Astragalus supplement root herb and extract health benefit
Review of research, dose, dosage, common cold, immunity
January 1 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Astragalus herb is used by traditional Chinese doctors to stimulate the immune system. The root contains various compounds including astragaloside. This plant is native to Northern China and Mongolia. The herb inhabits mostly pine forests and sandy soils. Chinese doctors have used it to fight the common cold and the flu infection. Very little human research regarding the use of astragalus root extract is available in the western medical literature and further studies in the next few years will make it clearer on how this herbal supplement could be of benefit in the prevention or treatment of various infections.

Chemistry and composition, what does it contain?
Astragalus root contains polysaccharides that are thought to play an important role in influencing the immune system. It also contains saponins called astragalosides, along with flavonoids and triterpenes.

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Potential benefits of astragalus herb and extract
This herb is one of the primary immune tonifiers in Chinese herbal medicine.

Aplastic anemia, low blood hemoglobin
Clinical study on effect of astragalus Injection and its immuno-regulation action in treating chronic aplastic anemia.
Chin J Integrative Medicine. 2007.
Sixty patients with aplastic anemia were randomly assigned to two groups equally, both were treated with Stanozolol three times a day, 2 mg each time through oral intake, but astagalus was given additionally to the patients in the treated group once a day via intravenous dripping. All were treated for 15 days as one therapeutic course and the whole medication lasted for more than 4 months totally, with follow-up adopted. Astragalus injection could promote the recovery of hemopoietic function, which might be through improving T-lymphocyte subsets and reducing the release of negative regulatory factors such as TNF-alpha and IL-2 to alleviate the inhibition on hemopoietic function.

Cancer and anti-tumor
Astragalus membranaceus lectin (AML) induces caspase-dependent apoptosis in human leukemia cells.
Cell Prolif. 2012. Bioresource Utilization Laboratory, College of Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
Recently, plant lectins have attracted great interest due to their various biological activities such as anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-viral activities. We have reported earlier concerning anti-proliferation of human cancer cell lines by a galactose-binding lectin (AML), from a Chinese herb, Astragalus. In the present study, detailed investigations into the mechanism of such anti-proliferation properties have been carried out. Mechanism of apoptosis initiation in K562 cells by AML was investigated by morphology, flow cytometry and western blot analysis. AML induced apoptosis in a caspase-dependent manner in the chronic myeloid leukemia cell line, K562. Furthermore, we observed that cytotoxicity and apoptosis of K562 cells induced by AML were completely abolished in presence of lactose or galactose. Our results suggest that AML could act as a potential anti-cancer drug.

Traditional Chinese medicine Astragalus reverses predominance of Th2 cytokines and their up-stream transcript factors in lung cancer patients.
Oncol Rep. 2003.
Th2 cytokine is predominant in tumor patients and was found to be associated with tumor progression. Reversing of Th2 dominant status is thought to be a promising strategy. Our results demonstrate that traditional Chinese medicine Astragalus might reverse the Th2 predominant status in lung cancer patients, which is a probable alternative therapeutic regime in future.

Fatigue, tiredness, energy
Mol Biosyst. 2014 Nov. (1)H NMR based metabolomic study of the antifatigue effect of Astragali Radix. Astragalus (Huangqi), a well-known traditional Chinese medicinal plant, has been used for centuries as a reinforcing vital energy herb in China. In this study, the antifatigue effect of Astragali Radix was investigated. The results indicated that oral administration of Astragali Radix at a dose of 3 g kg(-1) body weight could significantly prolong the exhaustive swimming time of rats, and alter the serum and urine metabolome. The rats treated by Astragali Radix extracts showed higher levels of glucose, creatine, glycine, citrate, guanidinoacetate, allantoin, dimethylglycine, dimethylamine, creatinine, betaine and malate and lower levels of lactate, choline species, O-acetylated glycoproteins (OAG), glycerol, β-OH-butyrate, α-ketoglutarate, trimethylamine (TMA) and hippurate. And these metabolic changes indicated that Astragali Radix facilitated recovery from fatigue by regulating the glycometabolism, lipid metabolism and energy metabolism. Chemical analysis showed that various components were present in the Astragali Radix extracts, and the bioactive compounds responsible for the antifatigue activity should be further investigated.

Genital herpes
Email - I have found that astragalus root does help with genital herpes. I have been taking this for years now and I have not had an outbreak since.

Heart failure
Astragalus has protective effect on ischemia / reperfusion injury. May be helpful in congestive heart failure.

Study on effect of Astragalus injection in treating congestive heart failure.
Zhou ZL, Yu P. Third People's Hospital, Hangzhou.
Eighty-three congestive heart failure patients with heart function of II-IV grade assessed by New York Heart Association classification were randomly divided into 2 groups. The 42 patients in the treated group were treated with astragalus 40 ml (equivalent to 80 g crude drug) by adding in 5% glucose solution 500 ml for intravenous dripping, once a day and the 41 patients in the control group were treated by nitrolingual injection. The therapeutic course in both groups was 2 weeks and the patients were followed-up for 1- 6 months. The clinical heart function improvement rate and the total effective rate in the astragalus treated group after 1 month treatment were 26% and 78%, and after 6 months were 34% and 81% respectively, which were superior to those in the control group significantly. The levels of left ventricular ejection fraction, fractional shortening of left ventricular short axis, stroke volume, cardiac output  and the cardiac index were all improved in both groups, but better improvement was shown in the astragalus group. Follow-up study showed that the incidence of cardiac event was lower in the treatment group than that in the control group.

Immune system research studies
Astragalus has been shown to enhance certain aspects of the immune system, and may have some anti-HIV activity in laboratory studies. It's difficult to know at this time whether it would have anti-HIV activity when ingested as a supplement.

Flu and respiratory infections
I heard Dr. Andrew Weil on Larry King Live in September 2009 recommend astragalus pills for prevention or treatment of swine flu or H1N1. What is your opinion?
   I have not seen any such human studies regarding its use as a treatment or for prevention of H1N1, swine flu. This herb may help but I have not come across any such information.

Kidney disease
Astragalus may be helpful in diabetic nephropathy.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2015. Protective effect of astragalus saponin extracts on kidneys of diabetic rats.

Protective effects of Astragalus saponin on early stage of diabetic nephropathy in rats.
J Pharmacology Sci. 2004.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) has become the leading cause of end stage failure, but no renoprotective treatment has been very available for use in DN. Astragalus saponin I was studied in experimental DN induced by administration of streptozotocin in male rats. The early DN rats were treated with 3 doses of astragalus for 8 weeks to analyze its efficacy with different parameters. By comparison with vehicle-treated DN rats, the renal hypertrophy, the oxidative stress intensity, and the blood glucose level of DN rats were ameliorated by astragalus. Also, the microalbuminuria level, advanced glycated end-products either in serum or in kidney cortex, and the aldose reductase activity were significantly reduced. The results suggest that astragalus has therapeutic effects on several pharmacological targets in the progress of DN and is a potential drug for prevention of early stage DN.

Astragalus membranaceus reduces free radical-mediated injury to renal tubules in rabbits receiving high-energy shock waves.
Chin Med J 2005.
Recent studies have revealed the important role of free radicals in renal damage induced by high-energy shock waves (HESW). This study aimed at investigating the effects of Astragalus membranaceus, a traditional Chinese medicinal herb, on free radical-mediated HESW-induced damage to renal tubules in a live rabbit model. This study provides preliminary evidence indicating that Astragalus membranaceus has strong protective effects on free radical-mediated renal tubular damage induced by HESW and that these effects are superior to the effects of verapamil.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014. Astragalus (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Astragalus (Radix Astragali, huang qi) is the dried root of Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. var. mongholicus (Bge.) Hsiao or Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. (Family Leguminosae). It is one of the most widely used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine for treating kidney diseases. This article concludes that there is not enough evidence yet to be certain regarding the role of this herb in kidney health and disease.

Oral herpes
In a test tube study, astragalus was found to inhibit oral herpes virus. Whether the same effect will occur in humans is is not yet clear.

Experimental study of the effect of Astragalus membranaceus against herpes simplex virus type 1
Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2004.
To study the inhibitory effects of Astragalus membranaceus on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). In the 2BS cells infected with HSV-1, the antiviral effect of Astragalus decoction was investigated by observing the inhibition of HSV-1-induced cytopathic effect in response to treatment with the decoction. Astragalus membranaceus has obvious HSV-1-inhibiting efficacy and low cytotoxicity.

Review article
Am J Chin Med. 2016. Astragalus membranaceus: A Review of its Protection Against Inflammation and Gastrointestinal Cancers. Astragalus based treatments have demonstrated significant amelioration of the toxicity induced by other concurrently administered orthodox drugs (e.g., immunosuppressants and cancer chemotherapeutics). The major components of Astragalus are polysaccharides, flavonoids, and saponins. Contemporary use of Astragalus membranaceus mainly focuses on its immune system influencing, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory, as well as anticancer effects. In this paper, we summarize the properties of Astragalus membranaceus and its major constituents in the biological system based on experimental and clinical studies.

Interactions with other herbs and supplements that influence the immune system
There are a number of such herbs including andrographis, echinacea, goldenseal, maitake, ahcc, reishi, cordyceps, etc. It is difficult to predict how astragalus herb would interact with the others. Each person is likely to have a different reaction depending on dosage, health condition, and other supplements or medications they may be taking.

Email - Patton protocol
This ancient Chinese herbal tonic is reported on the internet to contain compounds that turn on DNA's telomere repair, thereby rejuvenating DNA and extending the Hayflick limit. Cancer, which also does this little trick, could be a concern, but so far it appears to use the same machinery in an unrelated way. A conservative approach, two weeks on and two weeks off with cancer antagonists like turmeric, is referred to as the Patton protocol. This has been going on for a couple of years, with alleged telomere effects. Any comments?
    A. Until actual long term human studies are done which determine the overall benefit or adverse effects of this regimen, any attempts of predicting what would happen is purely hypothetical.

Other products on sale online
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Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 2 Tablets
Servings Per Container: 60
  Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Carbohydrate 1 g <1%*
Calcium 65 mg 7%
Astragalus Root Extract 500 mg
Astragalus Root (high grade) 500 mg
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Suggested Use, dosage: One or two tablets a few times a week, or as recommended by your health care professional.
Supplement facts: Amount Per 2 tablets:
Astragalus Root extract 500 mg (standardized to 0.4% methoxyisoflavones)
Astragalus Root (high grade) 500 mg
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Raw material suppliers have
Astragalus P.E. 0.2% Flavone / 16% Polysacchrides
Root 16% Polysacchrides