The Unsung Cancer Fighter
Astragalus is used as a natural cancer treatment adjunct
Astragalus is an herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicinal for over 4,000 years. Astragalus is a non-toxic, adaptogenic herb and plant extract that helps the body recover from and resist the damaging effects of stress while restoring the body’s normal physiological function.
Astragalus is best known for its ability to aid adrenal function but astragalus doesn’t stop there though! It also helps digestion, metabolism, combats fatigue, and increases stamina. Astragalus is very effective for helping people with AIDS and has been proven to have an anti-tumor effect. Astragalus actually can increase the efficacy of chemotherapy in cancer treatments!
What is astragalus?
A native plant of China, astragalus is officially known as astragalus membranaceus: AKA Milk Vetch Root and Huang Qi. Astragalus is a perennial plant that grows up to 4 feet tall. The root of the plant has a sweet taste and contains choline, flavonoids, amino acids-gamma aminobutyric acid, canavanine, beta-sitosterol, saponins (astragalosides) and oil. The primary actions of astragalus are adaptogenic (brings you up where you are low and down where you are to high) and also in modulating the immune system. The secondary actions are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, cardiotonic, diuretic and hepatoprotective.
Medicinal uses for astragalus
Astragalus is an herb that has actions in nearly all of the body systems. It is used to treat chronic colds, Epstein Barr Virus, HIV and candida by preventing infection recurrence. Astragalus stimulates bone marrow blood cells, while enhancing deep immune strength. Studies show that the polysaccharides in astragalus increases phagocytosis (the engulfing of microorganism invaders by the immune system), increases production of immunoglobulins and macrophages and modulates the pituitary-adrenal cortical activity. Astragalus protects the kidneys and lungs from damage from auto-antibody complexes, regulates sweating, decreases fatigue and increases tolerance to stress.
Astragalus also protects against oxidative damage by increasing mitochondrial function without increasing the mitochondrial oxygen consumption. In the liver, astragalus is a mild choleretic and also increases repairs in chronic viral hepatitis while reducing inflammation and other symptoms. Astragalus also lengthens telomeres for longevity (TA 65 is a very pricey extract made from astragalus that is touted to reduce all the effects of aging and mimics pretty much all the benefits of the inexpensive herb form of astragalus).
Astragalus even increases motility of human sperm for fertility issues!
Astragalus is an awesome cardio tonic
In the cardiovascular system, the saponins in astragalus inhibit lipid peroxidation in the myocardium and one study using patients with angina revealed that cardiac output increased after two weeks of treatment. Astragalus strengthens left ventricular function and reduces free radical damage in patients after a heart attack and increases super oxide dismutase activity in cardiac muscle.
Astragalus: The unsung cancer fighter
Studies at the University of Houston have shown that astragalus can improve immune function in cancer patients by increasing T-cell counts. Astragalus increases the cytotoxicity of NK cells and T-cells while switching on the anti-tumor activity of Interleukin-2. In chemotherapy treatments astragalus provides anti-neoplastic activity and decreases immunosupression. Astragalus reduces the negative consequences of both chemo and radiation of fatigue, weight loss, anemia, nausea and loss of strength while increasing WBC production for leucopenia (a common side effect of immunosuppressive therapy), thereby decreasing life-threatening infections.
Even though this incredible herb is listed on the Botanical Herbs Board Exams and in the Compendium of Pharmacological Actions of Medicinal Plants and Their Constituents, naming the benefits of astragalus can bring a warning letter from both the FDA and FTC as Dr. Andrew Weil found out when he listed the benefits of taking astragalus to prevent the Swine flu. So don’t expect to see any of this information on a vitamin or herb label. Despite what modern medicine and the FDA says and would have you believe, healing did occur long before pharmaceuticals were invented.
True health comes through good foods, minerals, herbs, fasting and cleansing. Astragalus is a good guy for natural health!
- Compendium of Pharmacological Actions of Medicinal Plants and Their Constituents, Compiled and copyrighted by Eric Yarnell, ND Actions of Medicinal Plants 2007
- Zhang CZ, Wang SX, Zhang Y, Chen JP, Liang XM. “In vitro estrogenic activities of Chinese medicinal plants traditionally used for the management of menopausal symptoms.”
- J Ethnopharmacol 2005;98(3):295-300.
- Nutrition 740 notes Spring 2006, Dr. Mona Morstein, SCNM
- html http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/pdfs/121581-151.pdf
Authored by cancer nutritionist Craig Stellpflug NDC, CNC, Dayspring Cancer Clinic Scottsdale, AZ
Copyright 2012 Craig Stellpflug© Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this article but only in its entirety