Used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, astragalus is an adaptogen that comes from the root of a plant. Today, it’s often used to support immune and overall health. Astragalus comes as a liquid extract, capsules, and tea, but it’s also in topical creams and moisturizers. Learn more about the health benefits of astragalus as we highlight its most powerful properties.
Prevents hair loss
Both men and women experience thinning hair. Loss of hair can be caused by several factors, including genetics, age, or autoimmune diseases. There are products on the market to regrow hair, but many of them have dangerous chemicals, such as minoxidil. Astragalus could be a natural hair growth option, though more research is needed. When applied topically, it’s shown promise in promoting the growth of new hair shafts.
The male partner is the cause or plays a contributing role in approximately 40 percent of infertility cases. One main reason for male infertility is abnormal sperm function. Traditionally, it’s treated with surgery or medication. If you’re interested in a natural alternative, astragalus may help treat male infertility. In one animal study, it was proven to enhance the motility of sperm and overall sperm count.
The immune system protects the body against invaders, such as viruses, allergens, and unstable cells. When functioning properly, it can fight off attacks from external threats. If your immune system is weak, it struggles to protect the body against germs, bacteria, and other diseased cells. It’s important to support the immune system by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking supplements that may boost immunity, such as adaptogens like astragalus. Astragalus has been proven to regulate and activate the immune system’s response to invaders.
Slows cognitive decline
Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders are typically treated with behavior therapy and conventional medicines. Polysaccharides, components of dietary fiber, also play a role in maintaining cognitive function and reducing cognitive impairment. Astragalus has many antioxidants, including polysaccharides. Those polysaccharides may be responsible for alleviating cognitive decline. Studies suggest astragalus extract could reduce the loss of brain cells and improve cognitive ability.
Activates collagen production
Collagen is a protein used to make connective tissue. It keeps joints healthy and maintains skin elasticity. The body loses collagen due to many factors, including poor health habits and exposure to ultraviolet light rays. A reduction in collagen can lead to wrinkles and painful and stiff joints. When applied topically, astragalus can successfully prevent loss of collagen and may reduce oxidative stress, a cause of age-related conditions.
Retinal diseases result in conditions like blurred eyesight, and vision loss. There are many invasive procedures to correct these issues, though oftentimes the conditions are irreversible. If you’re experiencing any changes in your vision, you should visit a doctor, but there are steps you can take to protect your eyesight. Besides leading a healthy lifestyle and wearing sunglasses, astragalus may help protect your eyes. In one animal study, astragalus root extract effectively stopped the death of retinal cells and repaired the structure of the retina.
Treats kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease affects 15 percent of US adults and is often caused by conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. There are medications to treat chronic kidney disease, but patients may eventually end up on dialysis. To avoid the progression of this disease, natural alternatives are available to support the kidneys. One study showed significant improvement in mild to moderate kidney disease patients after taking astragalus. Further, when paired with other therapies, astragalus may help reduce high blood pressure.
Combats heart disease
Astragalus has been used to treat heart disease in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. Flavonoids, an important component of astragalus, are considered anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antiviral. Many flavonoids possess more antioxidant activity than vitamin C and E and beta carotene. The flavonoids in astragalus may help in curbing a buildup of plaque. Combined with conventional medicine, astragalus may also be an effective treatment against viral myocarditis and to help lower blood pressure.
Diabetes affects 442 million people worldwide. Diabetes is characterized by excess sugar in the bloodstream and may lead to other health conditions, like nerve damage and heart disease. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, astragalus may be helpful for those with diabetes. It contains polysaccharides, saponins, and flavonoids, which are compounds that have been proven to improve inadequate insulin production.
Reduces chemotherapy side effects
Although it’s a lifesaving treatment, chemotherapy can cause side effects. Many patients report nausea and vomiting after receiving chemo. Doctors prescribe anti-nausea medicine, but astragalus may also be an effective treatment. In clinical studies, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy reported reduced nausea and vomiting with astragalus. Additionally, astragalus was an effective treatment for those suffering from cancer-related fatigue.