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Astragalus is a Chinese herb that is often used as an immune system booster and to combat cancer. Research has shown that astragalus reduces the intensity and frequency of the common cold. It also increases white blood cells and stimulates T-cells, helping to return the immune systems or cancer patients to a healthy state.

This is a great herb to take prior to any big outings to help prevent the illnesses that often occur after being around lots of people.

Another very cool thing about astragalus is that it is an antitumor agent. In a lab study, it prevented cancer metastasis in 80 percent of the mice it was tested on. I love it when traditional herbal medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years gets scientific backing.

Lastly, astragalus helps to protect the liver from toxins. Since the liver stays so busy filtering toxins that we encounter through the foods we eat and environmental exposure, it’s nice to give it a boost so that it keeps working well.

How to get it in your body

Astragalus root can be taken in a number of ways. It is often administered via extract. A simple astragalus tea or infusion is an easy way to take it or the herb can be encapsulated. It can also be used in a soup, like the one mentioned here. This recipe is taken from a book I have – Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria (Storey Medicinal Herb Guide)

What to be cautious about

I found that astragalus is very safe to take and no toxicity has ever been shown by the herb. However, I always think it’s important to double-check before taking anything while pregnant or breastfeeding. And like many pharmaceutical drugs, herbs can interact negatively with other herbs or drugs.

Because it does such a good job at boosting immune system function, astragalus should not be taken with drugs that are intended to decrease immune-system function (like a person with a transplant trying to keep their body from rejecting that transplant).

It’s also a good idea to avoid taking astragalus during a fever, because it will make a fever last longer or grow stronger, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. This makes sense because it’s an immune system booster and fever is one immune system defense against illness.

Have you used astragalus?


University of Maryland Medical Center.

Hawkins, Jessie. The Handbook of Vintage Remedies.

Buhner, Harrod. Herbal Antibiotics.