Astragalus Benefits and Side Effects You Must Know
Have you heard of ‘astragalus’? May be it is the first time that you are hearing this name. So, let us see what is astragalus. There are almost 3000 herbs and shrubs belonging to the legume family Fabaceae. Astragalus is a genus that contains these 3000 species.
People in China have been using astragalus as a traditional medicine for many centuries. It has been used to increase immunity power and for treating heart disease. This plant is also said to contain some elements that are good for the treatment of cancer.
Benefits or Uses of Astragalus:
- The anti-inflammatory properties of astragalus help in reducing inflammatory response in connection to many illnesses and conditions. It is also good for healing wounds and lesions and for reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.
- Recent studies have shown that astragalus saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides have the ability to decrease or cure tumours.
- The antioxidant property of flavonoids in astragalus helps in preventing the build-up of plaque in arteries and the narrowing of blood vessel walls. Astragalus is shown to have the ability to relieve insulin resistance and treat diabetes in a natural way. This is because of the presence of saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharide in it. This makes it effective or treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Astragalus can also treat kidney illness that is very common in diabetic patients.
- Astragalus can fight against eh free radicals in the body and prevent oxidative stress and free radical damage caused to the body. This way it helps in keeping you look young for a long time.
- Astragalus can heal wounds because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy are able to recover quickly and increase their life span by using astragalus. Symptoms of chemotherapy, like nausea, vomiting, bone marrow suppression, diarrhoea etc are treated by giving astragalus intravenously and in combination with other Chinese herbal mixtures.
- The antiviral property of astragalus makes it very effective for treating cold and flu.
In spite of its benefits, it can affect you negatively because of the side effects it possesses.
Side Effects of Astragalus:
Bleeding problems increases:
By taking astragalus, especially in its powdered form, bleeding problems can be aggravated. This is because astragalus can prevent clotting of blood, which leads to bleeding problems. So, people who take aspirin or blood thinners should never take astragalus. Even in surgery, consumption of astragalus is discouraged. Increased incidents of bleeding during menstruation are one of the symptoms of bleeding problems caused due to consumption of astragalus.
Causes autoimmune disorders:
Autoimmune disorders take place when the immune system of the body targets and causes damage to the healthy tissues of the body by mistake. This property of astragalus may be harmful for people suffering from autoimmune disorders.
In case you are suffering from any autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, then consuming astragalus may make your immune system work against you. This can lead to further complications.
Moreover, people who take immunosuppressant drugs should also avoid taking astragalus as it can weaken the medication.
Fatigue, rashes, fever and joint pains are some of the symptoms that you face in this case.
Digestive issues and allergies:
Astragalus can also cause digestive problems as well as serious allergies. By consuming astragalus, especially in the powdered form, you may suffer from digestive problems. It also causes allergies. The allergies it causes are mostly uncommon. Astragalus is a legume. So, if you are allergic to legumes like beans and peanuts, then you can be allergic to astragalus also.
Symptoms of digestive problems are indigestion, bloating, gas as well dehydration. Allergic reactions caused by astragalus are rashes, hives, difficulty in swallowing and breathing problems.
Not good for people with low blood pressure:
Astragalus has the power to lower the blood pressure levels. So, people with low blood pressure may face problems by consuming astragalus. They may face further reduction in their blood pressure levels. This can cause severe complications. Symptoms found are nausea, depression, dizziness, lack of concentration and nausea.
Pregnant women should stay away from astragalus. It can cause adverse effects in pregnant women. No research has been conducted to back this statement. But there is also no research that states that astragalus is harmless to pregnant women. So, it is better that they stay away from astragalus.
Some species of astragalus can be toxic. It has been found that more than half of the astragalus plants have neurotoxins in them. The most prominent of these is the ‘milkvetch’ (Wasatch milkvetch, Columbia milkvetch and Yellowstone milkvetch). These plants are poisonous from the time they emerge till they dry up in summers.
This can cause locoweed poisoning if you consume them.
Cattle, horses and sheep are most affected by astragalus toxicity. Chronic poisoning shows symptoms like nervousness, rapid respiration and temporary blindness in some cases. Acute poisoning symptoms include severe respiratory distress and even death at times.
The above mentioned are some of the side effects of astragalus. Now that you have seen the side effects of this plant, you have to decide whether you want to use it or avoid it. Nothing that you take from the nature is completely safe for use. All that you have to keep in mind is to take it in moderate amounts. This way you can remain healthy. If you consume it in excess, you are sure to suffer from its side effects. It is better that you consult your doctor and discuss about the benefits and side effects of astragalus, and then decide whether to consume it or not.