Personally, until recently, I have never heard of astragalus and didn’t know the first thing about it. It showed up on a list of herbs that have been evaluated by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the NIH), so I decided to look into it.
Astragalus Use and Health BenefitsThe purported health benefits of astragalus are a bit vague, at least from a scientific standpoint. Astragalus is used to boost the immune system, treat hepatitis, and even treat cancer. It is almost always combined with other herbs, complicating the evaluation of the health benefits of astragalus. You’ll find astragalus as an ingredient in traditional Chinese Medicine preparations such as teas, soups and even capsules (in powered form).
Astragalus ResearchThere haven’t been too many studies into astragalus. Limited evidence suggests that there may be an immune-boosting benefit and some benefit to the heart (but remember, taking your vitamins can obtain similar or even better benefits, so don’t get too excited).
Astragalus Side EffectsFor the most part, astragalus has a good safety record but specifics are hard to find because there is always a combination of herbs taken at the same time. Quality control and safety measures in the manufacturing process of astragalus-containing supplements can vary.
Source: National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Herbs at a Glance.