Information about Astragalus
Astragalus is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine used as a general tonic and treatment for many conditions including diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, heart disease, hepatitis and cancer.
Liver safety of Astragalus
Astragalus has not been associated with serum enzyme elevations during therapy nor in causing clinically apparent liver injury.
Mechanism of action of Astragalus
Astragalus is an ancient traditional Chinese herbal medicine that is derived from roots of various Astragalus species that are native to China, Korea and North America.
Called “Huang Qi” in Chinese traditional medcine, it is purported to have immunomodulatory, antioxidant, antiviral and cardiotonic activities and is used to treat stress, fatigue, pain, memory loss, viral infections, hypercholesterolemia, cancer, heart failure, and kidney and liver disease. It is also used as a general tonic to increase energy, reduce fatigue and counteract the effects of aging. Its efficacy in these conditions has not been shown in controlled prospective studies, but it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is currently becoming a popular herbal product in Western countries.
Astragalus extracts have multiple chemical constituents and the specific active ingredient responsibility for its activity has not been identified. Constituents include triterpene glycosides, saponins (astragalosides), sterols, fatty acids, isoflavonoids and polysaccharides.
Dosage and administration for Astragalus
Extracts of astragalus are often supplied as tablets or capsules which are taken once to three times daily. Astragalus is also supplied as liquids and teas.
Side effects of Astragalus
Side effects are uncommon and have not been clearly defined. Large doses can cause gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, probably because of direct irritation to the intestinal mucosa.
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