Astragalus

Astragalus*

Botanical Information

Native to China, Astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. A relative of licorice and the pea plant, there are actually over 2,000 species of Astragalus. Teas, capsules and other formulations are made from the plant’s flat, yellowish root.

Features & Benefits

  • Used to prevent and treat common colds and upper respiratory infections
  • Has been used for heart disease
  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine in combination with other herbs to support and enhance the immune system (often used with licorice, ginseng and angelica)

Suggestions & Cautions

  • There are no known side effects for Astragalus
  • Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system (such as cyclophosphamide)
  • Astragalus may affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure
  • Some species, usually not found in dietary supplements used by humans, can be toxic (for example, several species that grow in the US contain the neurotoxin swainsonine and have caused “locoweed” poisoning in animals)

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