This week we are highlighting the tonic herb Astragalus (Huang Qi).
Astragalus is considered a spleen qi tonic in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that builds "defensive energy" (wei qi) and is often used in formulas to improve lung function, as well. Astragalus is the chief herb in the classic formula Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Windscreen Powder), and has been used safely for thousands of years to help allergy sufferers.
In modern research, Astragalus is characterized as an immune modulator and most research has focused on the various effects Astragalus exerts on immune function and inflammation.
One study examined the effect of Astragalus extract on T lymphocyte activity - a broad class of cells which help our body distinguish, identify and fight disease. Interestingly, the study showed the Astragalus extract caused significant increases in T cell levels in both mouse and human cell preparations. Further, the Astragalus extract was tested on older mice - whose immune markers are lower as a function of age - and the extract showed an 'immunorestorative' effect whereby the older mice's T lymphocyte levels increased to the levels of the young, healthy mice. (1)
Astragalus is most commonly taken as a tonic or tincture, and is light enough to be taken regularly. The herb is one of the top choices in Chinese Herbs for strengthening and tonifying Qi and immune function.
If you are interested in learning more about how to integrate Astragalus/Huang Qi into your wellness plan, please contact our office or book your complimentary consultation here!
1. Cho WC, Leung KN. In vitro and in vivo immunomodulating and immunorestorative effects of Astragalus membranaceus. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;113(1):132-141. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.05.020