You may have heard of the positive health effects of astragalus? This plant, which is increasingly present on the market, has attracted the interest of the scientific community due to its numerous biological activities. Indeed, one should know that there are several thousand species of astragalus, whose characteristics and properties are very different. Of these many species, Astragalus membranaceus has been known for its therapeutic effects for several millennia. In fact, the healing properties of the herb were first described in Shennong Bencao Ying, which is nothing more than the oldest work in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. That is why Astragalus membranaceus is a very well-known and widely used medicinal plant in Asia. It is recommended in various situations, especially as part of the treatment for disorders of the cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys and skin. In order to understand and confirm the therapeutic potential of this plant, numerous researchers have become interested in its effects and composition. Their research made it possible to confirm the medical efficacy of Astragalus membranaceus and to prove its extremely effective active ingredients.
Astragalus membranaceus research
In vivo study to evaluate the effect of astragalus
Despite numerous traditional therapeutic uses of Astragalus membranaceus, there have been few in vivo studies of this plant to date. Therefore, the American research team wanted to evaluate the effects of astragalus supplementation on humans. For this purpose, this study was conducted with several individuals who did not have known disorders. While receiving different doses of Astragalus membranaceus, the researchers evaluated various parameters, including the response to leukocytes, platelets, and cytokines, as well as body temperature and blood pressure.
Immunostimulatory ability of Astragalus membranaceus
Conclusions of this study, published in the journal EPLence-Based Complementaries and Alternative Medicine 2016 years, showed positive results. The first observed effects occurred four hours after taking the supplement, with an increase in the number of platelets in the bloodstream. The researchers also measured a significant increase in certain leukocytes, which are known for their essential role in the body’s defenses. From these leukocytes or white blood cells, monocytes, lymphocytes and neutrophils appeared in the period from 8 to 12 hours after application. In the same way, researchers observed a dynamic change in the levels of circulating cytokines such as TNF-alpha, IL-6 or gamma interferon . These elements intervene in the immune system, which confirms the immunostimulating ability of Astragalus membranaceus. The therapeutic effect of this plant is confirmed by the appearance of physiological symptoms, such as a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in body temperature. These two phenomena are characteristic for the activation of the immune system, whence the effectiveness of the Astragalus membranaceus supplement for improving the body’s natural defenses.
Active fraction with anti-inflammatory properties
Even if the immunostimulatory activity of Astragalus membranaceus has only recently been confirmed, its anti-inflammatory properties have already been proven in 2014. The Chinese research team actually managed to identify and extract the active faction of Astragalus. The properties of this fraction were assessed using specific immune cells. The researchers found that astragalus extract would allow it to inhibit the expression of a specific enzyme: nitric oxide synthase. This is implied in vasodilation, a phenomenon characteristic of inflammation. Deepening their research, the scientists showed that the active fraction of astragalus is responsible for a number of molecules involved in the inflammatory process, such as cyclooxygenase-2, NFkB, prostaglandin E2 , MAPK signaling pathway regulators or even more cytokines such as IL-1b, IL-6 and TNF-alpha would act. According to the researchers, thanks to the use of the extract from Astragalus membranaceus, the activity of these molecules was reduced by half. To explain this anti-inflammatory activity, the authors of this study then worked on identifying the active ingredients in this plant. The results of their work, published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, showed 13 active compounds, including 5 isoflavonoids and 8 saponins. The activity of these molecules could explain the anti-inflammatory properties of Astragalus membranaceus. This plant can be of great interest in preventing or alleviating inflammation.
Identification of natural antioxidants within the astragalus
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, Astragalus membranaceus has other means of protecting the body. By the way, their protective effect was confirmed by a research published in 2015. years in the specialized Chinese magazine Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi. In their work, the researchers were able to confirm the antioxidant power of three active ingredients of Astragalus membranaceus: astragaloside IV, formononetin and the calicosin group. The antioxidant activity of these molecules was assessed on Chang-Liver cells. They represent the type of normal liver cells that researchers used to induce oxidative stress by adding H2O2. To monitor the activity of the active ingredients of astragalus, the researchers analyzed the value of oxidative stress by measuring the intracellular amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as the expression of cytochrome P450-2E1. This cytochrome is also known by the initials CIP2E1 and is used to induce oxidative stress which is responsible for health complications. After confirming the validity of their study thanks to a control test, the researchers showed that the components within Astragalus membranaceus make it possible to reduce oxidative stress, including that caused by CIP2E1. As a result, the active ingredients of this species of astragalus could be particularly effective in combating the damage caused by free radicals.
These studies confirm the therapeutic potential of Astragalus membranaceus. Its antioxidant, immunostimulating and anti-inflammatory properties give it a protective effect on the body. Astragalus supplementation could thus enable the fight against or prevention of certain pathologies, including those related to age.
Other ingredients: gelatin, microcrystalline cellulose (vegetable fibers).
Suggested use: As a dietary supplement, take one capsule daily with water.
WARNING: Do not take this product if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult your healthcare provider before use if you are taking prescription drugs or if you have an autoimmune condition.