Astragalus, a traditional Chinese medicinal herb, has been shown in numerous studies to have immunomodulating properties. According to a study published in Molecules in 2012, Astragalus membranaceus has immunoregulatory properties in many diseases, which can help an immune system to function normally.
This herb has been found useful for those with depleted T lymphocytes (T cells), but not for those with deficient B lymphocytes (B cells). It can increase immune cell function and inflammatory cytokines like tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) and also helps activate human T cell lymphocytes CD69 expression.
Astragalus is a great herb for balancing and stimulating certain parts of the immune system. It boosts the Th1 (T cells) side of the immune system, the part that helps kill intruders. For those whose main immune system weakness lies with the killing side not functioning properly, this herb could help provide what they need to help defend against viruses and other pathogens.
Why We Love Astragalus,
The T Cell Booster
We sometimes like to use astragalus with Dong Quai (Angelica) for our patients with Babesia because they usually need help with the killing side of their immune system. Astragalus can be a great aid for anyone who has an issue with the Th1 side of their immune system working properly, particularly those with viruses.
While it has helped many patients, astragalus has been shown to increase inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 6 and interferon, so if you already have high levels of inflammatory cytokines in your body, this herb might make you feel worse.
Because of its ability to raise interferon, it can make a person feel sick—achiness, general malaise—but it’s not technically a Herxheimer reaction occuring. A Herxheimer is when bugs are being killed in your body and you’re reacting to the killing (and not detoxing quickly or well enough). Taking astragalus just enhances your immune system function until your immune system creates more inflammation to protect your body from intruders.
For better or worse, this is an immune-stimulating herb that will increase inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IFN-gamma. It may take a few months to notice a difference. This herb isn’t helpful for everyone, so you need to make sure you test first. We use it carefully in the clinic.
For those who have already overcome tickborne illnesses, the last thing they want is to get bitten and infected again. I (Dr. Warren) will often use astragalus as a proactive measure for tick season. Since it helps balance the immune system, it can help your system have a normal, healthy immune response if bitten by a tick.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Qin Q, Niu J, Wang Z, Xu W, Qiao Z, Gu Y. Astragalus membranaceus Extract Activates Immune Response in Macrophages via Heparanase. Molecules. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules17067232. Published 2012; 17(6):7232-7240. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Denzler K, Moore J, Harrington H, Morrill K, Huynh T, Jacobs B, Waters R, Langland J. Characterization of the Physiological Response following In Vivo Administration of Astragalus membranaceus. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6861078. Published April 12, 2016; 2016. Article ID 6861078. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Brush J, Mendenhall E, Guggenheim A, Chan T, Connelly E, Soumyanath A, Buresh R, Barrett R, Zwickey H. The effect of Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra on CD69 expression and immune cell activation in humans. Phytotherapy Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1938. Published June 28, 2006; 20(8):687-695. Accessed Jan. 18, 2022.
- Zwickey H, Brush J, Iacullo CM, Connelly E, Gregory WL, Soumyanath A, Buresh R. The effect of Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra on CD25 expression in humans: a pilot study. Phytotherapy Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2207. Published July 27, 2007; 21(11):1109-1112. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- Cho WCS, Leung KN. In vitro and in vivo immunomodulating and immunorestorative effects of Astragalus membranaceus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2007.05.020. Published August 15, 2007; 113(1):132-141. Accessed January 18, 2022.
Herbs included in this product can potentially interact with certain medications and/or may have adverse effects for individuals with certain medical conditions or allergies. Make sure to consult with your licensed healthcare provider before taking this product. Not for use during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Store away from children