AstragalusNatural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.
Warning 1 - Contraindications: Immunosuppressants: This herb stimulates the immune system so avoid use if you take immunosuppressant drugs as for transplants. Astragalus should not be used when a fever is present (it may intensify and/or prolong it), or during acute infections.
Warning 2 - Antihypertensives: Using Astragalus may increase or decrease the action of antihypertensives. Avoid using together.
Warning 3 - Interleukin-2: Astragalus can increase or decrease the action of drugs such as Interleukin-2.
Used as a natural health remedy: Astragalus is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:
Life ExtensionThis may be the most exciting news in herbal medicine. First some background. As you age, your body's ability to accurately reproduce the chromosomes in your cells degenerates. Finding out why that occurs resulted in a Nobel Prize (Physiology of Medicine 2009). The ends of your chromosomes have a cap or cover called telomeres, which both protects the chromosome ends during cell reproduction and works to form new telemores. As the body ages the production of telomerase enzymes slows to a stop within the genes.
Now the exciting part: Recent research found that molecules contained in the Astragalus root, cycloastragenols and astragalosides have the ability to stimulate the production of telomerase enzyme. In large doses they both prevent the depletion of telomeres and rebuild new ones. Although a drug has been patented that is an isolated version of these molecules (TA-65) it has also been found that any high doses of an Astragalus extract, which is rich in astragalosides, can have much the same effect. Research into this continues.
Long Term UseUnlike Echinacea (another immune enhancing herb) which is best used for short durations, Astragalus is most effective when used long term, especially during flu season. In both Chinese and Western herbalism, Astragalus is considered both safe and effective when used long term. ( Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk TJ. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press; 1986:457-459.)
Side Effects of AstragalusThere are no known side effects of using Astragalus.
As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.
Talk to your doctor if you are considering this herb for the treatment of serious conditions such as AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, HIV infection, and myocarditis.
How to use AstragalusAstragalus root may be added to soup and simmered for at least 15 minutes or taken as a tea, tincture or decoction.
Astragalus Tincture: 3 to 5 ml of tincture three times daily.
Astragalus Decoction: 3 to 6 grams of dried root simmered for at least 15 minutes in 12 oz of water, taken 3 times daily.
Powdered Astragalus root: 500mg to 1000mg in capsules three times daily.
Standardized Astragalus extract: 250mg to 500mg three times daily.
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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright © 2012 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Astragalus and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.