Astragalus. The name alone sounds as though it belongs up with the stars, the planets, and the cosmos if you ask us. And while astragalus is an earth-bound plant, its powerful root has been used for centuries due to its out-of-this-world wellness benefits.
What Is Astragalus?
Also known as Huang Qi or milk vetch, astragalus plants are members of the legume family Fabaceae. With hairy stems covered in pairs of leaflets that sprout small yellow flowers, the astragalus plants are perennial plants that can grow to about four feet tall. These shrubs are common in China, Mongolia, and Korea.
While there are more than 2,000 species of astragalus, only two are medicinal: Astragalusmembranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus.
The root of these astragalus plants has played an important role in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The plant’s golden root is one of the adaptogenic herbs, meaning it can help support the body’s natural stress management system, which helps to support our overall wellbeing in several ways.
The active ingredients within the astragalus root can help support the immune system and can support the body’s natural wound healing process. Read on to learn more about why astragalus continues to serve as such a popular herb.
What Are the Health Benefits of Astragalus?
The bioactive ingredients found within the astragalus root can work in harmony within the body to provide support. With antioxidant-rich polysaccharides and saponins, flavonoids, and terpenes, the astragalus root can support the body’s immune system and maintain overall wellness.
May Help Reduce Redness and Swelling
Research suggests that the properties of astragalus may have properties that can soothe swelling and discomfort associated with swollen muscles or irritated skin.
Supports the Immune System
The same antioxidant properties found in the astragalus root that can help soothe discomfort may also support your body’s natural immune system.
The body’s immune system is responsible for fighting off infections from outside forces such as bacteria, viruses, germs, and pollutants. The immune system comprises numerous organs, cells, and proteins that work together to keep the body safe.
A stronger immune system is more capable of warding off outside threats. There are plenty of ways to keep your immune system healthy such as getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and eating vitamin-rich fruits and veggies. And another tool you can add to your immune-supporting arsenal is astragalus tea!
The antioxidants in the astragalus root, including the bioactive compound astragaloside IV, can help support the immune system’s defenses. Astragalus may also help maintain the body’s natural production of white blood cells, which play a vital role in the immune system by working to fight off infections and diseases.
Can Help Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure
Along with helping protect from outside invaders, astragalus can also help maintain your heart health.
Many people use astragalus root to help maintain healthy blood pressure. High blood pressure can occur when blood flows through the arteries at a higher pressure than usual, increasing the risk of certain heart issues over time.
May Fight Free Radical Damage
As if antioxidants aren’t doing enough good already, they have one more trick up their sleeve: These tiny molecules can stabilize free radicals within the body, which may also maintain healthy cells.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can multiply within the body by destroying healthy cells. While some free radicals are naturally released during metabolic function, they can also enter the body in greater numbers through exposure to pollutants and toxins such as smoke, exhaust gas, or overexposure to UV rays from the sun.
The body becomes less capable of fighting off free radicals as we age. Free radicals destroy skin cells and can lead to wrinkles and lines. Free radicals can also wear on the heart over time through oxidative stress.
By stabilizing free radicals and blocking them from oxidizing cells, antioxidants can help support our skin and muscle tissue and further support heart health.
When we consume the dried astragalus root, the powerful herb can support the body’s natural immune defenses to combat free radicals while stimulating the body’s natural production of a potent antioxidant known as superoxide dismutase.
Supports Wound Healing
The properties of the astragalus root may support the body’s natural wound healing process.
Research suggests that the bioactive compounds in the astragalus plant can work within the body to help support natural cycle progression and support natural wound healing. Whenever we sustain an injury to the skin, such as a cut or wound, cells and proteins within the body work together to address the issue as quickly as possible.
First, clots help stop further blood loss, and then the blood vessels open to allow more nutrients and oxygen to reach the wound. Specific cells help protect the injury from infection and produce growth factors to help repair the wound. Then, new blood cells come to build new tissue, and the cell cycle process helps strengthen the new tissue over time.
Of course, depending on the severity of the wound, the healing process can take longer, and further steps may be needed to help prevent infection and strengthen new tissue. The APS2-1 compound found within the astragalus membrane has been found to support the body’s natural wound healing process.
APS2-1 may also support wound healing by helping to soothe discomfort and support healthy cell regeneration. At the same time, the astragalus root’s properties support a healthy immune response against potential stressors.
Helps Support Treatment for Colds and Flu
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), astragalus is used to soothe colds, viral infections, and other lung and upper respiratory infections. Evidence suggests that the astragalus root’s ability to maintain the natural production of white blood cells may be at play here to help bring relief when facing a winter cold or flu.
Early evidence also suggests that astragalus root may also help provide feelings of relief and comfort during seasonal allergies in combination with certain minerals.
So whether you’re feeling the first throat tickle of a winter cold or the pollen from the spring bloom, a soothing cup of astragalus tea could be just what you need.
How Should I Use Astragalus?
Several forms are available if you’re interested in trying astragalus out for yourself. The golden root of the plant is used as an ingredient in herbal supplements, capsules, liquid extracts or tinctures, decoctions, soups, or tea bags.
For herb teas, the astragalus root is dried and sometimes ground into a powder suitable for brewing. Hot water helps draw out the antioxidant-rich polysaccharides, allowing you to reap the benefits of this magnificent herb.
Astragalus has a mild earthy flavor and slightly sweet taste, ideal for crafting a cozy tea to support healthy immune function.
Here at the Apothecary, we incorporate organic astragalus root tea into our Cosmic Cleanse CBD Tea. Paired with rooibos, licorice root, and marshmallow root, this delightful herbal blend is smooth and lightly spiced with floral and woody tasting notes sure to soothe your senses.
And because it is completely caffeine-free, you can use this transcendental cup of tea to align your mind, body, and soul any time of day or night.
What Are the Potential Risks and Side Effects of Astragalus?
Astragalus root is considered extremely safe with few side effects when taken in low doses. Occasionally, minor side effects may include a rash, runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea.
Astragalus root is not recommended for people with immune system diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune diseases. Because astragalus can affect blood sugar and blood pressure, you should speak to a doctor if you have blood pressure conditions before using astragalus root.
You also should not use astragalus if you are taking certain medications such as immune-suppressing drugs or are pregnant or nursing.
Because herbal supplements can interact with other herbs or drugs, it is always best to speak with a healthcare provider before adding new herbal supplements such as astragalus root to your diet.
While most people can use astragalus root without any issues or serious side effects, high doses may affect the immune system. While there is no standard dose, a typical recommended daily dose falls between three and 30 grams (three to 10 tablespoons).
As always, ensure you use any astragalus supplements or teas as directed in the instructions. A healthcare professional can also help you determine the right dose for your specific wellness needs.
Astragalus root is a cosmically powerful herb used for thousands of years to offer immune support, support the body’s natural wound healing process, and support healthy heart function.
You can enjoy the astragalus root’s many wellness benefits and delightful taste in our awe-inspiring, immune-supporting, and gut-healthy caffeine-free Cosmic Cleanse CBD tea.
You can find Cosmic Cleanse and all of our organic CBD and herbal teas and products at The Brothers Apothecary shop!