Astragalus is an herb. The root is used to make medicine.
Astragalus is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.
Astragalus is used for the common cold, upper respiratory infections, allergies, fibromyalgia, anemia, HIV/AIDS, and to strengthen and regulate the immune system. It is also used for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Some people use astragalus as a general tonic, to protect the liver, and to fight bacteria and viruses.
Astragalus is commonly used in combination with other herbs. For example, in combination with Ligustrum lucidum (glossy privet), astragalus is used orally for treating breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer.
Astragalus is sometimes applied to the skin to increase blood flow to the area and to speed wound healing.
There are several different species of astragalus. Some species contain a toxin called swainsonine and have been linked to livestock poisonings. Some of these species include Astragalus lentiginosus, Astragalus mollissimus, and others. However, these species of astragalus are usually not found in dietary supplements used by humans. Most astragalus supplements contain Astragalus membranaceus.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for ASTRAGALUS are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate astragalus for these uses.
Astragalus is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken appropriately by mouth or intravenously (by IV). Doses of up to 30 grams/day by mouth for 3 months, 40 grams/day by mouth for 2 months, or 80 grams/day intravenously (by IV) for one month have been used safely. The side effects of astragalus are not known.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of astragalus in humans during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, some research in animals suggests that astragalus can be toxic to the mother and fetus. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other immune system conditions: Astragalus might make the immune system more active. This could worsen the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. Avoid using astragalus if you have any of these conditions.
Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) is used to make the immune system less active. Astragalus increases the activity of the immune system. Taking astragalus along with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) might decrease the effectiveness of cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar).
Astragalus may be able to increase urination and water removal like a "water pill" (diuretic). As a result, taking astragalus might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
Astragalus increases the activity of the immune system. Taking astragalus along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
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