There are many superfoods that when consumed as a part of your diet, have the ability to strengthen your immune system and in some cases, fight off a whole host of diseases.
One such food is the herb, Astragalus.
A mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, astragalus is a herbal remedy derived from the dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus, a low-growing plant native to northern and eastern China. Used by itself and in combination with other herbal remedies, astragalus is reputedly versatile in its medicinal properties, earning it a reputation as an adaptogen, a substance that can help your body resist the debilitating effects of stress. Modern research has produced evidence that points to a number of health benefits for astragalus.
Astragalus has gained popularity recently as research has emerged about the possibility that it can protect DNA and increase longevity. Recent research has shown that Astragalus may protect the telomeres from degradation.
Flashback to freshman biology: Telomeres are attached to the end of chromosomes. During the DNA replication process, telomeres keep the DNA together (like how the plastic caps on the end of shoelaces keep them from unraveling). Every time DNA replicates, the telomeres get slightly shorter and eventually when they get small enough, the process of cell death begins. Research has linked this process of cell death to aging and cancer.
Astragalus is Good For Diabetics
Astragalus seems to be a decent food for diabetics. For a reson that’s not entirely clear patients who take astragalus exhibit better blood sugar control.
The different polysaccharides protect against radical scavengers, and the benefits astragalus provides to cellular health seem to carry over in its ability to metabolize different nutrients.
One avenue of research into cancer treatment has focused on finding substances that inhibit human cancer cells’ ability to spread by cutting off or sharply limiting their access to the blood supply they need to survive and proliferate. Researchers at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Chinese Medicine studied in vitro the effects of saponins — substances that produce a soapy lather when shaken with water — from astragalus on human gastric cancer cells. In an article in the June 2012 issue of “Journal of Ethnopharmacology,” researchers said their findings show that astragalus saponins have the potential to be developed into a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of advanced and metastatic gastric cancer.
Other Health Benefits of Astragalus Root
In addition to the above, there are many other reasons that you might want to take Astragalus. These may include, but are not limited to:-
Reduces metastatic spread increasing survival rates
Helps with heart disease and high blood pressure 3/4
Improves liver function
Boosts the immune system
Minimizes the side-effects of Chemotherapy
Can be used as a general tonic
Treats burns and abscesses
Prevent common colds
Help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Sources and Research
Bernardes de Jesus, Bruno, et. al – The telomerase activator TA-65 elongates short telomeres and increases health span of adult/old mice without increasing cancer incidence. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00700.x/abstract
Clinical observation on the treatment of ischemic heart disease with Astragalus membranaceus – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7787395?dopt=Abstract
Effect of astragalus injection on immune function in patients with congestive heart failure – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12800417?dopt=Abstract