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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
One study finds that a twice-daily dose of astragalus may reduce seasonal and pollen allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose (10).
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).
Theoretical evidence from studies suggests that astragalus may improve sleep issues like sleep apnea (21).