By Dr. Mahalia Freed
This Chinese herb is one of my favorites. An ally for a wide range of conditions, it is a tonic and support to the immune system, enhancing our immunity without being overly stimulating. Studies of Astragalus have found that the root extract increases activity and numbers of various white blood cells, the cells that form the foundation of the immune system. It is a central herb in many deep-acting immune formulas, including antiviral formulas, and in contrast to immune stimulants like Echinacea, these tonic formulas may be taken throughout the winter to strengthen the body’s innate defenses against colds and flus. Astragalus is equally well known as an adaptogen, meaning that it supports the body in adapting to physical and emotional stress. In fact, Astragalus is a central herb in Change of Season Soup, a herbal formula traditionally taken for a week or two as the weather gets colder (or warmer), as well as in times of stress. Amazing Astragalus is antibacterial as well as antiviral, and it is specifically protective to the lungs, the liver and the heart. Beyond its traditional role in keeping people healthy, uses of this herb range from acute or chronic infection to allergies to adjunct support during cancer treatment. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor to find the dose and form best for you.
Dr. Mahalia Freed is a Naturopathic Doctor practising and lecturing in Toronto. If you have any questions or want to suggest a column topic, Dr. Freed can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org