Stay Healthy with Astragalus

Post by Contributing Writer, Stacy

Coughing. Sneezing. Runny noses. Tissues. Door handles. Handshakes. Confined spaces.

What can we do in these situations to avoid illness?

Take astragalus!

Astragalus is thought to be one of the most effective herbs for building the immune system and increasing the body’s resistance to disease.

Also known as Huang Qi, astragalus is native to northeastern China (where it has been used medicinally for centuries).

In contrast to enchinacea, which is best taken at the first sign of a cold, astragalus is an excellent preventative herb and should be taken prior to the onset of illness.

Plane flights, playgroups, and holiday parties are perfect opportunities for astragalus to work its charm.

Astragalus is useful for more than cold and flu prevention and is often used to treat long-term illness or infection such as recurring flu, chronic colds and the Epstein-Barr virus. It is also helpful as a diuretic, digestive aid, and general energy booster.

Because of its ability to increase white blood cell production and enhance the function of T-cells, astragalus is a popular supportive herb during cancer treatment.

Image credit

How to Take Astragalus

Fresh astragalus is not readily available in most areas of the United States, so purchasing the dried root is usually best.  Astragalus is easily found in tincture or capsule form at most health food stores and online.

Dried astragalus root often comes in long sticks that resemble tongue depressors.

There are a number of effective ways to administer astragalus:

Tea –  Simmer approximately four sticks of dried astragalus root in two cups of water for about 30 minutes. Strain and drink one cup, three times a day.

Soup – Add  four or five sticks of dried root to a pot of soup and simmer for a few hours.

Capsule – General suggested dosage is usually one capsule, two to four times a day, depending on the amount of astragalus per capsule.

Tincture – For Adults – Usually 15-30 drops, three times a day.
For kids – Give a few drops of liquid glycerin astragalus extract in a glass of water or juice. Herbs for Kids makes a good astragalus tincture. General dosage is about ½ to 1 teaspoon, two or three times a day. Please check your particular brand for dosage instructions.

When to Avoid Astragalus

Astragalus is considered to safe for most people and most situations.
There is some debate as to its use for children experiencing fevers, but there is no definitive proof for avoiding it.

As always, please use caution when trying new herbs. Do you own research and consult a doctor or herbalist if necessary. The above is for informational purposes only and is a result of my own research.

Have you used astragalus? If so, how?

Top image credit
Herbal Nurturing from Frugal Granola

Stacy is wife to a preacher and mom to three busy children. She strives to live a healthy, happy life with God at the helm. Stacy writes about finding peace and joy at home, on her blog: Delighting in the Days.

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14 comments to Stay Healthy with Astragalus

  • Tracey

    I take two capsules each day. As a teacher, I’m exposed to all sorts of viruses, and having fibromyalgia, I have a hard time fighting them off on my own. I believe taking astragalus has helped me considerably. I did also use the flu mist last fall, in order to combat some of the flu viruses. The fall of 2009 my son and I both contracted the H1N1 and throughout that whole next year, I had colds at least once a month – even in the summer. I knew that the H1N1 had compromised my immune system, so I began taking astragalus.

    It worked so well for me, that I had my daughter start taking it. She lives in a residence hall while away in college. She was constantly getting sick as she also has a weak immune system. Now she hardly catches a virus.

    I’m truly amazed by astragalus!!!

    [Reply]

    Stacy Reply:

    @Tracey, it’s great to hear how well astragalus has worked for you! Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  • I haven’t used it before but have heard about it and been meaning to try it…thanks for all the info. I’ll have to pick some up soon!

    [Reply]

  • […] I’m sharing all the details at Frugal Granola today. […]

  • kristina

    Definitely going to get some of this! We’re already battling our first cold of the season! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • kristina

    quick question – is this safe to use while nursing? I just read one review that it’s not…please advise and can I give it to my 8 month old as well?

    [Reply]

    Casey Reply:

    @kristina, i would not give it to an infant. Most herbs are too strong for babies, and if you are concerned about immunity, you are supplying it through your milk. Talk with your midwife or an experienced herbalist, as there are many herbs nursing women should not take. It is better to be cautious. Remember, there are lots of whole foods that boost immunity as well.

    [Reply]

  • My family and I use astragalus and it truly is amazing. I try to make sure the kids get their Herbs for Kids dose before they come in contact with a group of kids. We rarely get colds or the flu. I’m so happy you’ve shared this. This post is going to help a lot of people.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    Rhonda – What do you mean by “Herbs for Kids dose”?

    [Reply]

  • I JUST heard about Astragalus at a conference on Saturday and even got to try some as a tea. I definitely want to get more. I may mix it with some fresh peppermint tea to help with the flavor!

    [Reply]

  • Kika

    I had asked my naturopath about astragalus and he said b/c of my allergies I can’t take it – only I can’t remember what allergy it relates to! I am allergic to pacific grasses and trees, pollen, birch trees and various fruits/tree nuts. Any ideas why astragalus wouldn’t be safe for me?

    [Reply]

  • I see a lot of different doses recommended for astragalus to prevent colds and wonder which is the correct dose to take during fall and winter?
    thanks.

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    I just follow the instructions on the bottle of astragalus tincture that I purchase; different brands may vary.

    [Reply]

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