Astragalus(Astragalus membranaceus)

background

Astragalus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with other herbs to stimulate the immune system. It is also used in combination with chemotherapy to reduce adverse effects. Based on traditional use and clinical experience, astragalus is generally considered to be safe.
Early research suggests potential uses for astragalus when combined with other herbs. It is unclear if astragalus alone will have the same effects. Well-designed clinical trials evaluating astragalus on its own are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Astragalus is a large genus of over 2,000 species. Gummy sap (called tragacanth) from astragalus is used as a thickener in ice cream, as a denture adhesive, and as an antidiarrheal agent.

Related Terms

Astragaloside I, astragaloside II, astragaloside III, astragaloside IV, Astragalus adsurgens, Astragalus adsurgens Pall., Astragalus beckari, Astragalus bibullatus (Fabaceae), Astragalus bisulcatus, Astragalus bisulcatus (Hook.) A.Gray (two-grooved milkvetch), Astragalus canadensis, Astragalus caspicus Bieb., Astragalus cicer, Astragalus compactus Lam., Astragalus complanatus R.Br., Astragalus corniculatus Bieb. (Fabaceae), Astragalus drummondii, Astragalus gummifer Lab., Astragalus gummifera, Astragalus icmadophilus, Astragalus incanus, Astragalus lentiginosus (spotted locoweed), Astragalus membranaceus, Astragalus membranaceus Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.),Astragalus membranaceus extract (PG2),Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. var. mongholicus (Bge.) Hsiao, Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bunge var. mongholicus (Bge.) Hsiao., Astragalus membranaceus (Fischer) Bunge var. mongholicus (Bunge) Hsiao, Astragalus membranaceusjaponica, Astragalus membranaceus var. mongholicus, Astragalus mollissimus (wooly locoweed), Astragalus mongholicus, Astragalus mongholicus Bunge, Astragalus polysaccharide, Astragalus propinquus, Astragalus sahendi, Astragalus saponin, Astragalus sieberi DC., Astragalus sinicus (Chinese milkvetch), Astragalus sinicus L., Astragalus trigonus, Astragalus wiedemannianus Fischer, astragel, baak kei, beg kei, bei qi, buck qi, calycosin, Chinese milkvetch, Fabaceae (family), formononetin, gaba-aminobytyric acid, goat's horn, goat's thorn, green dragon, gum dragon, gum tragacanthae, gummi tragacanthae, hoang ky, hog gum, Huang Qi, huang-chi, huangoi, huangqi, Huangqi Guizhi Wuwu Tang (HQGZWWT), hwanggi, isoflavonoids, ji cao, Leguminosae (family), locoweed, membranous milk vetch, milk vetch, milkvetch, Mongolian milk, Mongolian milk vetch, neimeng huangqi, ogi, ononin, ougi, Phaca membranacea Fisch., pterocarpans, radix Astragali, radix Astragali (Huangqi), radix Astragali mongolici (Huangqi), radix Astragali seu Hedysari, saponins, spino santo, spotted locoweed, swainsonine, Syrian tragacanth, tai shen, tragacanth, trigonoside I, trigonoside II, trigonoside III, wooly locoweed, wong kei, yellow leader, yellow vetch, Zhongfengnaomitong.
Combination product examples: Ai Di, Jin Fu Kang, JTC (Astragalus membranaceus 30g, Rehmannia glutinosa 30g, Salvia miltiorrhiza 30g, Anemarrhena asphodeloides 15g, Epimedium brevicornum 30g, Atractylodes macrocephala 15g), Dang Gui Buxue Tang (1:5 combination of Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis) and Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus), Jian Yan Ling (JYL; Succinum, Pteria margaritifers, Astragalus membranaceus), Huangqi Jianzhong Tang (containing radix Paeoniae [peony root], rhizoma Zingiberis [ginger rhizome], Saccharum granorum (barley malt sugar), fructus Zizphi [jujube dates], radix Glycyrrhizae [licorice root], cortex Cinnamomi [cassia bark], and radix Astragali [astragalus root]), Huangqi Zengmian, Jiangtangjia, Jiedu Yanggan Gao (Artemisia capillaris, Taraxacum mongolicum, Plantago seed, Cephalanoplos segetum, Hedyotis diffusa, flos Chrysanthemiindici, Smilax glabra, Astragalus membranaceus, Salviae miltiorrhizae, fructus Polygonii orientalis, radix Paeoniae alba, Polygonatum sibiricum, etc.), Sanhuang, Shengxue Mixture (SXM; radix Astragali, radix Condonopsis pilosulae, and rhizoma Atractylodis macrolephalae), SH (Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Artemisia capillaris Thumb., Morus alba L., Astragalus membranaceus Fisch. Bge., Carthamus tinctorius L.), Yi-qi Huo-xue Injection (YHI; Panax ginseng, Astragalus membranaceus, Angelica sinensis), Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT) (radix Astragali and radix Angelicae sinensis), ningxintong granule (NXTG) (milkvetch root, pueraria root, ligustici, ilexpuhesceus, Manchurian wild ginger, 10g in each package), Huangqi Guizhi Wuwu Tang (HQGZWWT), Biminne (baicalin, icariin and Astragalus saponin I), Drynol Cibotinis (Angelica sinensis, Glycine max, wild yam, Ligustrum lucidum, Astragalus membranaceus, Cuscuta chinensis, Psoraleae corylifoliae, and Drynaria fortune), Shen Yan Ling Tablet (Tripterygium wilfordii, radix Astragali, and others), Wujia Bugu Recipe (WBR) (radix Rehmanniae Praeparata, radix Achyranthis bidentatae, radix Astragali, radix Angelicae sinensis, acetolytic substance of Concha Ostreae), Lixu Jieyu Recipe (LJR) (milkvetch root 30g, kudzu vine root 30g, asiabell root 15g, red sage root 10g, aizoon stonecrop 15g, epimedium herb 10g, Curcuma root 10g, and grassleaved sweetflag rhizome 10g, made into 200mL of decoction), Tongguan Capsule (Chinese medicine composed with radix Astragali, radix Salviae miltiorrhizae, etc.), Buyang Huanwu Decoction (BYHWD) (radix Astragali, radix Angelicae sinensis, rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong, radix Paeoniae rubra, flos Carthami, semen Persicae and Lumbricus), Hengyan medicinal recipe (Bombyx batryticatus, cicada slough, curcuma, rhubarb, radix astragalus, radix ophiopogonis, red ginseng, paeony, walnut kernel, and safflower), SR10 (radix Astragali, radix Codonopsis and cortex Lycii).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Allergies (Grade: C)
Early research reports that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, decreased runny nose from allergies. More well-designed trials are needed.
Anorexia (Grade: C)
A combination of herbs including astragalus showed benefit in treating anorexia. Research using astragalus alone is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Aplastic anemia (damaged bone marrow) (Grade: C)
Early research reports that astragalus, as part of an herbal combination formula, may have beneficial effects in aplastic anemia. Studies are needed on astragalus alone before a conclusion may be made.
Asthma (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, in addition to a strong red light and an electromagnetic field (EMF) neutralizer, may have beneficial effects on severe asthma. Additional studies on astragalus alone are needed on this topic.
Athletic performance (Grade: C)
According to early research, an astragalus-containing combination formula may reduce fatigue and increase athletic performance. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Attention deficit disorder (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that an astragalus combination product may be more effective than Ritalin® in reducing attention-deficit disorder symptoms. However, astragalus may not exhibit greater efficacy than Ritalin®. Well-designed trials examining astragalus alone are needed.
Beta-thalassemia (genetic blood disorder) (Grade: C)
Limited research suggests that an astragalus-containing mixture may be an effective treatment for beta-thalassemia. Furthermore, astragalus may increase hemoglobin levels. Further study is needed in this area.
Burns (Grade: C)
Few clinical trials have investigated the effects of astragalus among burn patients. Limited research suggests that astragalus may positively affect levels of various blood endpoints. Further research is required before strong conclusions may be made.
Cerebral palsy (motor condition) (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus may be beneficial for children with cerebral palsy. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Chemotherapy (Grade: C)
Early research reports that an astragalus herbal mixture may improve quality of life in people undergoing chemotherapy. Additional well-designed research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that a combination including astragalus may decrease fatigue-related symptoms. Additional well-designed trials examining astragalus alone are needed in this area.
Cognitive function (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination therapy, may improve cognitive function. More research is required in this field before a conclusion can be drawn.
Common cold / upper respiratory tract infection (Grade: C)
Astragalus is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a part of herbal mixtures for upper respiratory tract infections. Antiviral activity has been reported in some studies. However, due to a lack of well-designed research, no firm conclusions may be drawn.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
There is some evidence that astragalus may improve the effectiveness of conventional diabetes therapies and lower blood sugar. More research is required before a conclusion can be drawn.
Diabetic complications (Grade: C)
There is some evidence that astragalus, as part of a combination therapy, may be an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers. More well-designed trials of astragalus alone are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Fatigue (cancer) (Grade: C)
Limited research reports that astragalus extract may improve cancer-related fatigue. Additional research is needed in this area.
Hearing loss (Grade: C)
Astragalus may improve hearing in people with hearing loss. Further well designed study is needed.
Heart disease (Grade: C)
Astragalus may benefit heart disease through antioxidant properties. Research suggests astragalus may also improve the immune response and symptoms of heart failure. More well-designed trials are needed in this area.
Helicobacter pylori infection (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, may be effective in reducing
Hepatitis (Grade: C)
Research suggests that astragalus may have antiviral effects and trigger an immune response against the viruses that cause hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Additional studies are needed in this area.
Herpes (Grade: C)
Research suggests that astragalus may have antiviral effects and trigger an immune response against herpes viruses. Additional studies are needed in this area.
HIV (Grade: C)
Research suggests that astragalus may have antiviral effects and trigger an immune response against viruses. Astragalus in combination with other herbs in HIV patients may improve quality of life and HIV symptoms. Additional studies are needed in this area.
Immune stimulation (Grade: C)
Several small studies report that astragalus may stimulate and improve immune system function. Further research is needed in this area.
Infection (Grade: C)
Early research studying the effect of astragalus on infections is conflicting. Further research is required before a conclusion can be drawn.
Kidney failure (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that astragalus may be effective for kidney disease. However, there is insufficient evidence from human studies to support this claim.
Kidney protection (Grade: C)
In children with congenital heart disease, injection of astragalus protected against kidney injury. Further study is needed in this area.
Liver protection (Grade: C)
Research suggests that astragalus may be effective against liver disease. Further research is required before a conclusion can be made.
Lupus (Grade: C)
Astragalus has been shown to improve immune parameters in patients with lupus. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Menopausal symptoms (Grade: C)
There is unclear evidence for astragalus for reducing menopausal symptoms. Further research is required before a conclusion may be made.
Menstrual disorders (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, may be beneficial in menstrual disorders. More well-designed trials of astragalus alone are needed.
Mental performance (Grade: C)
Some evidence suggests that astragalus may aid the mental performance of children with low IQ. Further well-designed trials are required in this area.
Myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disorder) (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, may benefit immune function in people with myasthenia gravis. More well-designed trials of astragalus alone are needed in this area.
Neck pain (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination therapy, may relieve pain in people with chronic neck pain. More research is required before a conclusion can be drawn.
Prostate inflammation (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, may benefit chronic prostate inflammation. More studies on astragalus alone are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Smoking cessation (Grade: C)
Astragalus has been used traditionally to aid in smoking cessation. Well-designed studies are required before conclusions can be made.
Stroke (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, may be effective in treating stroke. More well-designed trials of astragalus alone are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Tuberculosis (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus may benefit people with tuberculosis. Further well-designed studies are required before conclusions can be made.
Viral myocarditis (heart inflammation) (Grade: C)
Several studies suggest that astragalus may improve symptoms of heart inflammation. Astragalus may strengthen the immune response in response to viruses. However, larger, higher-quality studies are needed in this area.
Weight loss (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that astragalus, as part of a combination formula, may be useful for weight loss. More studies of astragalus alone are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.