Jumat, 25 Juli 2008

ASTRAGALUS (Syn. Huangqi)

Plant Source: Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. and other Astragalus spp. (Family Fabaceae).

Part Used: Root (raw and cured).

Properties: Qi (energy) tonic, healing, antiviral, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, immunoregulating, diuretic, antimutagenic.

Most Common Traditional Uses:

Raw root - Spontaneous/night sweating, edema, painful joints, chronic sores/ abscesses, non-healing wounds and ulcers.

Cured root - General weakness, fatigue, lack of appetite, diarrhea due to Spleen deficiency, rectal prolapse, uterine bleeding.

Modern/Recent Uses: Colds and flu, diabetes, stomach ulcer, neurodermatitis, AIDS.

Documented use of astragalus root in China dates back at least 2,000 years. It is one of the major qi (energy) tonics, being used in countless formulas as well as in various soup mixes. Although the raw and cured roots are distinctly different entities, some of their uses often overlap. Most of the above listed properties and uses have a documented scientific basis, some more extensive than others.

The chemistry and pharmacology of astragalus root have been extensively studied, mainly by Chinese, Japanese and European researchers. It contains many types of chemical components. The ones so far found to be pharmacologically active include polysaccharides, triterpene glycosides, and flavonoids, none of which alone account for the overall properties of astragalus. Other pharmacological effects not listed above include hypotensive, vasodilating, improving learning and memory, liver protectant, and improving stamina.

Astragalus, in combination with other traditional Chinese herbs (e.g., licorice), is now widely used for its beneficial immunologic effects in AIDS treatment by alternative health care physicians.

Astragalus is an herbal tonic/food with over 2,000 years of safe use history. It contains a wide variety of both conventional (amino acids, minerals, etc.) and non-conventional (flavonoids, polysaccharides, triterpene glycosides, sterols, etc.) nutrients. It can serve as a source for both types of nutrients to help our body cope with the hardships of our modern lifestyle.

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