Astragalus Information

Astragalus Membranaceus, Astragalus

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Most Common Name:Astragalus
Botanical Name:Astragalus Membranaceus
Also Known As (other names):Milk Vetch, Huang Qi, Yellow leader
    

Astragalus was first used as a medicinal herb in China over two thousand years ago as a stimulant and general tonic. More recently in China it has been used for infertility in men, heart disease and as an immune system stimulant.

It is native to China, Mongolia and parts of Siberia. The plant grows to about three feet high but it is only the abnormally large root that is harvested and used.

Use for/In treatment of:

ColdsRespiratory system problemsCancer treatment tonic
Angina reliefLiver ailments 
   
   

Properties:

AntiviralGeneral tonicImmune system stimulant
   
   

 

Astragalus Constituents:

Below we list reported constituents of this herb. This may not be complete as continuous research constantly discovers new constituents. Where possible we also provide information about constituents and their application, effect and side effects, if any. We do not provide information on the interaction between constituents. We do not give quantities of each individual constituent as these vary considerably due to region and climate. By comparing the treatments above with the constituent benefits below some indication of quantities can be gained.

Astragalosides: A Triterpenoid Saponin from Astragalus

Triterpenoid Saponins: A glycoside with triterpenoid aglycone structures.

Saponins: Wound healing, anti-scarring. Saponins occur as glycosides with aglycone structures that are steroidal or terpenoid. Saponins can cause the destruction of red blood cells if injected causing anaemia or worse. Ingested saponins are poorly absorbed in the digestive system reducing the risk of poisoning but care must be taken on dosage as Saponins are mucus membrane irritants.

Many herbs containing saponins have been identified as "adaptogens" also referred to as harmony remedies (see: The Root of being: Ginseng and the Pharmacology of Harmony - Stephen Fulder 1980). Instead of being purely remedial herbs these adaptogens improves and energizes vitality and resistance thereby keeping ailments at bay. It is claimed that these adaptogens can improve mental functions like learning speed, awareness and alertness as well as help with emotional and intellectual stress. As a tonic they will also reduce the risk of infections by stimulating the immune system.

Saponins are also expectorant, anti-inflammatory, hepaprotective, combats cholesterol build up and antifungal.

 

Isoflavones: Flavonoid isomers found largely in the legume bearing plants. Isoflavones are similar in structure to oestrogen but their oestrogen activity is very low. Some isoflavones are reputed to have anti-tumour properties but little clinical evidence of this property exists at the time of writing.

Isoflavones are also used to treat the symptoms of menopause.

 

Astragaloglucans: A Gum specific to Astragalus.

Gum: Long chain polysaccharides that become mucus like when mixed with water.

Gum is a protective substance stored by many plants used to protect sites where the bark has been damaged. Gums form a barier (instead of the bark) to protect the cambium layer which is responsible for the growth and repair of structural parts of the plant. This is often seen as a gummy exudate produced by many plants when the bark is damaged.

Mucilages and Gums (Polysaccharides): Widely present in the plant kingdom these substances are hydrophilic, being able to attract and bind with a volume of water that far exceeds the mass of the gum or mucilage.

Apart from their propensity to attract water, Mucilages and Gums are virtually inert and also almost fully indigestible. Generally the small amount of digestion that happens extracts very little sugar and no noteworthy pharmacological effect.

Because of this neutrality and indigestibility their value if ingested is that they are demulcent - which means that they coat and protect the lining of the gastric tract, if applied externally they are emollient - which means that they coat and protect the skin.

 

 

 

 

Various other Polysaccharides.

Polysaccharides: Polysaccharides (Glycans) are polymers that are made up as sugar chains. Polysaccharides making up the gums and mucilages, occur in every plant.

Polysaccharides are virtually indigestible and therefore have little or no effect if ingested. Polysaccharides are mostly inert and the majority are not soluble in water or organic solvents. Most gums will absorb water to the point where they become a sticky gel.

Mucilages and Gums (Polysaccharides): Widely present in the plant kingdom these substances are hydrophilic, being able to attract and bind with a volume of water that far exceeds the mass of the gum or mucilage.

Apart from their propensity to attract water, Mucilages and Gums are virtually inert and also almost fully indigestible. Generally the small amount of digestion that happens extracts very little sugar and no noteworthy pharmacological effect.

Because of this neutrality and indigestibility their value if ingested is that they are demulcent - which means that they coat and protect the lining of the gastric tract, if applied externally they are emollient - which means that they coat and protect the skin.

 

Contraindications, do not use if:

Use for short periods only  
   
We at Beneforce are certainly not experts in the use of every herb. In our studies and research we do come across warnings that a herb should not be used in certain circumstances or for certain conditions and ailments. Where possible we will reflect these on our pages but cannot guarantee that for any herb our list of contraindications are complete or valid. We urge that you consult an appropriate and knowledgeable practitioner before treatment.
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Administered as/Available in:

Fresh rootDried rootPowder
CapsulesTabletsTinture

 

What is?

A CompressA DecoctionA Herbal VinegarA Fluid Extract
An InfusionAn OintmentA PoulticeA Powder
A SalveA SyrupA TeaA Tincture

 

 

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* Statements made have not been evaluated by American Food and Drug Authority or similar board or authority of any other country.
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