Source : https://dofollownet.com
Sept. 11, 2009 - Just found this morning in the Examiner an article titled Calming H1N1 fears that was mentioning Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) among supplements to fight the H1N1 flu.
As the Examiner looks more serious than all the websites that use unproven claims and fraudulent ads to promote snake oil remedies (like colloidal silver), I decided to dig a little bit into that matter and check if there were any substantial proofs to support such a recommendation.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is called Huang QI in Chinese, which means yellow energy and we can find mentions of its properties as far as 2000 years ago in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica) where the plant was recommended as a "superior tonic" able to stimulate the spleen and liver meridians. In traditional Chinese medecine, Astragalus and Ginseng are the most commonly used plants in order to increase energy level and to boost natural defenses. Well, that's a good start, but not a sufficient proof to claim it's efficiency against the H1N1 virus.
Let see what kind of chemicals it contains.
Astragalus is rich in polysaccharides (polymeric chains of sugar), saponis (glucosides with foaming characteristics) and flavonoids (polyphenolic compounds), all known for having antioxidant properties, which protect cells against damage caused by free radicals.
The plant also contains some amino-acids, phospholipids and oligo elements like selenium (also a stong antioxidant).
Does not sound too bad so far, and the best part is that Astragalus has been experimented in various scientifical studies and some interesting results have been published.
These studies have shown several interesting properties, confirming that Astragalus had anti-inflammatory properties, was stimulating the immune system and was efficient in preventing cold and upper respiratory infections. Some antibacterial and antiviral activities have also been demonstrated.
Detailed information on Astragalus properties have been published by the University of Maryland and contain full references to supporting research articles.
Although no research has been conducted yet to prove an action against any kind of influenza virus, just having an improved immune system does not really seem a bad idea...but I would suggest you to talk to your doctor first, as like any medication, interaction with other drugs is always possible.Read »