The Many Benefits of Astragalus Root
English Name: Astragalus Root or Mongolian milkvetch
Latin Name: Astragalus Membranaceus
What is Astragalus Root?
Astragalus is a genus of small shrubs and herbs in the Fabaceae family that also includes important food legumes like chickpeas, alfalfa and peanuts. The species Astragalus membranaceus has been an important component of traditional Chinese and Persian medicine for centuries. It is known as huang qi or huang chi in Chinese1. The perennial shrub thrives in most temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere but is native to China, Korea and Mongolia. Unlike its food-producing cousins, the prized part of A. membranaceus is its woody root, not the flower or fruit. The root is traditionally boiled, ground or otherwise reduced and used to treat a myriad of conditions2.
How does Astragalus Root work?
There are several chemical compounds in astragalus that give it medicinal properties, including polysaccharides, isoflavonoids, amino acids, and vitamin B9, aka folic acid. The most medically interesting of these is the astragalus polysacharin, also known as APS. Scientists have found that this ingredient can stimulate the immune system and help form T lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell important for regulating the body’s immune response. The flavonoids in astragalus have powerful antioxidant properties that help maintain healthy cells and support the mechanisms of the body that combat potentially harmful cells, like toxins and viruses. In combination, these components help inhibit the damage caused by free radicals, fortify the immune system and improve overall cell growth and function2.
What are the benefits of Astragalus Root?
Because of its fortifying effects on the immune system, astragalus offers several healthful benefits for humans and their pets. Studies have shown its positive effects in protecting the cardiovascular system, especially in reducing “bad” cholesterol levels, which can help the heart work more efficiently. It has also been shown to improve lung function by alleviating inflamed airways and reducing mucus production. The antioxidant component of astragalus is beneficial for new cell growth, which can mitigate many unwelcome aspects of premature aging like wrinkles, and for regulating the metabolism by supporting healthy adrenal and thyroid function3. These benefits have been shown in domestic animals, particularly in aging cats, dogs and horses with chronic conditions like hyperthyroidism, slow metabolism or digestive issues. Astragalus can also help treat or prevent common pet infections like distemper and kennel cough4.
Products Featuring Astragalus Root
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
1. "Astragalus Root: Heart Benefits and Side Effects." WebMD. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/heart/astragalus-root-heart-benefits-side-effects#1.
2. "Astragalus." HerbaZest. August 24, 2018. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.herbazest.com/herbs/astragalus.
3. Tadimalla, Ravi Teja. "10 Evidence-Based Benefits Of Astragalus Root." STYLECRAZE. July 31, 2018. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/health-benefits-of-astragalus-root/#gref.
4. McKinnon, Melody. "Astragalus Root for Dogs, Cats, Horses or Aquarium Fish." All Natural Pet Care Blog. August 12, 2017. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://allnaturalpetcare.com/blog/2013/10/23/astragalus-root-dogs-cats-horses-aquarium-fish/.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke