Astragalus membranaceus Common name: Astragalus
Part used: Root
Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins (astragalosides), polysaccharides, flavonoids
Actions: Immuno-modulator, adaptogen, antioxidant, anti-microbial, hypoglycemic, circulatory stimulant, vasodilator, hypotensive, cardiotonic, diuretic, hepatoprotective
Medical uses: Has been used since ancient times in traditional Chinese medicine as a warming tonic. When reseach illuminated its effects upon the immune system, it was adopted as an important herb in the West. Studies indicate that the polysaccharides intensity phagocytosis, stimulate pituitary-adrenal cortical activity, and restore depleted red blood cell formation in bone marrow. It appears to strengthen both nonspecific & specific immunity, combating general infections of all kinds, cancer & autoimmune diseases (theoretical).
- Polysaccharides stimulate phagocytosis and interferon production
- Triterpenoid saponins (astragalosides) have a positively inotropic action on the heart, stimulate NK cells, are hepatoprotective, and reduce Ach receptor antibody activity.
- Flavonoids are hepatoprotective and antioxidant.
Pharmacy: Tincture: (1:5, 40%), 4-8ml TID. Decoction: 1 tbsp/cup water, bring to boil, simmer 15 min, TID.
Contraindications: May exacerbate autoimmune diseases in some people.
Toxicity: No adverse effects with recommended dosage.
Interactions: Polysaccharides may theoretically reduce absorption of many agents if taken simultaneously. Theoretically may interfere with blood pressure medications, anticoagulants and immunosuppressants. Reduces the side effects & toxicity of drugs as it is a hepatoprotective.