Brief History of Astragalus
Astragalus belongs from the plant genus ( genus is a rank like family, root, species and genus it comes in order) of about 3,000 species of herbs and small shrubs. It belongs to the family of Fabaceae commonly known as legume, pea or bean family. It grows in moderate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Astragalus is known by many names but commonly known as Milkvetch, Huang Qi, Locoweed, Goat Thron etc., there are various species of Astragalus as mentioned above but the most Astragalus supplements contains Astragalus membranaceus. Astragalus is very famous in China and Asia due to its rich usage, it is found in China, Mongolia and North Korea. Its legendary history shows that it has been used in China for more than 5000 years.
Astragalus is a herbaceous perennial, it grows between 25 and 40 cm in height, it usually grows in grassy area and near mountain ridges; this herb requires ample of sunlight to cultivate, this plant is traditionally harvested after 4 to 5 years and the roots are collected during spring or autumn. The roots of Astragalus are sun dried and then slashed for distribution. The color of these roots is yellow and has a sweet, damp taste with fibrous texture.
Researchers are examining this herb as they believe it has an Telomerase (is an enzyme which adds DNA) activator as when constituted with other chemicals it can combat HIV disease as well as chronic syndromes or aging. However, National Institute of Health states, there are limitations to the usage of Astragalus as there are evidences that Astragalus herb alone or combination of herbs have potentiality in combating ailments of the heart, liver and boost the immune system. This indicates the treatment from this herb to various influences on many syndromes.
Traditional Use of Astragalus
In ancient times, Middle east used these as a natural gum “Tragacanth” which was prepared by inducing many species of Astragalus including A. Adscendens, A.gummifer etc. ; whereas, Astragalus membranaceus has been a part of history of china, who consumed this herb as an herbal medicine and it is still used as a traditional Chinese medicine. This herb medicine is known to benefit many health issues including heart aliments.
Modern Medicinal Uses
Astragalus is used for following syndromes
Adaptogen – it builds the immune system
Anemia - It was earlier studied that this herb increases blood count but the research was bleak hence, more research is incorporated.