Astragalus is important in Chinese folk medicine. It enhances the metal element of Chinese philosophy, which has to do with the body’s defenses. It has been used to treat infections of the mucous membranes, especially the urinary and respiratory tracts. It is commonly combined with ginseng to prevent winter colds and viruses. It may be helpful in cases of diabetes for reducing the complications of poor circulation, high blood pressure and failure to heal wounds.
The positive effect that astragalus has on the immune system has been researched. A study appearing in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2005; 96(1-2):71-7) has shown that astragalus increases immune chemicals produced by T-cells. It has been shown to be effective against Herpes simplex I virus in research appearing in Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao (2004; 24(1):57-8).
Research appearing the journal, Cancer (2006;24:419-430) has shown astragalus to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and to increase the survival rate of lung cancer patients. Another study on rats, appearing in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology (2003; 51(1):75-80) showed the herb to protect against liver cancer that has been chemically induced.
Studies on rats have shown it to help with kidney disease. One such study appeared in Life Science (2004; 74(13):1645-58) .Research appearing in the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences (2004; 95(2):256-66) showed that it may protect from diabetic nepropathy (kidney disease caused by diabetes).
ACTIONS: Immune stimulant, diuretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic