What does astragalus herb do for the body? Astragalus herb is one of the most popular and important medicinal herbs that you may have never heard of! Astragalus comes to us from Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it has been considered to be among the most powerful herbal medicines for millennia. One of the most well known astragalus herb benefits is its use in helping to boost the immune system. In addition, astragalus is a unique herb because not only is it a key player for the immune system, but it also has many other benefits for the entire body. Read on to learn what does the astragalus do for the body, 5 important benefits of astragalus herb, how it can keep you healthy.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the potent herb astragalus is called a “qi tonic”. While this concept is unfamiliar to most of us, it can be understood this way: your qi is your body’s vital force- a combination of the physical and mental bodies that include all of your bodily systems, hormones, fluids, and emotions, which all aim to work in harmony to keep you healthy. When your qi is strong and healthy, your body can function properly and keep you feeling good. However, when your qi is weak, your body is off balance, and you can suffer a variety of symptoms such as a weakened immune system, digestive imbalances, and overall malaise. As a qi tonic, a benefit of astragalus is that it helps to restore balance in the entire body, making it a potent disease-fighting herb that helps to keep you feel strong and vibrant.
Here are 5 key benefits of Astragalus herb and how astragalus root benefits your health and your fight to stay well this winter!
5 Astragalus Herb Benefits
- Astragalus Provides Immune System Support
A key benefit of astragalus is that it helps your immune system stay strong. Astragalus combines a powerful anti-viral action, with immune stimulating properties that work together to fight off infection, and reduce the activity of any pathogens that come your way. It comes at these actions through its polysaccharide content, helping to increase the number and activity of white blood cells, which are key for keeping your immune system on alert!
Current research also shows positive results suggesting that astragalus root benefits can also be a complementary therapy for immune health in folks’ weakened by chemotherapy and radiation, helping them to recover more quickly.
- Astragalus Helps to Build Up Your Immune System
The immune system is kind of like a bank account. You have to spend time building it up, and then every so often, you make a big purchase. Afterwards, you need to spend time building your account up again. When your immune system has to deal with being sick, it gets depleted and it needs to be “built” up again.
An important benefit of astragalus herb is that can help us build up our immunity reserves. This “builder” herb helps to intensify white blood cell activity and to increase the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. This means astragalus can help your immune system stimulate the production of immune defender cells so that you can be ready when they try to invade!
- Astragalus is Full of Antioxidants
Another astragalus herb benefit is that it is full of antioxidants that help protect cells against oxidative stress damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are thought to play a role in causing diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more. Current research shows that the antioxidants found in astragalus can help improve cholesterol levels & lipid profiles, and promote efficiency in the cardiovascular system.
- Astragalus is a Powerful Adaptogen
Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help the body respond more efficiently to stress. We have heard over and over that the people who get sick the most, are the ones who are under the most stress. Why is this? Well, when the body is under stress, it secretes more of our stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. An increase in these
hormones can not only decrease the effectiveness of our immune system, but it can also lead to imbalances in the nervous & hormonal systems.
A benefit of astragalus in particular is that it has both a tonic effect on the nervous system, and offers adrenal support, particularly through its bioactive constituents like polysaccharides, isoflavonoids, and saponins. These constituents can help moderate stress hormones, growth hormones, blood sugar, immunity, and inflammation, and in turn help your body mitigate the daily grind.
If we’ve discovered anything in 2020, it’s that we can’t always control the amount of stress we face! Luckily, adaptogens like astragalus can help to normalize the body’s responses in the face of these stressors!
- Astragalus Provides Vital Nutrition & Promotes Gut Health
Another benefit of astragalus is that it’s a nutritive plant! It contains a high level of inulin, one of the components your body needs to make healthy immune cells, improve digestion, and regulate blood sugar. Inulin is a dietary fiber found in many foods and herbs, and it’s actually food that your gut flora love to eat, helping to boost the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut. The gut is serious business when it comes to health, especially within the immune system. Indeed, a large portion of our immune systems are housed in the gut. The microbiome communicates to immune cells on when to be active on surveillance, when to increase their antimicrobial activity, and helps to initiate immune activity. Recent studies also find that astragalus can help stimulate the appetite in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
How to Reap the Benefits of Astragalus Herb:
What does astragalus do for the body? When it comes to the medicinal properties of astragalus, we work with the root, typically harvested when the plant has grown for a few years. This gives us astragalus root benefits since the root has the strength of surviving and reviving itself through several seasons, which in turn provides that same strength and healing potential to us.
The easiest way to start incorporating the benefits of astragalus is through Further Food’s Ultimate Immune Support! This blend of 27 vitamins, mushrooms and immunity boosting herbs like astragalus, makes a great all in one immunity supplement. You can also make astragalus tea, add it to your veggie or bone broths, or powder the root and add it to smoothies or oats.
Want to Read More?
Hoffman, David. Herbs for Healthy Aging. Healing Arts Press, 2014. Hobbs, Christopher, L.Ac., A.H.G. “Information on Astragalus.” www.christopherhobbs.com