Astragalus Root Extract
500 mg - 100 Vcaps
Traditional Chinese medicine has used astragalus for many conditions. Medical journals suggest the herb may stimulate the immune system and the body's ability to resist and combat various diseases.
While there are many thousands of varieties of astragalus the Chinese version of the herb has been the most extensively tested, both chemically and pharmacologically. Astragalus contains a variety of compounds, including flavonoids, polysaccharides, triterpene glycosides (e.g., astragalosides I-VII), amino acids, and trace minerals.*
Research in China indicates that astragalus may offer antioxidant benefits in people with severe forms of heart disease. Other studies suggest that astragalus can benefit immune function and improve survival in some people with cancer. However, not all studies support these claims, and more are needed.*
In the United States, astragalus has been the subject of much study in recent years. Studies at the University of Houston have shown that astragalus may help improve immunity function by increasing T-cell counts.*
Because astragalus has many potential applications and few, if any, side effects, it holds promise as an alternative treatment option.
Astragalus has been used in connection with the following:
- Heart health*
- Diabetes Support*
- Anti-Aging and Antioxidative Support*
- Protects Cardiovascular System*
- Provides Supplemental Therapy for Chronic Asthma*
- Boosts Immune function*
- Slows or Prevents Tumors*
- Treats Colds and Flus.
- Fights Fatigue*
- Liver Protection*
Astragalus has no known harmful side-effects.
Astragalus is an exciting and potentially promising herb. Further research may prove astragalus to be invaluable in the medical treatment of a variety of conditions and illnesses.
Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 50-53.Shu HY. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide. Palos Verdes, CA: Oriental Healing Arts Press, 1986, 520-523.Klepser T, Nisly N. Astragalus as an adjunctive therapy in immunocompromised patients. Alt Med Alert 1999;Nov:125-128.
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What Is Astragalus?
Astragalus root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a restorative tonic; it is considered a sweet, warming herb with effects on many organs. It is used either alone or with other herbs to help with aging, improve energy, and stimulate the immune system during conditions such as the common cold, blood disorders, cancer and HIV/AIDS. It is also used as an adaptogen, which is meant to increase general resistance to stress and disease, and normalize disturbances in your body’s ability to balance itself.
The root is sold as a supplement in tablets of different dosages.
How Does It Work?
There's a special chemical in astragalus that actually slows down the aging process right where it happens, inside of our cells, where the blueprint of our cells resides.
Recent research has shown that this special chemical derived from astragalus can "turn on" an enzyme called telomerase (hTERT). Telomerase acts to maintain or lengthen telomeres, which extend the lifespan of your DNA. If you imagine DNA as a shoelace, telomeres are the plastic aglets at each end. It serves as a protector for your DNA because it keeps it from fraying or damaging. As you age, your telomeres shorten due to wear and tear, which gives your cells an expiration date. However, telomerase helps to preserve telomeres by making them longer. Telemerase is usually "off" in adult cells, except in immune cells, in egg and sperm cells, and in malignant cells, like those found in cancer.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the astragalus root is good for problems that arise in the body because of spleen deficiencies. However, here’s a look at some of the other ways in which it can benefit us:
- Astragalus root has been used since time immemorial to infuse the body with energy, gain more strength, and enhance metabolism. Moreover, it has been credited with making the immune system stronger as well.*
- People suffering from night sweats seem to have benefited from the astragalus root. It also helps keep away colds and prevents diarrhea, thus making it an overall excellent medicine.*
- Wounds and injuries seem to heal faster when astragalus root is mixed in with the medicine and consumed.*
- Some of the other functions performed by the astragalus root include improving lung function, bettering the health of the adrenal glands and the gastrointestinal tract, and reducing fatigue greatly.*
- There has been some research conducted on the effects of astragalus root, which shows that it can reduce some of the severity of atopic dermatitis and even asthma. However, these studies have mostly been conducted on rodents, and human trials haven’t yet been performed to ensure the accuracy of these claims. Nevertheless, there is plenty of hope with the astragalus root.*
Research on the benefits of the astragalus root has been conducted in China extensively, but it hasn't been corroborated as yet by Western medical practitioners. Despite some skepticism on this subject, it’s good to know that the astragalus root is being used for the following health problems as well:
- Astragalus can help control the hazardous effects of chemotherapy, which is the standard procedure to kill cancerous cells. These studies have also claimed that astragalus root induces the production of interferon, an important chemical of the immune system which also helps fight cancer.*
- Some studies have indicated that astragalus can be used in the fight against AIDS. It is also known to be helpful against lupus and can even prevent aging.*
- Clinical studies in China have shown that astragalus root can be used to treat chronic aplastic anemia. The results were indeed very favorable.*
- The astragalus root is mainly composed of polysaccharides, which have some beneficial effects on insulin resistance and hyperglycemia.*
- There are some studies that have shown that the astragalus root can protect the heart tissue and prevent heart failure as well.*
- In some cases, the astragalus root can act as a diuretic and be of great help to those suffering from kidney problems.*
- The astragalus root contains cycloastragenols and astragalosides, two powerful molecules that have been shown to activate telomerase enzyme production.*
All these studies have claimed that there are no side effects on humans. However, the results of these studies have mostly been published in obscure journals in the Far East, and the promises of the efficacy of this root haven’t yet breached Western barriers. Nevertheless, the astragalus root appears to be a wonder herb, and much is to be said for all these studies that have been conducted by Chinese scientists.*
Typically, astragalus is completely safe and non-toxic and does not have any side effects. However, when taken along with certain other medications, there may be some complications because of the interaction of Astragalus with the drug. Also, the astragalus root can increase the effects of immune system suppressants, anticoagulants and hypoglycemic agents, so it’s better to consult a doctor before taking astragalus root.*
Astragalus Root Extract is commonly used in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic nephritis, Epstein-Barr syndrome and certain cancers. Considered stronger than Echinacea and can be used by those who suffer with autoimmune conditions.*
Astragalus membranaceus has strong protective effects on free radical-mediated renal tubular damage induced by high-energy shock waves in a rabbit study.  Probably, because of its strong anti-oxidative activities, astragalus may carry many health benefits. Further, swainsonine Golgi α-mannosidase II activity in the N-glycan biosynthesis pathway. As a result, swainsonine inhibits the production of complex β1,6-branched N-linked glycans, which are related to the malignant phenotype of tumor cells. [A1]
Ninety asthmatic children during the remission stage were assigned to the astragalus treatment group (Group A), the hormone treatment group (Group B), and the combined group of astragalus and hormone treatment (Group C), 30 in each. Thirty healthy children were set up as the control group. The total effective rate was higher in Group B (73.3%) than in Group A (66.7%), but with no statistical difference between the two groups. It was highest in Group C (96.7%), showing significant difference from the other two groups. Thus, astragalus played a role in preventing the recurrence of asthma, astragalus may benefit people at risk of asthma. [A7]
Roots of Astragalus species are used to treat leukemia and for wound healing in Turkish folk medicine, and astragalus root is believed to benefit people at risk of various cancers. IL-2 inducing activity of the triterpene saponins might be the mechanism involved for its immunomodulatory and anticancer effects.  Astragalus saponins exert promising anti-tumorigenic effects by suppressing the growth of HT-29 human colon cancer cells and tumor xenograft. Astragalus saponins also showed that it could modulate the invasiveness and angiogenesis of human gastric adenocarcinoma cells
besides its pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative activities. [A9]
The effect of astragalus polysaccharide (dosage: 0.25g/kg/d) on plasma and liver lipids, fecal bile acids and neutral sterol, cholesterol absorption and synthesis, HMG-CoA reductase activity, and gene and protein expressions in the liver and small intestine was investigated in twenty-four hypercholesterolemia hamsters. Treatment periods lasted for three months. Astragalus polysaccharide significantly lowered plasma total cholesterol by 45.8%, triglycerides by 30%, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol by 47.4%, comparable to simvastatin. Further examinations revealed that astragalus polysaccharide reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver, increased fecal bile acid and neutral sterol excretion, inhibited cholesterol absorption, and by contrast, increased hepatic cholesterol synthesis and HMG-CoA reductase activity. Plasma total cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels were significantly correlated with
cholesterol absorption rates. Astragalus polysaccharide up-regulated cholesterol-7α-hydroxylase and LDL-receptor gene expressions. [A5]
In a study, ten-week-old fat-fed streptozotocin-treated rats, an animal model of type II diabetes mellitus, were treated with Astragalus polysaccharide (dosage 400 mg/kg p.o.) for 5 weeks. The diabetic rats responded to astragalus polysaccharide with a significant decrease in body weight, plasma glucose, and improved insulin sensitivity. 
Astragalus has demonstrated a wide range of immunopotentiating effects and has proven efficacious as an adjunct cancer therapy.  Astragalus polysaccharides can activate IL-12-producing CD11c(high)CD45RB(low) dendritic cell, and further induce the activation of immune function of T lymphocyte with shifting of Th2 to Th1 in vitro. APS can enhance the immune response via promoting the phenotypic and functional maturation of CD11c(high)CD45RB(low) DC. [A2] Astragalus polysaccharides markedly increased the titer of foot-and-mouth disease virus-specific antibody in a dose-dependent manner, and up-regulated mRNA expression of IFN-γ and IL-6. [A3]
Astragalus verus Olivier, Fabaceae has been used against ringworm in Kurdish ethnomedicine throughout millennia. [A10]
Intestinal Mucosa Injury*
Previous studies have shown that Astragalus membranaceus could attenuate intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury induced by hemorrhagic shock in rats. Using a hemorrhagic shock rat model to examine the effect of astragalus membranaceus on intestinal mucosa injury induced by ischemia-reperfusion, researchers found that astragalus
membranaceus could partly attenuate intestinal mucosa ischemia-reperfusion injury. [A8]
Astragalus membranaceus is a popular traditional Chinese medicine, commonly used to treat liver disease. Injection of astragalus solution decreased fibrosis and in expression of laminin in a study of rat hepatic stellate cells.  In a study, rats were randomly divided into a normal control group, a liver fibrosis model group and an root extract of Paeonia lactiflora and Astragalus membranaceus (dosage 40, 80, 160 mg•kg-1) treated group. After a 16-week treatment, Paeonia lactiflora and Astragalus membranaceus-treated rats showed significantly reduced liver damage and symptoms of liver fibrosis upon pathological examination. Administration of Paeonia lactiflora and Astragalus membranaceus root extracts significantly decreased serum HA, PC III levels, and content of hydroxyproline in the liver tissue of fibrotic rats. It also restored the decrease in SOD and GSH-Px activities. [A6] Thus, astragulus root may benefit people at risk of liver fibrosis.
Astragaloside IV, a major active constituent of Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch) Bge., is able to prevent the development of hypertension and endothelial dysfunction in fructose-fed rats, by affecting the lipid metabolism, endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and the nitric oxide-cGMP-related pathway. [A4]
Alzheimer's disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder marked by a progressive loss of memory and cognitive function. Stress-level glucocorticoids are correlated with dementia progression in patients with Alzheimer's disease. In a study, 12-month male mice were chronically treated with stress-level dexamethasone (dosage 5 mg/kg) and extract of Astragalus (dosage, 10, 20, and 40 mg/kg) or Ginsenoside Rg1 (Rg1, dosage 6.5 mg/kg) for 21 days. It was found that that dexamethasone can induce learning and memory impairments and neuronal cell apoptosis.Treatment groups with astragalus extract (dosage 20 and 40 mg/kg) or Rg1 (dosage 6.5 mg/kg) significantly improve learning and memory. Thus, astragalus extract may benefit people at risk of certain neuronal disorders. [A11]
Astragalus side effects*
Astragalus is probably SAFE for most healthy adults. The astragalus side effects are not known. Although astragalus side effects have not been reported, high doses might affect the immune system and cause hypoglycemia.
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 The herbalist by David Hoffman, (c)1993 David Hoffman, Hopkins Technology.
 Sinclair S. Chinese herbs: a clinical review of Astragalus, Ligusticum, and Schizandrae. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Oct;3(5):338-44.
 Zhou X. Study on the inhibitive effect of Astragalus Injection solution on hepatic fibrosis in rats Zhonghua Gan Zang Bing Za Zhi. 2005 Aug;13(8):575-8.
 Wu Y. Hypoglycemic effect of Astragalus polysaccharide and its effect on PTP1B. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2005 Mar;26(3):345-52.
 Sheng BW et al, Astragalus membranaceus reduces free radical-mediated injury to renal tubules in rabbits receiving high-energy shock waves. Chin Med J (Engl). 2005 Jan 5;118(1):43-9.
 Yesilada E. et al Effects of triterpene saponins from Astragalus species on in vitro cytokine release. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 4;96(1-2):71-7. [A1] Increased antitumor efficacy by the combined administration of swainsonine and cisplatin in vivo.
Phytomedicine. 2011 Jul 13. [A2] The regulatory effect and mechanism of Astragalus polysaccharides on CD11c(high) CD45RB(low) dendritic cell Zhonghua Shao Shang Za Zhi. 2011 Apr;27(2):95-9.  Enhancement of Astragalus polysaccharide on the immune responses in pigs inoculated with foot-and-mouth disease virus vaccine. Int J Biol Macromol. 2011 Oct 1;49(3):362-8. [A4] Astragaloside IV improves metabolic syndrome and endothelium dysfunction in fructose-fed rats. Molecules. 2011 May 10;16(5):3896-907. [A5] Cheng Y, et al,Astragalus Polysaccharides Lowers Plasma Cholesterol through Mechanisms Distinct from Statins. PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27437 [A6] Sun WY, et al, A standardized extract from Paeonia lactiflora and Astragalus membranaceus attenuates liver fibrosis induced by porcine serum in rats. Int J Mol Med. 2011 Nov 21. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2011.844. [A7] Lin Y, et al, Clinical study of astragalus's preventing the recurrence of asthma in children, Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2011 Aug;31 (8):1090-2. [A8] Chen R, et al, Treatment with Astragalus membranaceus produces antioxidative effects and attenuates intestinal mucosa injury induced by intestinal ischemia-reperfusion in rats. Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(5):879-87. [A9] Auyeung KK, et al, Astragalus saponins modulate cell invasiveness and angiogenesis in human gastric adenocarcinoma cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Aug 12. [A10] Mikaeili A, et al, Antifungal activities of Astragalus verus Olivier. against Trichophyton verrucosum on in vitro and in vivo guinea pig model of dermatophytosis. Mycoses. 2011 Aug 15. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0507.2011.02090.x A11 Li WZ, et al, Protective effect of extract of Astragalus on learning and memory impairments and neurons' apoptosis induced by glucocorticoids in 12-month-old male mice. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2011 Jun;294(6):1003-14.