Astragalus Root

Astragalus Root refers to a genus of approximately 3,000 herbaceous, perennial plants and is thus the largest genus of flowering plants currently known. The plants within the genus are members of the legume families Fabaceae and Faboideae. Most commonly used in traditional medicine is Astragalus membranaceous, also known by its Chinese nomenclature Huáng Qí, or simply “Astragalus root.” The plant is commonly harvested in northern and eastern China and parts of Mongolia and Korea. Astragalus root is traditionally used for its immunostimulating effects, which are mechanistic of the most bioactive substance in the plant root, Astragalus polysaccharide (APS). Astragalus polysaccharides are also purported to have potent antiviral properties.

Astragalus RootA 2014 study published by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated Astragalus polysaccharides’ ability to regulate bodily immunity and ameliorate immune-associated diseases. Specifically, researchers explored the protective effects of APS on herpes simplex virus (HSV-1)-infected astrocytes, or glial cells. Results demonstrated that APS inhibited HSV-1 infection by promoting Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in astrocytes in vitro.

Similar studies have elucidated Astragalus polysaccharides’ ability to inhibit viral diseases in vitro and in vivo. The Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology published a study that found that Astragalus root administration inhibited H9N2 avian influenza in infected chickens by promoting humoral immune response in vivo. 

 

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