All About Astragalus: Digging into Herbal and Alternative Medicine
Astragalus, not to be confused with the vegetable asparagus, is an herb used in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This centuries-old herb is believed to strengthen the immune system and help the body defend itself from future illness.
For those of us new to alternative medicine, you might be wondering why people are choosing non-conventional herbs like astragalus over tried-and-true immune system boosters. Why now?
“Take a vitamin” has been the go-to response to staying ahead of sickness for what feels like forever. But, with greater acceptance of TCM in the United States, people now want to learn about the plant-based options available to them.
According to John Hopkins University, 38% of American adults are turning to some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Some of the more common techniques of CAM are:
- Herbal supplements
Based on survey results from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), people use CAM out of curiosity or because they see it as a cost-effective solution to expensive Western treatment.
Doctors are also suggesting the use of CAM alongside conventional medicine. Finally, some people simply don’t believe Western medicine will help them with their health problems.
The exciting news is that this research has the potential to change the way Americans make more well-informed decisions about their health. As we open up conversations about plant medicine, people start to want to learn and try it for themselves.
In this article, we highlight the health benefits of the astragalus root and tell you ways to add the herb to your routine. We’ll tie in the bonuses you get from combining astragalus with cannabinoids so you have a big picture idea of how to boost your energy (take it from us, cannabis makes everything better).
Why should I work on strengthening my immune system with Astragalus?
As a general rule of thumb, keeping an eye on your immune system is a good way to help your body protect itself from disease. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are good places to start.
The Harvard Medical School does an excellent job of explaining the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune system. For lack of research, we can’t claim that a perfect immune system stops us from getting sick, but it doesn’t hurt to try to stay ahead of the game.
We could all stand to make a few changes here and there since aging inevitably weakens the immune system. As we get older, we’re more prone to respiratory infections.
When you nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods and daily exercise, you increase the immune system’s ability to respond to disease-causing microorganisms.
You can also mind your stress levels for better health. Most of us already know the difference stress release can have on our mind and body. Everyone has their favorite form of self-care: long baths, workouts, and herbal teas can all do the trick.
We can also use astragalus supplements to boost our immune system and manage stress. Let’s talk about how the herb works.
Astragalus is an herb that’s been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for more than 2,000 years. The root is processed into powder, liquid extract, and tea forms.
Fun fact: Astragalus is a member of the third-largest plant family in the world. The Fabaceae (legume) family also consists of vegetarian staples like beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
We cover a similar immune-boosting adaptogenic herb called eleuthero in this article, so be sure to check it out if you’re not sure about the general principles of Ayurvedic plant medicine.
Herbalism is one technique of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that features the use of medicinal herbs to fight infection, soothe inflammation, and improve vital organ function.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, astragalus is a possible treatment for:
- Seasonal allergies
- Heart conditions
- Kidney disease
- Chronic fatigue
There are many species of Astragalus but the most popular variety and widely used TCM is Astragalus membranaceus. Its botanical properties show promising immune-boosting effects, and while most of the clinical research comes from animals, the future of human health could rest on herbal tonics like astragalus.
Most of what we’re talking about is based on preliminary research, so remember to take everything with a grain of salt. At Sovereignty, we don’t like to get carried away with the what-ifs, but we’re also pretty excited about the possibilities of plant medicine.
Since you’re here to learn about astragalus, it’s safe to assume you have a general interest in herbalism benefits. Let’s go over what happens when you add cannabis compounds to your diet, in addition to the astragalus herb.
Herbal formulas with cannabinoids
Does the entourage effect sound familiar to you? For our new readers, all you need to know is that the more cannabinoids you consume, the more health benefits you get.
Seems simple enough, but there’s more! The beauty of the cannabis plant has to do with the complexity of its chemical profile. With more than 100 unique cannabinoids and dozens of other terpenes, cannabis can help you cope with stress, revitalize energy, and induce sleep.
Cultures from all over the world have been using cannabis for ages to “get high.” The good news is that there are non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and CBG we can use as complementary and alternative medicine (and they’re completely legal).
Now, we all have our individual health problems, but there’s a cannabinoid for low energy and high-stress people.
Say hello to Purpose, a CBD and CBN supplement fortified with adaptogenic herbs. The powder supplement mixes in water so you can stay hydrated while getting your dose of cannabinoids and astragalus.
Next time you head for the multi-vitamin, think about branching out and trying a different CAM like astragalus. What’s so wonderful about alternative medicine is that you get to figure out what works for you without experiencing prescription drug side effects.
You might even decide to go all in on herbal medicine for good.