Updated: Mar 15
Editor: Snow Xia, L.Ac
Living in a pandemic can be stressful. It is important to stay fit and maintain an optimum immune system. Astragalus is one of the superstar herbs that can do this.
In Chinese Medicine, astragalus has been used for thousands of years, and is called “huang qi”, or “yellow leader”. As the name suggests, this herb is one of the most important herbs in TCM. Astragalus acts as a whole-body protector. It has active compounds that strengthen the immune system, promote functions of the lungs, treat Lung meridian dysfunctions (such as seasonal allergies and skin conditions), and reduce inflammation. It helps the body to be more resistant to stress factors, increases cell cycle regulation, protects the liver, and has a diuretic effect.
Boosts the Immune System
A study in 2011 showed that the polysaccharides of astragalus increase the T-cell activity in our bodies. T-cells are a type of white blood cells created by our immune system to protect and fight against any foreign invaders. Besides T-cell activity, astragalus has the ability to significantly improve immune-related responses, such as natural killer cell activities in the body. Furthermore, astragalus also acts as an effective antioxidant. When DNA and cells become oxidized, they cause chronic inflammation. All types of inflammation in the body weakens our immune system, making it easier for a disease to emerge. Astragalus has the ability to fight against cellular oxidation and is also used as a tonic to energize the body. . Due to its efficacy as an immunomodulator, astragalus has a wide range of applications in treating chronic fatigue, allergies, preventing the common cold, kidney disease, and preventing tumors and cancer.
On top of all those benefits, astragalus has anti-aging effects. In a study with rats, astragalus showed an increase in memory and learning because it reduces neuronal cell death. Similarly, astragalus has the ability to prevent the degradation of collagen caused by sun damage.
Aids the Circulatory System
Astragalus also improves the circulatory system. It widens the blood vessels and increases the volume of blood pumped to/from the heart. It acts as a hypolipidemic agent, meaning that it reduces plaque build-up in the blood vessels. Additionally, it helps to lower blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes type 2.
How to Use Astragalus
Astragalus has a bitter, sweet taste, when blended with the right herbs, it acquires a balanced flavor. You can make a tea of astragalus alone or with other ingredients of your preference.
Astragalus Herbal Tea
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
What you need:
1 lemon (optional)
1 tbsp of honey (optional)
Boil water in a cooking pot and add the ingredients. After 5 minutes of boiling, turn the temperature off, and wait a few minutes for the ingredients to steep. You will know it is ready when the whole kitchen starts smelling delicious. You can add honey or lemon depending on your taste preferences. Serve warm and enjoy!