Looking for a new herb to try, or just exploring the interweb for something to strengthen your immune system? Astragalus root may just be the thing you’re looking for.
In this piece, we’re going to explore the health benefits of one of the most exotic superfoods in the world, and why it is the superfood that you never knew you needed.
What is astragalus?
Astragalus, also known as huang qi or milkvetch in other countries, is a genus of plants in the legume family that is native to Asia and North America, with the majority of species found in the northern hemisphere, particularly in China, Korea, and Mongolia.
You can identify this plant by its distinct features like the stems that are covered in hair and leaves that are composed of 12 to 18 pairs of leaflets. The astragalus plant can also grow for several years, reaching heights of 16 to 36 inches.
Astragalus’ claim-to-fame, however, is not in the stem, or leaves, or flower, but in its root. The astragalus root is known for its medicinal properties and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Is astragalus the same as ashwagandha?
Most people mistake both superfood plants for one another, and understandably so because both astragalus and ashwagandha are used medicinally thanks to their roots. However, these are totally different plants with different origins and uses in traditional medicine.
As mentioned earlier, the astragalus root is most commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, is a plant native to India and North Africa. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogenic herb that helps reduce stress, improve mental function, and boost energy and endurance.
Additionally, the active compounds and chemical profiles of astragalus and ashwagandha are different, which means they may have different applications and effects on the body.
What is astragalus root good for?
The yellowish root is the most commonly used part of the astragalus plant and is typically harvested from astragalus plants that are around 4 years old. Once harvested, this root can take many forms, including:
- Supplement capsules
- Powdered extracts, etc.
They can also be consumed in teas and are believed to have potential health benefits, including boosting the immune system, increasing energy, improving heart health, and treating various other conditions.
Astragalus Root Benefits in Detail
Below are only some of the known health benefits of astragalus root:
It can help to boost the immune system
Some studies suggest that astragalus root may enhance the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells and improving their function, as well as increasing the production of cytokines, which are proteins involved in the immune response.
Additionally, some research suggests that astragalus root may have anti-inflammatory effects, which could help to prevent or reduce the severity of certain illnesses. It may also have antioxidant properties, which could help protect cells from damage and support overall immune system function.
It may help improve heart health
Aside from immunity support, some studies have also found that astragalus root may help lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and reduce the risk of heart disease. And one of the ways that astragalus root may help to improve heart health is by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Oxidative stress and inflammation can cause damage to blood vessels and contribute to the development of heart disease. By reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, astragalus root may also help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lastly, astragalus root may also have a positive effect on blood lipid levels, including reducing cholesterol levels, which can improve an individual’s heart health.
It may help with blood sugar control
If maintaining blood sugar levels has been a struggle for you, intake of this superfood might just be the answer.
Astragalus root, as explained in some studies, may help to improve insulin sensitivity, which is the body's ability to respond to insulin and regulate blood sugar levels. This, in turn, may help to lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
One theory for the blood sugar-lowering effects of astragalus root is that it may stimulate the production of insulin and improve insulin function. Additionally, astragalus root may have anti-inflammatory effects, which can also help to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels.
It may help improve kidney function
Last and certainly not least of its benefits, astragalus root may help to improve kidney function in people with chronic kidney disease.
Astragalus root helps reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and proteinuria (the presence of excess protein in the urine), which are all factors that can contribute to the progression of kidney disease.
Additionally, some research has found that astragalus root may help to protect the kidneys from damage caused by certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and contrast agents used in medical imaging.
Who should avoid astragalus root?
Astragalus is generally considered safe for most people when used in recommended doses. However, certain individuals may need to avoid astragalus or use it with caution:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women – astragalus has not been thoroughly studied in pregnant and breastfeeding women
People with autoimmune disorders – astragalus may stimulate the immune system and could worsen autoimmune disorders
People taking immunosuppressive drugs – astragalus may interact with immunosuppressive drugs and reduce their effectiveness
People with allergies – astragalus may cause allergic reactions in some individuals, so it is best to avoid it or speak with a doctor first if you have a history of allergies
As a rule of thumb, it is always best to speak with a doctor before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you are taking medication.
Buy astragalus root in Superfoods Australia
Astragalus root is one of the world’s most exotic superfoods. And here at Superfoods Australia, we like to house even the exotic and rare ones to provide a huge range of options for our super patrons.
You can choose between our Astragalus Tincture and Astragalus Root Extract Capsules to get the most of this superfood’s benefits! For orders above 100$, we’ll deliver it to you for free anywhere in Australia.
So, feel free to shop around for more superfoods!