Modern herbalists believe astragalus can help our body deal with stress, something we all encounter on a daily basis. This puts it in a category of plants known as adaptogens.
Uses for Astragalus Root
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In traditional Chinese medicine, natural astragalus root has a long history of use. Astragalus is typically given to bolster the immune system, especially when someone is fighting an acute or chronic infection. This herb is also used as an overall health tonic.
This plant has also caught the attention of at least one mainstream healthcare provider. On its website, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that astragalus may be useful in normalizing blood pressure, regulating blood sugar in diabetics, protecting against heart damage and helping with kidney function. The UMMC also cited early studies showing astragalus root may offer some protection against certain types of cancer, especially malignant melanoma and leukemia.
So there do seem to be potential health benefits to taking astragalus root, now being confirmed by scientists.
Although I usually look to alternative sources for health news, I like to mention the UMMC. That’s because it seems to view natural remedies with an open mind, and condenses the available studies into an easily readable format. An article on its site clearly explained the many possible benefits of astragalus, as well as any downsides. At regular “low to moderate” doses, few side effects are seen with astragalus, according to the UMMC.
Is Astragalus an Adaptogen?
Anyway, according to a number of health experts, both mainstream and alternative, astragalus is an adaptogen, and could, possibly, help with stress. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t give medical advice or tell you that any one remedy will help your physical or emotional health. But I can share my own experience with astragalus.
I sometimes drink astragalus as a tea. This is a blend that contains number of other herbs. Right now, I’m taking astragalus instead of a 10-herb anti-inflammatory formula I usually take. That’s because I like to rotate my supplements. (It’s worth noting that the UMMC also addresses the issue of not taking any single adaptogen too long.)
When I rotate herbal remedies, they seem to work much better. Because I have chronic nerve inflammation, I use various adaptogens, which contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds. You might also be interested in another article I wrote on herbal tulsi. This popular adaptogen is considered the “Queen of Herbs” in Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
Astragalus root, scientifically known as Astragalus membranaceus, is native to Asia. It‘s now found in numerous teas, tinctures and herbal blends. One advantage of herbal blends is the synergy created by combining plants together. This is why many plant-based remedies contain more than one adaptogen. Adaptogens are often recommended for people with adrenal fatigue. (This is something I’ve been diagnosed with, but have also recovered from.)
Can Astragalus Root Help You Sleep?
I didn’t see anything on the UMMC website specifically mentioning sleep. But, in the herbal world, astragalus is considered a good sleep remedy. When I took astragalus, it was in the form of a special sleep tea. I drank it at night, and it did seem to make me drowsy. Even though I take astragalus root for inflammation, herbal remedies can have wide-ranging effects on the body. Better sleep was just a pleasant “side effect.”
Where To Buy Astragalus Root
It is important to obtain your astragalus root from a good source, both for potency and for purity. Oregon’s Wild Harvest, based in Redmond, Oregon, is a family-run company that sells whole-plant organic herbs. On this site, I like to tell people about whole herbs, as opposed to laboratory-made extracts. That’s because whole plants have been used for thousands of years. They also contain the full-range of natural compounds, which could have potential health benefits that haven’t been studied yet.
The bottle shown on the left contains capsules, each with 1125 mg. of astragalus root. There are no fillers, corn or gluten. If you want to add astragalus to your collection of other herbal remedies, this is a really good brand that I can confidently recommend. It’s really important to buy your dietary supplements from a trusted source.
Or, if you want the potential benefit of a multi-herb formula, you may be more interested in a botanical blend that contains astragalus and organic reishi mushrooms. Astragalus is often paired with medicinal mushrooms. You can see Oregon’s Wild Harvest Astragalus Reishi on the right.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. People with chronic health conditions or those taking certain medications should consult their doctor before taking astragalus. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use herbal remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.