For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has helped individuals to optimize their physical, emotional and mental health through the use of herbs, exercise, diet, acupuncture and massage. TCM focuses on keeping energy levels in balance to maintain the yin and the yang. When disharmony occurs, it is theorized that the individual becomes susceptible to illness. As part of this traditional approach to medicine, the root of the astragalus plant was used to strengthen an individual’s Qi or life force. The root was dried and chopped before being made into tea. Astragalus is also known as huang qi or milk vetch.
The roots of the astragalus are a source of antioxidants, which can mitigate the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are produced as a by-product of metabolism or in response to environmental aggressors, such as cigarette smoke and pollution. Preliminary studies have suggested the antioxidant properties in astragalus may be useful to those with cardiovascular disease, improving heart function and providing relief from related symptoms. Antioxidants are also believed to have advantages in fighting cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses related to oxidative damage. However, the evidence for using astragalus in any of these health conditions is limited.
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Astragalus supplements are often taken because it is thought to strengthen the immune system. A healthy immune system will help the body fight off viruses and possible infections that come along. A robust immune system is particularly important during the winter months, when colds and flu are common. Some illnesses and cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can weaken the immune system. A lowered immune system can lead to an individual experiencing multiple colds, weakness, and tiredness, loss of appetite, cold limbs and sores that are slow to heal. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that astragalus, either alone or in combination with other herbs, may have potential benefits for the immune system.
If you find that you want to strengthen your immune system, then taking astragalus as a dietary supplement may give you the boost you need. drugstore.com offers you a range of formats for astragalus supplements, including capsules and tablets. If you have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules, you may prefer to choose an astragalus liquid in which you may add the recommended dosage (via drops) to a glass of water.
Consult with your physician first before incorporating any supplements or herbs into your diet. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, herbal and dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional. You should read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before taking astragalus. BACK TO TOP »
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