Health Benefits of Astragalus Root
Claims of Astragalus health benefits include the following:
- Immune system protection and support
- Preventing upper respiratory infections
- Diabetes treatment
- Lowering blood pressure
- Liver protection
- Healing skin wounds
- Antidiarrheal support
But Does Astragalus Research Support Health Claims?
Research on astragalus in the U.S. also supports the use of astragalus to undergird the immune system after its been stressed by chemotherapy or radiation. In one study, Astragalus supplementation not only accelerated cancer patient recovery but also increased their longevity.
But some of the most compelling recent studies on astragalus – including one in Spain and one in the U.S. – show strong evidence that astragalus can have a positive effect on our telomeres – the part of our DNA strands that effect our longevity. Scientists believe that the shortening of the telomeres equates to shortening of life. Thus, some theorize that, if we can prevent or slow the telomeres from shortening, we can dramatically increase longevity and health.
In the 2011 Spanish cancer research, reported in Aging Cell, scientists identified a compound in Astragalus that also activates telomerase, not only increasing the health span of adult mice, but significantly increased average telomere length, which resulted in improvements in glucose tolerance, osteoporosis symptoms, and skin fitness.
Any Astragalus Risks or Astragalus Side Effects?
- For some people, astragalus may have a mild diuretic effect – a useful thing if you are trying to get rid of excess fluid, but a potential risk if you are already dehydrated.
- Because Astragalus may stimulate the immune system, there could be undesirable side effects for those with autoimmune diseases.
- Some health practitioners advise against using any adaptogenic herb regularly for long time periods, but rather switching every month or so to a different adaptogen. Here's a list of adaptogenic herbs you could choose to rotate through.
- Use caution if you have allergies to legumes; those who do often have allergies to astragalus as well.
- Don't use astragalus if you are using immune system suppressant drugs or lithium.
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