Astragalus is a small, flowering plant that grows throughout China, Mongolia, and Korea. In 2700 BC, the Chinese emperor Shennong discovered that the root of astragalus could be used for several medicinal purposes. Shennong, also called “The Divine Farmer,” brewed astragalus roots into a tea that became known for improving peoples’ resistance to infection, and for improving their ability to breathe. Today, research shows that astragalus delivers these benefits by increasing white blood cell vitality, and by reducing airway inflammation.
How astragalus improves the immune system
In a study conducted by the UCLA AIDS institute, and published in the November 2008 Journal of Immunology, scientists found that astragalus contains the chemicals cycloastragenol and astragaloside. These chemicals were proven to activate the telomerase enzyme in immune cells known as T-lymphocytes. With activated telomerase, these cells live longer, and are able to multiply faster and more accurately. This causes lymphocytes to be more numerous, and therefore much more lethal against disease pathogens and viruses.
Astragalus benefits the aging process by repairing DNA
Astragalus benefits kidney, lung, brain, and liver cells in the same way that it improves the function of the lymphocytes mentioned above. This was proven by researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and published in the peer-reviewed journal PlantaMedica. Activated telomerase repairs the end portions of DNA that normally deteriorate over time. These portions, known as telomeres, become shorter each time that a cell divides. DNA becomes unstable when its telomeres are gone, and this causes its cell line to die. The deterioration of telomeres is a major reason why we develop health problems as we age. It is also a reason why cell lines deteriorate and die as a result of age. The scientists in Hong Kong demonstrated that the chemicals in astragalus can effectively slow this process in human cells.
Astragalus reduces inflammation in cells that line the airways
In 2003, a study conducted at the University of Vienna showed how astragaloside confers its anti-inflammatory effect. Researchers showed that the astragalus chemical reduces the amount of adhesion molecules made by bronchial cells. Adhesion molecules cause the attachment of certain types of white blood cells to the endothelial cells of the airways. Airways become inflamed when this happens. Astragaloside reduced inflammation by reducing the quantity of adhesion molecules produced by the cells lining the airway. This can allow for easier breathing, and less fluid buildup in tissues leading to the lungs. So think of astragalus as a potent therapy to strengthen the respiratory tract and fight upper respiratory infections and even for the treatment of asthma.
How to gain astragalus benefits with teas, powders, and ointments
Astragalus can be effectively taken by tea, extract, powder, tincture, or ointment. Astragalus tea can be made by simply boiling 4 grams of the astragalus root in 12 ounces of reverse osmosis water. Alternatively, 300mg of powder or 30 drops of tincture can be taken 3 times per day. It is important to keep your DNA protected from free radical damage, and astragalus can be a major player in this process. It is also important to have a strong intake of antioxidants, such as Vitamins E, C, and Beta Carotene. Some excellent sources of food based antioxidants include cacao, gogi berries, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, garlic, and tomatoes.
Astragalus is great at helping your body prevent itself from being infected by a cold or flu, but if you currently have an illness like this, wait until you feel healthy again before starting astragalus. Otherwise, the supplement could interfere with your body’s response to your current infection.
Have you tried astragalus? Tell us your results!
If you’ve received these astragalus benefits, please share your story in the comments section below. By doing so, you can encourage others who are looking to use natural anti-aging remedies for themselves.