Indications,Administration and Dosing of Astragalus Root.
- Botanical Description of Astragalus.
- Astragalus Root Spices and Preparation.
- Constituents and Phytochemicals of Astragalus Root.
- Brief History of Astragalus Herb.
- Improve Immune function:Astragalus Root as antiviral agent and immune system protection.
- Cardiovascular effects of Astragalus Root.
- Anti-aging effect of Astraglus Root and Astragalosides.
- Astragalus Root Combinations.
- Astragalus Observational Studies Case Reports.
- Quantitative Analysis of Astragloside IV.
- Astragalus Root Uses based on tradition or theory,and ancient Classic Notes.
- Indications,Administration and Dosing of Astragalus Root.
- Photo Gallery of Astragalus membranaceus.
Indications of Astragalus Root:
Colds and influenza,Persistent infection,Fever,Night sweats,Multiple allergies,Shortness of breath,Chronic fatigue,Fatigue or lack of appetite associated with chemotherapy,Anemia,Wounds,Stomach ulcers,Uterine bleeding,Prolapsed uterus.
Key Actions:adaptogenic,antiviral,antioxidant,cardiovascular toner,diuretic,immune stimulant,laxative,liver protector,strengthens gastrointestinal tract,tonic,vasodilator
It is also used to treat general digestive disturbances,including diarrhea,gas,and bloating.
Astragalus should not be used for cases of excess or when there is deficiency of yin with heat signs,and it should not be used when there is stagnation of qi or dampness,especially when there is painful obstruction.
Value:Astragalus is available as a single-ingredient supplement,but it may be even more effective in lower doses (100-200 mg/day) when combined with other immune-stimulating herbs and nutrients.
Cosmetic uses of Astragalus root:
Glossary noted this Astragalus membranaceus root,Scientific name for the Chinese herb Huang-Qi, also known as milk vetch.Do some works in cosmetics,application reported used in the following product types: facial moisturizer/treatment; anti-aging; conditioner; shampoo; toners/astringents; moisturizer.
Used since ancient times in traditional Chinese medicine. It has become an important remedy in the West since its immune boosting effects came to light. Astragalus is an ideal remedy for anyone who might be immuno-compromised in any way.The astragalus plant extract can improve the human body's systematic immunity and has the function of stepping down the blood pressure. It can help the body to expand the blood vesseland and the coronary artery. It is helpful to prevent the descend of the amount of white blood cell, haematoblast, reticulocyte, megakaryocyte. The astragalus plant extract can lengthen the life of the cells and delay the consenescence.
Combination of astragalus and echinacea can bea wonderful blend of both immune boosting as well as adaptogenic herbs to strengthen, protect and rejuvenate the immune system as well as the body.Astragalus has the ability to stimulate the immune system and also depress certain functions within this system. It is excellent in this formula for people suffering from re-occurring infections,It is meant to help reducing the severity and frequency of infections,can be easily absorbed in tincture or drink form.As to its adaptogenic action,astragalus root will assist in rebalancing the body and providing support during times of stress and change,combined with siberian ginseng and licorice root,they works great to increase overall body energy levels,can be made into product forms suitable for athletes and any situations where endurance and stamina are required.
Administration and Dosing of Astragalus Root.
Dosage Suggestions of Astragalus Root:
Although Astragalus Root is usually combined with other herbs,it is available by itself in capsules that generally contain between 250 mg and 500 mg of powdered astragalus root.If it is taken separately,oral doses of astragalus typically range from 1,000 mg to 30,000 mg(one gram to 30 grams) of powdered root per day in two or three doses.Although doses can be much higher,some evidence shows that doses above 28,000 mg(28 grams or about one ounce)per day are no more effective than lower doses.Higher doses may also increase the risk for side effects.If a single-ingredient Astragalus Root product is used,the directions on the package that is purchased should be followed for the condition being treated.
Approximately 500 mg per day is recommended for stimulation of the immune system and to provide resistance to the effects of stress. Divided doses of 250 mg per day of a standardized root extract are preferred.
Astragalus Root can be made into a tea by boiling up to 120,000 mg (120 grams or about 4 ounces) of the fresh,whole root in about one quart of water.A typical dose of astragalus tea is 2 cups to 4 cups per day,although no real limits are placed on its use.Due to its pleasant taste,astragalus tea is sometimes served as a beverage.
In North America,Astragalus Root products generally are not standardized.Standardization by the manufacturer assures the same amount of active constituents in every batch of the commercial preparation. Oral Astragalus Root products sold in this country may have different amounts of active ingredients depending on where and when they were grown and how they were processed and stored.
Astragalus ointments generally contain 10% of astragalus and they are applied as often as needed.In Asia,injectable forms of astragalus and herbal combinations containing astragalus are used in hospitals and clinics.Injectable forms of Astragalus Root are not available in the United States.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Standardization:Standardization involves measuring the amount of certain chemicals in products to try to make different preparations similar to each other. It is not always known if the chemicals being measured are the "active" ingredients. Anecdotal reports have recommended astragalus to be standardized to a minimum of 0.4% 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy-isoflavone-7-glycoside per dose. However, since astragalus is often added to herbal mixtures with unclear amounts used, standardization is not always possible.
Adults (18 years and older):General use by mouth: In Chinese medicine, astragalus is used in soups, teas, extracts, and pill form. In practice and in most scientific studies, astragalus is one component of multi-herb mixtures. Therefore, precise dosing of astragalus alone is not clear. Safety and effectiveness are not clearly established for any particular dose. Various doses of astragalus have been used or studied, including 250 to 500 milligrams of extract taken 4 times daily; 1 to 30 grams of dried root taken daily (doses as high as 60 grams have been reported); or 500 to 1000 milligrams of root capsules taken 3 times daily. Dosing of tinctures or fluid extracts depends on strength of preparations.
Intravenous (IV):For non-small cell lung cancer, 60ml has been given intraveneously per day.
Note:In theory, consumption of the tragacanth (gummy sap derived from astragalus) may reduce absorption of drugs taken by mouth, and should be taken at separate times.
Children (younger than 18 years):There is not enough scientific data to recommend astragalus for use in children.
Orally absorbable constituents:Some study identified absorbable compounds, which were reported to have various bioactivities related to the curative effects of Astragali Radix decoction, could be regarded as an important component of the effective constituents of Astragali Radix decoction,demonstrated that the flavonoids in Astragali Radix decoction, including isoflavones, pterocarpans, and isoflavans, could be absorbed and metabolized by the intestine,they are listed in the related study(159.).
Dosage Suggestions from Pharmacopeia:
Decoction:10-15g,large dosages of Astragalus Root can use up to 30-60g.The CP2005 suggested a general dosage for crude dry Astragalus Root piece as daily 9-30g.
Common taken forms:cut pieces,honey-prepared pieces,tea bags,tincture,capsules.
Dosage commonly reported:The APA guide give a commonly reported dosage suggestion like this:"One dropperful of tincture is taken two to three times per day.The dried root is taken in dosages of 1 to 4 grams three times per day."2,The PDR4 suggested Astragalus Root daily dosage "dried root is administered as 2~6grams daily,and fluid extract as 4 to 12 mL daily.The powdered root capsule(250mg~500mgs) has been administered as two capsules three times daily"3.
Overdose risks:the PDR 4th give cautions on overdose that "due to the selenium content in astragalus,toxic doses may result in neurological damage leading to paralysis."3
Administration Safety and Risks of Astragalus Root:
General Safety of Astragalus Root:
The Astragalus Root used as a tonic herb in China more than 2000 years,it is very safe and suitable to be taken for long year without any known risks.The APA guide also proposed that "The toxicity of astragalus appears to be very low,according to centuries of continued use as a healing food in parts of Asia,the ingredients identified,and results of rodent studies.Its safety has yet to be properly examined in clinical trials,however,and information on common side effects--if any--is hard to obtain."2
Risks of Astragalus Root:
Due to possibly unpredictable effects on the immune system,Astragalus Root should not be taken by transplant recipients or by individuals who have autoimmune conditions.Little is known about the possible effects of Astragalus Root for developing babies or infants.Therefore,Astragalus Root use is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Allergies:In theory, patients with allergies to members of the Leguminosae (pea) family may react to astragalus. Cross-reactivity with quillaja bark (soapbark) has been reported for astragalus gum tragacanth.
Side Effects and Warnings of Astragalus Root:
No side effects have been attributed to the use of Astragalus Root,but not enough information about it is available to determine whether or not side effects are possible.
Some species of astragalus have caused poisoning in livestock,although these types are usually not used in human preparations(which primarily include Astragalus membranaceus).Livestock toxicity, referred to as "locoweed" poisoning,has occurred with species that contain swainsonine(Astragalus lentiginosus,Astragalus mollissimus,Astragalus nothrosys,Astragalus pubentissimus,Astragalus thuseri, Astragalus wootoni),or in species that accumulate selenium(Astragalus bisulcatus,Astragalus flavus,Astragalus praelongus,Astragalus saurinus, Astragalus tenellus).
Overall, it is difficult to determine the side effects or toxicity of astragalus, because it is most commonly used in combination with other herbs. There are numerous reports of side effects ranging from mild to deadly in the United States Food and Drug Administration computer database, although most of these are with multi-ingredient products, and cannot be attributed to astragalus specifically. Astragalus used alone and in recommended doses is traditionally considered to be safe, although safety is not well studied. The most common side effects appear to be mild stomach upset and allergic reactions. In the United States, tragacanth (astragalus gummy sap) has been classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for food use, but astragalus does not have GRAS status.
Based on preliminary animal studies and limited human research, astragalus may decrease blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare professional, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Based on anecdotal reports and preliminary laboratory research, astragalus may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Preliminary reports of human use in China have noted decreased blood pressure at doses below 15 grams and increased blood pressure at doses above 30 grams. Animal research suggests possible blood pressure lowering effects. Due to a lack of well-designed studies, no firm conclusions can be drawn. Nonetheless, people with abnormal blood pressure or taking blood pressure medications should use caution and be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional. Palpitations have been noted in human reports in China.
Based on animal study, astragalus may act as a diuretic and increase urination. In theory, this may lead to dehydration or metabolic abnormalities. There is one report of pneumonia in an infant after breathing in an herbal medicine powder including Astragalus sarcocolla .
Astragalus may increase growth hormone levels.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Risks:
There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the safe use of Astragalus membranaceus during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Studies of toxic astragalus species, such as Astragalus lentiginosus or Astragalus mollissimus (locoweed) have reported harmful effects during animal pregnancies, leading to abortions or abnormal heart development.
Toxicity of Astragalus Root.:
Acute toxicity(LD50):LD50 (mice/abdominal injection/herb decoction): [40-5g~40+5g]/kg.
Subchronic toxicity:Some study identified Radix Astragali extract (RAE,consists of Astragalus polysaccharide and Astragalus membranaceus saponins) was safe without any distinct toxicity and side effects, the safety dosage range is 5.7-39.9g/kg for rats and 2.85-19.95g/kg for beagle dogs, which is equal to 70 or 35 times of that of human (0.57g/kg, say, average BW 70kg), respectively(181.).
Interactions with Prescription Drugs of Astragalus Root.:
Based on preliminary animal studies and limited human research, astragalus may decrease blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
The immune system effects of Astragalus Root make using it inappropriate while taking corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs.It may enhance the effects of antiviral drugs.
Preliminary reports of human use in China have noted decreased blood pressure at doses below 15 grams and increased blood pressure at doses above 30 grams. Animal research suggests possible blood pressure lowering effects. Although well-designed studies are not available, people taking drugs that affect blood pressure should use caution and be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional. It has been suggested that beta-blocker drugs such as propranolol (Inderal) or atenolol (Tenormin) may reduce the effects on the heart of astragalus, although this has not been well studied.
Based on anecdotal reports, astragalus may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve).
Based on animal research and traditional use, astragalus may act as a diuretic and increase urination. In theory, this may lead to dehydration or metabolic abnormalities (low blood sodium or potassium), particularly when used in combination with diuretic drugs such as furosemide (Lasix), chlorothiazide (Diuril), or spironolactone (Aldactone).
Based on laboratory and animal studies, astragalus may possess immune stimulating properties, although research in humans is not conclusive. Some research suggests that astragalus may interfere with the effects of drugs that suppress the immune system, such as steroids or agents used in organ transplants. Better research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be reached.
Some sources suggest other potential drug interactions, although there is no reliable scientific evidence in these areas. These include reduced effects of astragalus when used with sedative agents such as phenobarbital or hypnotic agents like chloral hydrate; increased effects of astragalus when taken with colchicine; increased effects of paralytics such as pancuronium or succinylcholine when used with astragalus; increased effects of stimulants such as ephedrine or epinephrine; increased side effects of dopamine antagonists such as haloperidol (Haldol?); and increased side effects of the cancer drug procarbazine.
In theory, consumption of the tragacanth (gummy sap derived from astragalus) may reduce absorption of drugs taken by mouth, and should be taken at separate times.
In theory,Astragalus Root may interfere with the effects of corticosteroids,which are often used for a variety of inflammatory conditions including arthritis,asthma,cancer,eye conditions,and skin infections.Commonly prescribed corticosteroids include:
beclomethasone(Beconase,Vancenase);dexamethasone(Decadron);hydrocortisone;methylprednisolone (Medrol);prednisolone;prednisone (Deltasone);triamcinolone(Azmacort,Nasacort)
It is believed that Astragalus Root may decrease the effects of drugs used to decrease the function of the immune system after organ transplants or in other conditions.Taking astragalus is not recommended for patients who take immunosuppressant drugs such as:
While no reports are found in the medical literature and consequences are unknown,taking Astragalus Root may possibly increase the antiviral effects of drugs such as:
acyclovir;amantadine;Foscavir;interferons (including Alferon N, Intron A, Pegasys, PEG-Intron, and Roferon-A);non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (including Rescriptor and Viramune);nucleoside-analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors (including Hivid and Retrovir);protease inhibitors (including Crixivan, Fortovase, and Norvir);Relenza,ribavirin,Tamiflu.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements of Astragalus Root.:
Based on preliminary animal studies and limited human research, astragalus may decrease blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking herbs or supplements that affect blood sugar. Possible examples include Aloe vera , American ginseng, bilberry, bitter melon, burdock,fenugreek, fish oil, gymnema, horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE), marshmallow, milk thistle, Panax ginseng, rosemary, Siberian ginseng, stinging nettle and white horehound. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Preliminary reports of human use in China have noted decreased blood pressure at doses below 15 grams and increased blood pressure at doses above 30 grams. Animal research suggests possible blood pressure lowering effects. Although well-designed studies are not available, people taking herbs or supplements that affect blood pressure should use caution and be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional. Herbs that may lower blood pressure include aconite/monkshood, arnica, baneberry, betel nut, bilberry, black cohosh, bryony, calendula, California poppy, coleus, curcumin, eucalyptol, eucalyptus oil, ginger, goldenseal, green hellebore, hawthorn, Indian tobacco, jaborandi, mistletoe, night blooming cereus, oleander, pasque flower, periwinkle, pleurisy root, shepherd's purse, Texas milkweed, turmeric, and wild cherry.
Based on anecdotal reports, astragalus may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs or supplements that increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases. Some examples include: alfalfa, American ginseng, angelica, anise, Arnica montana , asafetida, aspen bark, bilberry, birch, black cohosh, bladderwrack, bogbean, boldo, borage seed oil, bromelain, capsicum, cat's claw, celery, chamomile, chaparral, clove, coleus, cordyceps, danshen, devil's claw, dong quai, evening primrose, fenugreek, feverfew, flaxseed/flax powder (not a concern with flaxseed oil), ginger, grapefruit juice, grapeseed, green tea, guggul, gymnestra, horse chestnut, horseradish, licorice root, lovage root, male fern, meadowsweet, nordihydroguairetic acid (NDGA), onion, papain, Panax ginseng, parsley, passionflower, poplar, prickly Ash, propolis, quassia, red clover, reishi, Siberian ginseng, sweet clover, rue, sweet birch, sweet clover, turmeric , vitamin E, white willow, wild carrot, wild lettuce, willow, wintergreen, and yucca.
Based on animal research and traditional use, astragalus may act as a diuretic and increase urination. In theory, this may lead to dehydration or metabolic abnormalities (low blood sodium or potassium), particularly when used in combination with herbs or supplements that may possess diuretic properties. Examples include artichoke, celery, corn silk, couchgrass, dandelion, elder flower, horsetail, juniper berry, kava, shepherd's purse, uva ursi, and yarrow.
Based on laboratory and animal studies, astragalus may possess immune stimulating properties, although research in humans is not conclusive. It is not known if astragalus interacts with other agents that are proposed to affect the immune system. Examples include bromelain, calendula, coenzyme Q10, echinacea, ginger, ginseng, goldenseal, gotu kola, lycopene, maitake mushroom, marshmallow, polypodium, propolis, and tea tree oil.
In theory, consumption of the tragacanth (gummy sap derived from astragalus) may reduce absorption of herbs or supplements taken by mouth, and should be taken at separate times.
1: What is Astragalus root?Functions,application and modern research about Astragalus root and its effective components?
2: see The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines,1st Ed,p54,p55.
3: see PDR for Herbal Medicines 4th Ed.,under title "Astragalus(Huiang-Qi)",p59;
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