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Herb Of The Week - Astragalus

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More about astragalus ....

 

*Smile*

Chris (list mom)

 

http://www.alittleolfactory.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_astragalus.htm

 

Astragalus

Astragalus membranaceus

Huang Qi

 

Astragalus is a twining leguminous perennial plant that grows 11-1/2 to

39 inches high. The stem has many branches, slanting upward and slightly

hairy. The pinnate leaves are alternate and the 9 to 21 leaflets are

elliptical-shaped, 1/4 to 3/4 inches long and about 1/3 inch wide. The

racemes are axillary and the peduncle slender, with anywhere from 3 to 9

flowers growing at the top. The pod is spindle-shaped, inflated, a

little over an inch in length and beaked at its tip. Astragalus has 20

to 30 seeds. Astragalus grows in grasses or in thickets on hillsides in

northwest China, Manchuria and Mongolia.

 

Medicinal value is in the root. Astragalus root is flexible and long, as

large as your forefinger, and covered with a tough, wrinkled, yellowish-

brown skin, which has a tendency to break up into woolly fibers. The

woody interior is of a yellowish-white color and has a faint sweetish

taste that reminds you of licorice root.

There are certain energy-draining diseases that leave a victim's body

thoroughly exhausted, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, candidiasis,

herpes simplex, mononucleosis, and hypoglycemia. A number of different

measures, including dietary, herbal, nutritional and drug, are resorted

to by those who are desperately seeking solutions to their problems.

 

In Oriental medicine one herb stands out as extremely useful as a remedy

for this physical weakness: astragalus root. Astragalus has been

employed by Chinese herbalists for " every sort of wasting or exhausting

disease. " It seems to work best, however, when used in conjunction with

Korean ginseng root. While both herbs are available in capsule form,

they make their greatest impact when administered as a tea.

 

Bring one pint of water to a boil; add one teaspoon each of dried, cut

astragalus and ginseng roots. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5

minutes, then remove and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and drink 1-2 cups

before a meal twice daily for badly needed boosts of energy that can

last up to 5 hours.

 

Traditional Oriental medicine teaches that astragalus root is a

wonderful tonic for the " spleen " and " lung chis. " Chi is considered to

be the vital energy of the body. Most of the different kinds of chi are

usually explained in terms of their " sphere of influence " or part of the

body. It should be pointed out, though, that the naming of the chi for

the body's organs doesn't strictly correlate with our concept of these

organs. When an Oriental herb doctor remarks that astragalus root

" tonifies the spleen, " it doesn't mean that the effect is on the

physical organ that removes foreign bodies and damaged cells from the

blood. Instead, it refers to a concept of health and the body's energy

in balance.

The " spleen chi " is referred to as the " middle burner, " where our body's

energy builds. When our " life energy " becomes deficient, astragalus root

is believed to increase or supplement it. More interesting is the fact

that this herb is said to " stabilize the exterior " of the body, which

Oriental herbalists interpret as protecting the system against disease.

This equates to our own concept of increasing resistance.

 

The root works best to reinvigorate the immune system before disease

occurs; it does not work as well once sickness has set in. Astragalus

capsules (3 per day) or the tea (1 cup daily) can be taken on a regular

basis for prevention of illness.

 

PARTS USED

Dried root

USES

Tonic & endurance remedy - Astragalus is a classic energy tonic, perhaps

even superior to ginseng for young people. In China it is believed to

warm and tone the wei qi (a protective energy that circulates just

beneath the skin), helping the body to adapt to external influences,

especially to the cold. Astragalus raises immune resistance and

manifestly improves physical endurance.

 

Control of fluids - Though a vasodilator (encouraging blood to flow to

the surface), astragalus is used for excessive sweating, including night

sweats. Astragalus is also helpful in both relieving fluid retention and

reducing thirstiness. Astragalus encourages the system to function

correctly.

Immune stimulant - Not an herb for acute illness, astragalus is

nonetheless a very useful medicine for viral infections such as the

common cold.

Other medical uses - Bone cancer, Breast cancer, Cervical cancer,

Colorectal cancer, Endometrial cancer, Hodgkin's disease, Kidney cancer,

Liver cancer, Lung cancer, Ovarian cancer. Astragalus treats prolapsed

organs, especially the uterus, and it is beneficial for uterine

bleeding. Astragalus is often combined with Chinese angelica as a blood

tonic to treat anemia.

 

HABITAT AND CULTIVATION

Astragalus is native to Mongolia and northern and eastern China.

Astragalus is grown from seed in spring or autumn and thrives in sandy,

well-drained soil, with plenty of sun. The root of 4-year-old plants is

harvested in autumn.

 

RESEARCH

Chinese investigations - Research in China indicates that astragalus is

diuretic and that it lowers blood pressure and increases endurance.

Western research - Recent American research has focused on the ability

of astragalus to restore normal immune function in cancer patients.

Clinical evidence suggests that, as with a number of other herbs, cancer

patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy recover faster and live

longer if given astragalus concurrently.

 

CONSTITUENTS

Astragalus contains asparagine, calcyosin, formononetin, astragalosides,

kumatakenin, sterols.

 

HOW MUCH TO TAKE

Textbooks on Chinese herbs recommend taking 9-15 grams of the crude herb

per day in decoction form. A decoction is made by boiling the root in

water for a few minutes and then brewing the tea. Supplements typically

contain 500 mg of astragalus. Two to three tablets or capsules or 3-5 ml

of tincture three times per day are often recommended.

 

SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS

Astragalus has no known side effects when used as recommended.

 

HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY

One of astragalus's main properties is that of stimulant to the immune

system. American and Chinese research has confirmed its use as an energy

restorative for conditions with long-term debility as a feature. It is

useful in improving resistance to colds and flues and has a similar

energizing effect to ginseng. It has been shown that cancer patients

given astragalus are better able to withstand the side-effects of

orthodox treatments, and have improved recovery times. Another of its

main functions is that of a diuretic, which means that it is very active

in the urinary tract, but also plays a major role in the cardiovascular

system as diuretics are used to lower blood pressure. It will also help

in conditions where there is water retention or oedema (swelling of the

tissues due to excess water). It can be used with other herbs in cases

of anemia. In the reproductive system astragalus is used where there is

excessive bleeding, for example during the menstrual cycle, and also

after childbirth due to qi (energy) and blood deficiency. In addition,

it is beneficial in cases of prolapse of the uterus and other organs. It

is used externally as a wound healer, especially where there is

ulceration or infection leading to discharge. It can be used in the

digestive system for poor appetite and digestive weakness. The Chinese

properties are sweet and slightly warm.

 

C 2002-2005 herbs2000.com

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