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What is astragalus?
Astragalus is an herb native to northern China. While more
than 2,000 varieties of astragalus exist worldwide, the Chinese
version is the type that has been tested most extensively.
Why do we need astragalus? What
is it used for?
Astragalus contains numerous compounds, including flavonoids,
polysaccharides, amino acids and trace minerals. Traditionally,
it was used in China for conditions such as night sweats,
diarrhea, and qi deficiency.
Preliminary studies conducted in Asia have determined that
astragalus can enhance immune function and lengthen the lives
of people with cancer. Other studies suggest that it may prevent
some infections in people undergoing dialysis for kidney failure.
How much astragalus should I take?
Some textbooks recommend taking between 9-15 grams of astragalus
in a decoction, which is made by boiling astragalus root in
water for a few minutes, then brewing the tea. Other providers
recommend between 1,000-1,500 milligrams of astraglus in capsule
form, or 3-5 millileters of an astragalus tincture taken three
times per day.
What forms of astragalus are available?
Astragalus root is most commonly available in its raw form.
Many stores sell astragalus supplements, which are available
in capsules or powders. Other stores sell astragalus tinctures.
What can happen if I take too much
astragalus? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
At present, there are no known side-effects when astragalus
is used as recommended. There are no well-known drug interactions
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
Foster S, Yue CX. Herbal Emissaries:
Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West. Rochester, VT: Healing
Arts Press, 1992, pp. 27-33.
Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia
of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics,
2nd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, pp. 503.
Li SQ, Yuan RX, Gao H. Clinical
observation on the treatment of ischemic heart disease with
astragalus membranaceus. Chung Kuo Chung His I Chieh Ho
Tsa Chih 1995;15:7780 [in Chinese].
Shu HY. Oriental Materia
Medica: A Concise Guide. Palos Verdes, CA: Oriental Healing
Arts Press, 1986, pp. 5213.
Tang W, Eisenbrand G. Chinese
Drugs of Plant Origin. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1992.