Astragalus Review

Editor's Review: 3.2 / 5.0

What You Should Know

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Astragalus is a species of plant that originated in China and has over 2,000 strains. Of these 2, 000 strains, two are commonly used in herbal medicine (i.e. Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus). Chinese people have used astragalus for centuries believing that it can prevent and treat colds, some repertory infections and some heart disease. Many companies specializing in natural supplements manufacture and distribute this herb.

The FDA has not confirmed the alleged health benefits of astragalus. In recent years, this herb has been falsely praised for its ability to ward off the H1N1 virus, cancer and heart disease. Since this product has not been subjected to rigorous clinical studies, the FDA does not recommend this herb for the diagnosis, treatment or cure of any disease. You should consult with your physician before selecting a product to treat or cure your ailment.

List of Ingredients

Astragalus Root (astragalus membranaceus), cellulose and gelatin.

Product Features

This supplement contains processed astragalus root. After processing the root is dried and then ground into a powder. The powder is then combined with cellulose and gelatin to form capsules that can be taken orally.

This product contains cellulose and gelatin. A cellulose derivative is commonly used in food as a thickening agent. It is a filler. Gelatin is commonly used in food either as a thickening agent or to form digestible capsules. This ingredient has no clinically proven health benefit.

Certain strains of astragalus found in the United States are poisonous and not safe for human consumption. You should use caution when or if you purchase this herb. The two strains mentioned in the opening paragraph are generally deemed safe for human consumption in small quantities. Consuming large quantities of astragalus may suppress your immune system. You definitely should not take astragalus if you are taking immune-suppressant drugs.

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Advantages

  • Astragalus may be available in a nutrition-supplement store near you.
  • Astragalus may be good for your health.
  • Certain forms of this herb are inexpensive when compared to other herbal supplements.

Disadvantages

  • Astragalus, as it is commonly sold in health-food stores, is combined with cellulose and gelatin. Neither of these two ingredients has any known health benefit.
  • No research backs the marketers claims that this herb promotes good health.
  • Astragalus is not a weight-loss supplement.
  • This product is processed before it is dried. Though the manufacturers claim that this product is “minimally processed,” they do not tell the effect that the processing has had on the potency of the supplement. Assuming that astragalus has some small health benefit, how much does the processing dilute it?

Conclusion

Although astragalus may have some health benefit, no serious research has been conducted to prove the benefits. The manufacturers are making unfounded claims about this product. You would probably be better off spending your money on products that have been researched more thoroughly and have proven health benefits.

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Editor: Paul Blake

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