Saturday, October 22, 2011

Astragalus Health Benefits and Side Effects

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Astragalus (Astragalus onobrychis), also known as Huang Qi in traditional Chinese medicine, is a genus of small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae. The herb has been used in traditional herbal medicine in boosting and stimulating the immune system, as a diuretic, to treat shortness of breath, general weakness, and lack of appetite, colds, flu, stomach ulcers, diabetes, etc.

Health Benefits
1. Immune system
Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) isolated from astragalus enhances the immune system by enhancing and regulating the function of T cells, by suppressing the CD4(+)CD25(+)Treg activity, at least in part, via binding TLR4 on Tregs and trigger a shift of Th2 to Th1, according to the study of "Astragalus polysaccharides attenuate postburn sepsis via inhibiting negative immunoregulation of CD4+ CD25(high) T cells" by Liu QY, Yao YM, Yu Y, Dong N, Sheng ZY., posted in PubMed(1)

2. Foot-and-mouth disease virus
Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) isolated from astragalus enhances the immune responds to produce antibody against Foot-and-mouth disease virus in pig study. APS may in someday be used as an immunomodulator for a FMDV (Foot-and-mouth disease virus) vaccine to protect against FMDV, according to the study of "Enhancement of Astragalus polysaccharide on the immune responses in pigs inoculated with foot-and-mouth disease virus vaccine" by Li J, Zhong Y, Li H, Zhang N, Ma W, Cheng G, Liu F, Liu F, Xu J., posted in PubMed(2)

3. Chronic myelogenous leukemia
Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) isolated from the herb has exerted the property of enhancing the immune function in producing more pDCs (plasmacytoid dendritic cells) to fight against cancer cells in CML patient, according to the study of "[Effect of astragalus polysaccharide on the function and maturation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells from chronic myelogenous leukemia before and after treatment.][Article in Chinese]" by Liu LM, Zhang LS., posted in PubMed(3)

4. Cancers
Astragalus can be used combination with chemo- or radio-therapy to enhance the effectiveness and diminish the side effects and complications caused by chemo- and radio-therapy, acording to the study of "Chinese herbal medicines as adjuvant treatment during chemo- or radio-therapy for cancer" by Qi F, Li A, Inagaki Y, Gao J, Li J, Kokudo N, Li XK, Tang W., posted in PubMed(4)

5. Nasopharyngeal cancer
Astragalus not only also restores the immunological effects of DDP-induced immunosuppression but also exhibits the apostolic function causing cancer cells death Pharyngeal cancer, according to the study of "Antitumor and immunoregulatory effects of astragalus on nasopharyngeal carcinoma in vivo and in vitro" by Song Y, Yang J, Bai WL, Ji WY., posted in PubMed(5)

Link6. Spinal cord injury
Astragalus Injection (ASI) is said to propmotes the mesenchymal stem cells transplantation in repairing the injure of the spinal cord, according to the study of "[Effect of astragalus injection combined with mesenchymal stem cells transplantation for repairing the Spinal cord injury in rats].[Article in Chinese]" by Yu Q, Bai YS, Lin J., posted in PubMed(6)

7. Arthritis
Astragalus heteropolysaccharides (AHPS) is obtained from the dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus not only reduces the synovium hyperplasia, inflammatory cell infiltrate, pannus and cartilage demolish of knee joint but also improves the elimination of CIC in the peripheral blood and reduce the deposition of IC in joint synovium, according to the study of "[Effects of astragalus heteropolysaccharides on erythrocyte immune adherence function of mice with adjuvant-induced arthritis].[Article in Chinese]" by Yang LH, Qiu JD, Li HQ., posted in PubMed(7)

8. Diabetes
Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) not only not only restores the glucose homeostasis but also enhances regulation of insulin signaling by reducing the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress,
according to the study of "Astragalus polysaccharides decreased the expression of PTP1B through relieving ER stress induced activation of ATF6 in a rat model of type 2 diabetes" by Wang N, Zhang D, Mao X, Zou F, Jin H, Ouyang J., posted in PubMed(8)

9. Anti-inflammation
Astragalus has exerted an anti-inflammatory effect as a result of inactivation the p38 and Erk1/2 and inhibition NFkappaB-mediated transcription, according to the study of "Astragali Radix elicits anti-inflammation via activation of MKP-1, concomitant with attenuation of p38 and Erk" by Ryu M, Kim EH, Chun M, Kang S, Shim B, Yu YB, Jeong G, Lee JS., posted in PubMed(9)

1o. Lupus nephritis
Lupus nephritis is defined kidney disorder as a result of inflammation caused by by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). High-dose Astragalus injection and cyclophosphamide (CTX) has exerted the acticvity in decreasing infection rate and urine protein and improving immune function for patients with lupus nephritis, according to the study of "[Effect of intravenous drip infusion of cyclophosphamide with high-dose Astragalus injection in treating lupus nephritis].[Article in Chinese]" by Su L, Mao JC, Gu JH., posted in PubMed(10)

11. Congestive heart failure
In a study of Sixty-two in-patients with CHF (congestive heart failure), whose heart function belonged to NYHA grade II-IV with Astragalus Injection (AI),conducted by Huazhong University of Science and Technology, posted in PubMed(11), researchers found that astragalus Injection could improve the immune function of CHF patients, and can be taken as an important auxiliary treatment for CHF.

12. Senile tuberculosis (ST)
Astragalus injection (ASI) may be used as an enhancer of the immune system by elevating erythrocyte immunity to treat senile pulmonary tuberculosis, according to the study of "[Observation on effect of supplementary treatment by Astragalus injection in treating senile pulmonary tuberculosis patients].[Article in Chinese]" by Niu HR, Lai ZH, Yuan L., posted in PubMed(12)

13. Renal cell carcinoma
Astragalus membranaceus used together with Ligustrum lucidum have been tested to have a effective antitumor effects via augmentation of phagocyte and LAK cell activities, according to the study of "Chinese medicinal herbs inhibit growth of murine renal cell carcinoma" by Lau BH, Ruckle HC, Botolazzo T, Lui PD., posted in PubMed(13)

14. Skin care
Radix astragali on hyaluronic acid (HA) product containing isoflavonoid aglycones or other metabolites converted from their primary isoflavones during fermentation, might be responsible for the skincare functions, according to the study of "Stimulating effects of Bacillus subtilis natto-fermented Radix astragali on hyaluronic acid production in human skin cells" by
Hsu MF, Chiang BH., posted in PubMed(14)

15. Atherosclerosis
Extract of Astragalus, Radix Codonopsis and Cortex Lycii, reduces the risk of Atherosclerosis by suppressing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and inhibiting vascular smooth muscle cell migration, according to the study of "Suppression of low-density lipoprotein oxidation, vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration by a herbal extract of Radix Astragali, Radix Codonopsis and Cortex Lycii" by Chan JY, Koon JC, Leung PC, Che CT, Fung KP., posted in PubMed(15)

16. Intestinal mucosa
Astragali injection could be used to protect the intestinal mucosa of OJ rats by increasing the content of SOD, reducing the content of MDA, inhibiting the apoptosis and relieving the pathological changes of intestinal mucosa, according to the study of "Protective effect and mechanisms of radix astragali injection on the intestinal mucosa of rats with obstructive jaundice" by Xiping Z, Ke W, Yaping Y, Hongchan Z, Qihui C., posted in PubMed(16)

17. Anemia
Astragali radix (AMW) and Angelicae radix (AGW) conbition have shown a promising result of treatning anemia by significantly enhanced blood cell numbers, according to the study of "Treatment with Astragali radix and Angelicae radix enhances erythropoietin gene expression in the cyclophosphamide-induced anemic rat" by Chang MS, Kim do R, Ko EB, Choi BJ, Park SY, Kang SA, Park SK., posted in PubMed(17)

18. Asthma
Optomal dose of Astragalus can result in a rapid continuous excretion of large amounts of the above 2 types of Asbestos & TXB2 in urine & sputum, and Asthma symptoms reduced, according to the study of "Severe asthma with markedly increased asbestos of 2 types & TXB2, and markedly reduced acetylcholine, DHEA & drug uptake in parts of upper lungs, & similar abnormalities at respiratory & cardiac center of medulla oblongata: complete elimination of this asthma within 15 days using one optimal dose of astragalus & application of strong red light & EMF neutralizer on respiratory centers of abnormal medulla oblongata" by Omura Y, Henoch A, Shimotsuura Y, Duvvi H, Kawashima H, Ohki M., posted in PubMed(18)

19. Heart diseases
One optimal dose of DHEA or Astragalus can reduce the condition of heart disease? according to the study of "Organ representation areas of different internal organs localized on the eyebrows & eyelids by the Bi-Digital O-Ring Test electromagnetic resonance phenomenon between 2 identical molecules--Part I: Detection of increased markers for cancer & heart disease from white hairs on the eyebrows and marked decrease in the markers after taking one optimal dose of DHEA" by Omura Y., posted in PubMed(19)

20. Hypertension
flavonoid (TF), extracted from the seed of Astragalus have shown the properties of lowering blood pressure in both in both renal hypertensive rats (RHR) and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) according to the study of "Antihypertensive effect of total flavonoid fraction of Astragalus complanatus in hypertensive rats" by Li JX, Xue B, Chai Q, Liu ZX, Zhao AP, Chen LB., posted in PubMed(20)

21. Etc.

Side effects
1. Astragalus can interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as medication use after organ transplanted
2. Rash, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea if overdose or allergic effect to some people
3. Certain types of Astragalus produced in US may be toxic due to neurotoxin swainsonine and toxic levels of selenium, causing the above symptoms according the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
4. Etc.

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