Astragalus

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Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a perennial plant that is native to the northern and eastern parts of China, as well as Mongolia and Korea, and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. The dried root is used medicinally, usually in combination with other herbs, to strengthen the body against disease. Astragalus is an adaptogen, which protects the body from physical, mental, or emotional stress. Astragalus contains antioxidants and is used to protect and support the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, lowering blood pressure, treating diabetes, and protecting the liver. Astragalus has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.

Also known as:  Astragale, Astragale à Feuilles de Réglisse, Astragale Queue-de-Renard, Astragale Réglissier, Astragali, Astragali Membranaceus, Astragalo, Astragli Membranceus, Beg Kei, Bei Qi, Buck Qi, Chinese Astragalus, Huang Qi, Huang Se, Huanggi, Hwanggi, Membranous Milk Vetch, Milk Vetch, Mongolian Milk, Ogi, Radix Astragali, Radix Astragalus, Réglisse Bâtarde, Réglisse Sauvage

Diseases and Conditions

There is not enough scientific research to assign an effectiveness rating to this supplement.

Safety

Astragalus is likely safe when consumed orally; up to 30 grams per day for 3 months or 40 grams per day up to 2 months will reduce the likelihood of any side effects. Consuming over 28 grams of astragalus will increase the risk of immunosuppression. If taken intravenously, astragalus can be safe if taken up to 80 grams daily for one month as long as it’s under the supervision of a physician; if rapid intravenous methods are used it can cause palpitations and dizziness. Children may safely consume astragalus under the supervision of a doctor. Studies show that astragalus has fetal and maternal toxic effects on animal models, so it’s best avoided by pregnant and lactating women. Astragalus root is generally well-tolerated for most adults. The most common side effects reported include gastrointestinal effects and diarrhea. Other adverse effects associated with astragalus include enterocolitis, pharyngitis, rhinosinusitis, lacunar angina, nausea, vulvitis, eczema, rashes, and pruritus. Individuals with diabetes, blood problems, and hypertension should not take astragalus because it may interfere with blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Medication Interactions

Some animal research provides evidence that Astragalus reverses cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppression. It can decrease the effects of immunosupressants. Immunosuppressant drugs include:

  • Azathioprine (Imuran)
  • Basiliximab (Simulect)
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • Daclizumab (Zenapax)
  • Muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3)
  • Mycophenolate (CellCept)
  • Tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf)
  • Sirolimus (Rapamune)
  • Prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone)
  • Other corticosteroids (glucocorticoids)

According to animal studies, it has diuretic properties, so it can reduce excretion and increase levels of lithium.

Supplement and Food Interactions

No supplement or food interactions reported. 

Dosage

The recommended dosage for astragalus depends on what it is being used for.

  • For allergic rhinitis (hayfever), it is recommended to take one hundred sixty milligrams of a specific astragalus root extract standardized to contain forty percent polysaccharides twice daily for three to six weeks.
  • For amenorrhea, it is recommended to take a liquid decoction containing thirty grams of dong quai, thirty grams of astragalus, ten fruits of zizyphus, fifteen grams of horny goat weed, thirty grams of dodder, and three slices of ginger daily in two divided doses for three months.
  • For angina, the recommended dosage is twenty grams of astragalus three times daily for two weeks.
  • For chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), it is recommended to take a two hundred milliliter decoction containing thirty grams of astragalus, thirty grams of kudzu, fifteen grams of codonopsis, ten grams of red sage, fifteen grams of aizoon stonecrop, ten grams of horny goat weed, ten grams of turmeric, and ten grams of calamus in two divided doses daily for three months.
  • For congestive heart failure (CHF), the recommended dosage is two and one-fourth to seven and one-half grams of astragalus twice daily for fourteen to thirty days.
  • For diabetes, the recommended dosage is two hundred fifty milliliters of solution containing forty grams of astragalus, administered as an intravenous infusion once daily for one month followed by an oral tincture for three months.
  • For HIV/AIDS, it is recommended to take twenty grams of a specific combination product containing mainly Baikal skullcap root, glossy privet fruit, astragalus root, and Eupolyphaga et polyphage (Ailing granules) twice daily for four months. For kidney disease, the recommended dosage is fifteen grams of astragalus daily.
  • For menopausal symptoms, it is recommended to take three to six grams per day of Dang Gui Buxue Tang, an herbal decoction containing astragalus and dong quai extract, for twelve weeks.
  • For myocarditis, the recommended dosage is two to four grams of astragalus twice daily for fourteen days.
  • For aplastic anemia, the recommended dosage is eighty to one hundred twenty grams of intravenous astragalus daily in repeated fifteen day courses at seven to ten day intervals for at least four months along with two milligrams of stanozolol three times daily in patients aged fifteen years-old and older.
  • For chemotherapy toxicity, the recommended dosage is twenty milliliters of solution containing two grams per milliliter of astragalus, administered by intravenous infusion daily for twenty-one days during each of four courses of chemotherapy.
  • For chemotherapy-related fatigue, the recommended dosage is five hundred milligrams of an intravenous infusion of a partially purified astragalus extract three times weekly for four weeks during chemotherapy.
  • For cirrhosis, the recommended dosage is an intravenous injection of a combination of ten to thirty milliliters of astragalus and sixteen to thirty milliliters of danshen administered once daily for up to ninety days.
  • For congestive heart failure (CHF), the recommended dosage is sixty to eighty grams of an intravenous infusion of solutions containing astragalus daily for twenty to twenty-eight days.
  • For diabetes, the recommended dosage is two hundred fifty milliliters of solution containing forty grams of astragalus, administered as an intravenous infusion once daily for one month followed by an oral tincture for three months.
  • For hearing loss, the recommended dosage is one-half of one milliliter per kilogram of a solution containing two grams per milliliter of astragalus, injected intravenously once daily for ten days.
  • For kidney disease, it is recommended to administer intravenous infusions of forty to one hundred twenty grams of astragalus daily for two to six weeks.
  • For renal failure, it is recommended to take eighty grams of intravenous astragalus before anesthesia, forty grams in the cardiopulmonary bypass priming solution, and eighty grams daily for five days after cardiac surgery.
  • For systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), it is recommended to take forty grams of intravenous astragalus daily for twelve consecutive days monthly for three months in combination with corticosteroids and eight-tenths of one gram of cyclophosphamide once monthly as an intravenous drip.
  • For kidney disease in children, the recommended dosage is seven and one-half grams of astragalus twice daily for children under three years, ten grams twice daily for children aged three to six years, or fifteen grams twice daily for children older than six years for three to six months.
  • For myocarditis in children, the recommended dosage is two to four grams of astragalus daily for two weeks.
  • For aplastic anemia in children, it is recommended to take eighty to one hundred twenty grams of intravenous astragalus daily in repeated fifteen day courses at seven to ten day intervals for at least four months along with two milligrams of stanozolol three times daily in patients aged fifteen years-old and older.
  • For tetralogy of Fallot in children, the recommended dosage is fifteen milliliters of an astragalus injection every twelve hours for seven days after surgical correction of tetralogy of Fallot.
  • For HIV/AIDS, it is recommended to take twenty grams of a specific combination product containing mainly Baikal skullcap root, glossy privet fruit, astragalus root, and Eupolyphaga et polyphage (Ailing granules) twice daily for four months.
  • For kidney disease, the recommended dosage is fifteen grams of astragalus daily.
  • For menopausal symptoms, it is recommended to take three to six grams per day of Dang Gui Buxue Tang, an herbal decoction containing astragalus and dong quai extract, for twelve weeks.
  • For myocarditis, the recommended dosage is two to four grams of astragalus twice daily for fourteen days.
  • For aplastic anemia, the recommended dosage is eighty to one hundred twenty grams of intravenous astragalus daily in repeated fifteen day courses at seven to ten day intervals for at least four months along with two milligrams of stanozolol three times daily in patients aged fifteen years-old and older.
  • For chemotherapy toxicity, the recommended dosage is twenty milliliters of solution containing two grams per milliliter of astragalus, administered by intravenous infusion daily for twenty-one days during each of four courses of chemotherapy.
  • For chemotherapy-related fatigue, the recommended dosage is five hundred milligrams of an intravenous infusion of a partially purified astragalus extract three times weekly for four weeks during chemotherapy.
  • For cirrhosis, the recommended dosage is an intravenous injection of a combination of ten to thirty milliliters of astragalus and sixteen to thirty milliliters of danshen administered once daily for up to ninety days.
  • For congestive heart failure (CHF), the recommended dosage is sixty to eighty grams of an intravenous infusion of solutions containing astragalus daily for twenty to twenty-eight days.
  • For diabetes, the recommended dosage is two hundred fifty milliliters of solution containing forty grams of astragalus, administered as an intravenous infusion once daily for one month followed by an oral tincture for three months.
  • For hearing loss, the recommended dosage is one-half of one milliliter per kilogram of a solution containing two grams per milliliter of astragalus, injected intravenously once daily for ten days.
  • For kidney disease, it is recommended to administer intravenous infusions of forty to one hundred twenty grams of astragalus daily for two to six weeks.
  • For renal failure, it is recommended to take eighty grams of intravenous astragalus before anesthesia, forty grams in the cardiopulmonary bypass priming solution, and eighty grams daily for five days after cardiac surgery.
  • For systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), it is recommended to take forty grams of intravenous astragalus daily for twelve consecutive days monthly for three months in combination with corticosteroids and eight-tenths of one gram of cyclophosphamide once monthly as an intravenous drip.
  • For kidney disease in children, the recommended dosage is seven and one-half grams of astragalus twice daily for children under three years, ten grams twice daily for children aged three to six years, or fifteen grams twice daily for children older than six years for three to six months.
  • For myocarditis in children, the recommended dosage is two to four grams of astragalus daily for two weeks.
  • For aplastic anemia in children, it is recommended to take eighty to one hundred twenty grams of intravenous astragalus daily in repeated fifteen day courses at seven to ten day intervals for at least four months along with two milligrams of stanozolol three times daily in patients aged fifteen years-old and older.
  • For tetralogy of Fallot in children, the recommended dosage is fifteen milliliters of an astragalus injection every twelve hours for seven days after surgical correction of tetralogy of Fallot.

Foods

Astragalus is a flowering plant that may grow as an herb or as a shrub. Some species of this plant have been found to be poisonous, but the species generally used in supplements is considered safe.

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References

  1. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/references.aspx?productid=963
  2. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/astragalus
  3. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=963
  4. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/astragalus

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