Astragalus

Plant Part Used

Root.

Introduction

Astragalus has been valued by the Chinese for centuries for its ability to enhance our immune system and its stress-fighting properties. Scientists commonly refer to astragalus as an adaptogen, meaning it can actually modify the body’s response to stress and infections. The root of this plant is used to make a standardized extract.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

250-500mg (standardized extract), 4 times a day.

Dried Root: 2-6 grams daily. (1)

Fluid Extract: 4 to 12 milliliters daily. (2)

Most Common Dosage

250mg (standardized extract), 4 times a day.

Dried Root: 2 grams daily.

Fluid Extract: 4 milliliters daily.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to a minimum 0.4% 4’-hydroxy-3'-methoxy-isoflavone glycoside per dose.

Reported Uses

Studies have shown that astragalus may support a number of immune functions in the body. Other studies have indicated that astragalus may decrease the severity and duration of the common cold. (3)

Astragalus has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to strengthen the heart. One study reported improvement in the function of the left ventricle of the heart. (4) Another study demonstrated improvements in cardiac output, or pump volume. (5)

Other studies have claimed that astragalus may protect against cellular damage in the liver, (6) , (7) help with delivering oxygen to the heart and brain tissues, and improve stamina and endurance. (8) , (9)

Researchers found that mice treated with astragalus extract had a lower incidence of urinary bladder cancer than those not treated with astragalus extract. (10) Results of a study seemed to indicate that astragalus may reverse tumor progression in lung cancer patients. (11)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (12)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:56.
  2. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:56.
  3. Geng CS, et al. Advances in Immuno-pharmacological Studies on Astragalus membranaceus. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. 1986;6(1):62-64.
  4. View Abstract: Chen LX, Liao JX, Guo WQ. Effects of Astragalus membranaceus on Left Ventricular Function and Oxygen Free Radical in Acute Myocardial Infarction Patients and Mechanism of Its Cardiotonic Action. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. Mar1995;15(3):141-3.
  5. View Abstract: Lei ZY, Qin H, Liao JZ. Action of Astragalus membranaceus on Left Ventricular Function of Angina Pectoris. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. Apr1994;14(4):199-202,195.
  6. View Abstract: Zhang YD, et al. Effects of Astragalus (ASI, SK) on Experimental Liver Injury. Yao Hsueh Hsueh Pao. 1992;27(6):401-06.
  7. Geng CS, et al. Advances in Immuno-pharmacological Studies on Astragalus membranaceus. Chin J Integ Trad West Med. 1986;6:62.
  8. View Abstract: Shi HM, et al. Intervention of Lidocaine and Astragalus membranaceus on Ventricular Late Potentials. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. Oct1994;14(10):598-600.
  9. Griga IV. Effect of a Summary Preparation of Astragalus cicer on the Blood Pressure of Rats with Renal Hypertension and on the Oxygen Consumption by the Tissues. Farm Zh. 1977;6:64-66.
  10. View Abstract: Kurashige S, Akuzawa Y, Endo F. Effects of astragali radix extract on carcinogenesis, cytokine production, and cytotoxicity in mice treated with a carcinogen, N-butyl-N'-butanolnitrosoamine. Cancer Invest. 1999;17(1):30-5.
  11. View Abstract: Wei H, Sun R, Xiao W, et al. Traditional Chinese medicine Astragalus reverses predominance of Th2 cytokines and their up-stream transcript factors in lung cancer patients. Oncol Rep. Sep2003;10(5):1507-12.
  12. Leung A, et al. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: Wiley-Interscience Publication; 1996:50-53.