When it comes to strengthening your immune system and giving your cardiovascular health a little help, there are many products on the market to try. One called astragalus, however, has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years — and it looks like modern science may back up many of its purported benefits.
What is astragalus?
Astragalus is technically the name of a genus of over 2,000 species of plants, but in supplements, two forms of astraglus, Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus, are the most commonly used. It’s also sometimes referred to as “astragalus root” since that’s the main part of the plant that’s included.
In terms of its health benefits, its ability to help the immune system has long gotten it noticed. Numerous studies have shown that it can kill bacteria and help fight viral infections, which may include the common cold and hepatitis.
Additionally, promising research shows that it could open up the blood vessels and increase how much blood they pump around your body, bringing even more oxygen to the rest of your cells. Patients with heart disease also saw improvements to their cardiovascular health after receiving an astragalus regimen.
If those benefits weren’t already incredible, early research suggests that astragalus may be able to manage your blood sugar levels, regulate kidney function, and kill cancerous cells. Take about a busy herbal supplement!
What are its side effects?
One great aspect of astragalus is that its side effects are relatively mild. Most adults can take up to 60 grams of it per day for four months at a time while experiencing few to no health problems. That said, the most common side effects for people who take higher doses often include itchy skin, skin rash, gastrointestinal discomfort, and nasal symptoms.
Pregnant women should avoid taking it, as should anyone who’s on immune-suppressing drugs or may have an autoimmune disease like lupus, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
What form should you take it in?
Astragalus is easy to find online and usually comes in oral tablet form (Buy on Amazon, $13.49). Just make sure that as with all supplements, you talk to your doctor before adding something new to your regimen!