other studies suggest that astragalus can reduce inflammatory conditions such as myocarditis and inflammatory intestinal disorders (8, 9).

Allergy Support
One study finds that a twice-daily dose of astragalus may reduce seasonal and pollen allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose (10)

Respiratory Support
Astragalus is considered a lung tonic and can help to improve lung function. Studies show that astragalus significantly reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections in immunocompromised children (11).

Studies also suggest that astragalus polysaccharides have “significant antitumor activity in lung cancer cells A549 and NCI-H358” and may help defend against lung cancer and other tumor development (12).

Heart Support
Astragalus may help support healthy heart function by widening blood vessels to allow more blood to flow from the heart to the rest of the body (13). Clinical studies show this may be beneficial for those with heart conditions. Patients with heart failure took astragalus for two weeks and later presented with more significant heart function improvements than patients who did not (14)

Other studies indicate that astragalus may help to manage type 2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and supporting weight loss (15)

Gut Health Support
Those managing chemotherapy treatment may find relief from some gastrointestinal side effects with astragalus. Studies show that those undergoing chemotherapy who took astragalus had significant reductions in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (16).

Energy Support
Astragalus may help those with chronic fatigue and as it has been shown to improve feelings of fatigue and tiredness (17).

Studies suggest that astragalus can help fight fatigue and improve extreme tiredness, especially in those undergoing chemotherapy (18)

Kidney Support
Astragalus may support general kidney health, improve chronic kidney disease, and improve blood flow through the kidneys. Studies show that it reduces protein in the urine and could help to manage kidney infections (19)

Mood Support
Astragalus appears to have significant effects on reducing stress and improving brain health. Studies show that astragalus supplementation can improve learning and memory and reduce stress-induced anxiety (20)

Sleep Support
Theoretical evidence from studies suggests that astragalus may improve sleep issues like sleep apnea (21). 

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REFERENCES:

  1. Bao-Mei Shao, Wen Xu, Hui Dai, Pengfei Tu, Zhongjun Li, Xiao-Ming Gao, A study on the immune receptors for polysaccharides from the roots of Astragalus membranaceus, a Chinese medicinal herb,Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Volume 320, Issue 4, 2004, Pages 1103-1111, ISSN 0006-291X, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2004.06.065.
  2. Block KI, Mead MN. Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003 Sep;2(3):247-67. doi: 10.1177/1534735403256419. PMID: 15035888.
  3. Peng TQ, Yang YZ, Kandolf R. [Effect and mechanism of Astragalus membranaceus on coxsackie B3 virus RNA in mice]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1994 Nov;14(11):664-6. Chinese. PMID: 7703635.
  4. K.S. Zhao, C. Mancini, G. Doria. Enhancement of the immune response in mice by Astragalus membranaceus extracts. Immunopharmacology Volume 20, Issue 3. 1990, Pages 225-233, ISSN 0162-3109, https://doi.org/10.1016/0162-3109(90)90038-G.
  5. Ye MN, Chen HF. [Effects of Astragalus injection on proliferation of basal-like breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-468]. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2008 Apr;6(4):399-404. Chinese. doi: 10.3736/jcim20080414. PMID: 18405609.
  6. Hsieh HL, Liu SH, Chen YL, Huang CY, Wu SJ. Astragaloside IV suppresses inflammatory response via suppression of NF-κB, and MAPK signalling in human bronchial epithelial cells. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2020 Feb 14:1-10. doi: 10.1080/13813455.2020.1727525. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32057253.
  7. Jin M, Zhao K, Huang Q, Shang P. Structural features and biological activities of the polysaccharides from Astragalus membranaceus. Int J Biol Macromol. 2014 Mar;64:257-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2013.12.002. Epub 2013 Dec 8. PMID: 24325861.
  8. Piao YL, Liang XC. Astragalus membranaceus injection combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med. 2014 Oct;20(10):787-91. doi: 10.1007/s11655-014-1825-3. Epub 2014 Aug 6. PMID: 25098261.
  9. Adesso, Simona et al. “Astragalus membranaceus Extract Attenuates Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Intestinal Epithelial Cells via NF-κB Activation and Nrf2 Response.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,3 800. 10 Mar. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijms19030800
  10. Matkovic Z, et al. Efficacy and safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):175-81. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2877. PMID: 19504468.
  11. Zou, Chuan et al. “Astragalus in the prevention of upper respiratory tract infection in children with nephrotic syndrome: evidence-based clinical practice.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2013 (2013): 352130. doi:10.1155/2013/352130
  12. Wu, CY., Ke, Y., Zeng, YF. et al. Anticancer activity of Astragalus polysaccharide in human non-small cell lung cancer cells. Cancer Cell Int 17, 115 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12935-017-0487-6
  13. Wang, Deqing et al. “Study of the effects of total flavonoids of Astragalus on atherosclerosis formation and potential mechanisms.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2012 (2012): 282383. doi:10.1155/2012/282383
  14. Yang QY, Lu S, Sun HR. [Effects of astragalus on cardiac function and serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha level in patients with chronic heart failure]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2010 Jul;30(7):699-701. Chinese. PMID: 20929124.
  15. Tian H, Lu J, He H, Zhang L, Dong Y, Yao H, Feng W, Wang S. The effect of Astragalus as an adjuvant treatment in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A (preliminary) meta-analysis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Sep 15;191:206-215. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.05.062. Epub 2016 Jun 3. PMID: 27269392.
  16. Duan P, Wang ZM. [Clinical study on effect of Astragalus in efficacy enhancing and toxicity reducing of chemotherapy in patients of malignant tumor]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2002 Jul;22(7):515-7. Chinese. PMID: 12592686.
  17. Zhang HW, Lin ZX, Xu C, Leung C, Chan LS. Astragalus (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Oct 22;(10):CD008369. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008369.pub2. PMID: 25335553.
  18. Chen HW, Lin IH, Chen YJ, Chang KH, Wu MH, Su WH, Huang GC, Lai YL. A novel infusible botanically-derived drug, PG2, for cancer-related fatigue: a phase II double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study. Clin Invest Med. 2012 Feb 1;35(1):E1-11. doi: 10.25011/cim.v35i1.16100. PMID: 22309959.
  19. Zhang HW, Lin ZX, Xu C, Leung C, Chan LS. Astragalus (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Oct 22;(10):CD008369. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008369.pub2. PMID: 25335553.
  20. Park, Hyun-Jung et al. “The Effects of Astragalus Membranaceus on Repeated Restraint Stress-induced Biochemical and Behavioral Responses.” The Korean journal of physiology & pharmacology : official journal of the Korean Physiological Society and the Korean Society of Pharmacology vol. 13,4 (2009): 315-9. doi:10.4196/kjpp.2009.13.4.315
  21. Zhang Q, Gao WY, Zhang Y, Chen BY, Chen Z, Zhang WS, Man SL. Protective effects of astragalus extract against intermittent hypoxia-induced hippocampal neurons impairment in rats. Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(8):1551-4. PMID: 23595393.