Astragalus is a powerful herb whose root has medicinal properties. Astragalus is a multi-purpose herb. While people use it for various conditions, there is yet to be any substantial scientific evidence on its use. Experts are yet to know whether it is indeed effective for these conditions or not. People take astragalus orally for conditions such as hay fever, kidney disease, and diabetes. Some even take it for boosting and regulating their immunity. What’s more, some even use this herb as a tonic to protect their liver, as well as ward off viruses and bacteria. But aside from these medicinal effects, the ancient people of China believed in Astragalus anti-aging benefits. Is there any truth to this?
Aside from its oral use, some people also use astragalus topically. They apply it to their skin to speed up wound healing and to boost blood supply in the area. We know that many herbs are used orally and topically. But the one that may come as a shock is that astragalus is also used intravenously (IV). If injected into your vein, it can ease chemotherapy adverse effects. Chemotherapy is a form of treatment for cancer. IV astragalus is also helpful for treating diabetes, heart failure, and lupus, among many other health conditions.
Astragalus: What Is It?
Other common names for astragalus include milkvetch and huáng qí. It is very popular as a herb used in the traditional medicine of the Chinese people.
There are more than two thousand astragalus species in this world. However, only two of them are commonly used for dietary supplements. They include Astragalus mongholicus and Astragalus membranaceus.
Some of the other astragalus species have a nerve-toxin in them that sometimes cause livestock poisonings. These poisonous species include Astragalus mollissimus, Astragalus lentiginosus, and others. But then, you cannot find these species in any dietary supplements.
Specifically, the plant’s root is what you find in supplements, not the entire astragalus plant. Astragalus supplements may be in the form of capsules, liquid extracts, teas, or powders.
The Astragalus root has many active compounds in it. These compounds give it all of its potential health benefits. For instance, these active compounds can reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system. However, research on the health uses of astragalus is still limited.
We mentioned earlier that astragalus injection is sometimes given by IV. This is not a supplement and is not for home use. Doctors use this in the hospital.
Astragalus Anti-aging Benefits
Many scientists agree that we can determine how healthy we are aging by checking how long our telomeres are. What are these telomeres? They are like caps protecting the end-parts of chromosomes.
Now, each time your cells divide, the telomeres become shorter. Telomere length usually varies from one person to another. If your telomeres are shorter, you are more prone to suffer from chronic diseases. You may also age faster.
Let’s give you an example. The length of WBC DNA telomere (LTL) shortens with age. Researchers checked this in 3037 and the result was consistent. They also found that this shortening is more pronounced in men.
The shortening of LTL has close links with a shorter lifespan, dementia, as well as other age-associated health problems. Thankfully, this is not without a solution.
As you may likely guess, the solution would be to find a way to lengthen your telomeres. Now, there is an enzyme in your body whose job is to lengthen your telomeres. The name of that enzyme is telomerase.
If we can activate telomerase, we would increase the telomere length and boycott the negative effects of aging. This is where we can find help with astragalus anti-aging benefits. It contains active compounds that can activate telomerase and extend your telomeres.
The active compounds in astragalus that help extend telomeres are known as astragalosides. One of the compounds in this group is cycloastragenol. This compound is a very potent activator of telomerase. We have the authority of research studies to support this claim.
Aside from increasing telomere length, astragalus root also contains certain extracts that help to slow down the rate of telomere shortening in lung cells. So while increasing the length of shortened telomeres, astragalus supplements can also reduce the rate at which newer shortened telomeres are formed. This is very amazing.
But there is still one more thing that experts discovered about astragalus. It contains a polysaccharide component that has significant anti-aging and antioxidant effects. This, alongside its potent telomerase activation effects, makes astragalus a great hope for rejuvenation in humans.
Other Health-Promoting Benefits of Astragalus
1. It boosts immunity
We cannot talk about long life and healthy aging without talking about your immune system. This is the system that protects your body from sickness and damage. Thankfully, we have herbs like astragalus that enhance this vital system.
Your immune system helps to prevent harmful viruses, bacteria, and germs from invading your body. If they do, they will cause illness. A major component of this system is your leukocytes (WBC). We have scientific evidence showing that astragalus can improve leukocyte production.
However, we still need some more research to substantiate this claim. But with what we have at the moment, astragalus is indeed very promising for fighting viral and bacterial infections, including flu.
2. It promotes heart health and improves its function
Astragalus may offer benefits to your heart, especially if you have an existing heart condition. Experts believe that astragalus helps to open up (dilate) your blood vessels. When these vessels dilate, blood flow from your heart to other places in your body improves.
Some experts have tried to combine standard medical treatment with the use of astragalus for treating heart failure. They noticed that this gave better results than standard treatment alone. There were greater improvements.
Astragalus is indeed a very wonderful herb. It is one of the best herbs that humans have tapped for medical use. Astragalus anti-aging benefits may still need further research. But with how much we know already, we can assure you that it will deliver great anti-aging benefits if you use it.