798555 tn?1292787551

Astragalus - safe for autoimunne diseases?

Was thinking of trying Astragalus for stressed fatigued adrenals. With Hoshimoto hypothyoid, in time, adrenals can also take a beating from the teamwork effect of hormone glands.

I had positive trial with Holy Basil (expensive though), calming but alert in stressful times. Ashwogonda actually seemed to rev me up - not good. Have not used Rhodoila (again, expensive) or Siberian Ginsing for adrenals or anything else.

From a web site - "Astragalus has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that support the immune system in fighting infection. Because they are directly affected by stress, the adrenal glands may benefit from reduced strain on the immune system."....................

............"Because it has immune-stimulating properties, astragalus should not be taken by people with autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis except under a doctor's supervision."...........

- Hashimoto is an autoimmune disease.  I think this quote above is confusing because "autoimmune" is from autoimmune antibodies at elevated levels (true), and "immune stimulating" is referring to bacteria and viral illness to some degree. I dont see a relation here.....?

So can anyone further explain how Astragalas use should be avoided with autoimmune like Hoshimoto? Or is this BS?


11 Responses
Avatar universal
Chinese medicines belief is that astragalus can strengthen your immunity. Astragalus formulas should not be taken during early stage of infections. Doing so it's believed would  cause the infection to be driven deeper. Astragalus is to be used while you're healthy, to prevent future illnesses.
Astragalus has also been shown to enhance urine output by having  the kidneys to release more sodium into the urine.
Research shows that astragalus might help in treating atherosclerosis, hyperthyroidism, hypertension,
Some Chinese herb manuals say that at 15 g or lower per day can raise blood pressure, and doses above 30 g may lower blood pressure.
Astragalus shouldn't be used in cases of acute infections.
It's recommend that astragalus be used under supervision of a qualified Chinese herbalist.
Avatar universal
Astragalus is an immune system booster.  It's used in combination with other herbs to help reduce the severity of colds and such.  Unlike echinacea, the immune system herb most known in the US, astragalus can be used for extended periods of time without stressing the immune system.  As to Hashimoto's, you've got a complicated one there.  Unlike a continuing autoimmune disorder such as lupus, Hashimoto's kills off the thyroid and then it's pretty much done what it's going to do.  That makes it less problematic, I'd think, than other autoimmune diseases regarding immune system stimulation.  Still, I'd get a professional opinion on this.  But astragalus won't be very effective in helping your adrenals.  Aswaghanda usually makes people tired, not stimulated, but we're all different, but astragalus isn't a primary adrenal herb.  My favorite two for maintaining the adrenals are eleuthero and ashwagandha.  You can also try American ginseng, less stimulating than Chinese ginseng but perhaps more so than ashwagandha or eleuthero.  Rhodiola can be very stimulating, but it depends on the individual.  Made me anxious, but I have an anxiety problem.  But there are a lot of other herbs that can help as well, and many formulas, so perhaps it's time to visit a naturopath.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
By the by, you might try calling a company called Planetary Formulas and see if they can give you some info.  They specialize in combining herbs from the ayurvedic, western, and Chinese traditions, based on the work of Michael Tierra, who wrote a very good book on world herbology called Planetary Herbology.
798555 tn?1292787551
Problem with naturopaths is the cost and they seem to have different opinions them selves as some around here have told me. So I ask around and play test Guinean pig on myself.....effective but time consuming I suppose. This state is hard core on standard western medicine too (the Mayo might be why), not many naturopaths

Yes, the more I read about Astragalus, the less I see it used for adaptogenic properties. Might just try some others for adrenal stress besides holy basil. Interesting thing about holy basil, it seemed to lower my fasting glucose levels too.

Planetary Formulas, hmm.......i've used some of there products before.
Avatar universal
Holy Basil does lower blood sugar.  So do many adaptogens, including American ginseng.  
Avatar universal
Cinnamon Bark also lowers blood sugar (Gaia makes an excellent product)
798555 tn?1292787551
On the subject of ginsing, which I have never tried, I was not aware of the differences between the varieties. That makes me wonder if your really gettiong the type its labeled as. I have noticed some cheaper brands that say nothing more the just"ginsing".
Avatar universal
Most Chinese or Korean ginseng on the market has no ginseng at all, or no active ginseng.  At a minimum, Asian ginseng must grow for seven years before it becomes biologically active, and the better ones are grown for even more years before bring used.  When tested, most ginseng products contain no ginseng.  Partly this is because so much of the ginseng market was cornered by the Moonies, who sold it in drinks, teas, and those sweetened shots which have no ginseng but a lot of sugar or honey.  Real Asian ginseng should be expensive, otherwise it isn't ginseng -- consider how expensive it is to use a product that takes a minimum of 7 years to be useful, and is so yang it strips the soil of most of its nutrients, rendering that area non-productive for quite a while after ginseng harvest.  American ginseng comes in two forms -- wild, which is illegal to harvest or sell because it has become picked about to extinction, and cultivated, which isn't as good but some do a better job of cultivation than others.  It isn't as energizing as Asian ginseng; it's considered less yang, is better at lowering blood sugar, and is considered "cool" to Asian ginseng's "hot."  Most of it is sold in China and Japan.  Those are the only two real ginsengs.  Siberian ginseng, now called eleuthero, isn't ginseng at all, it's a different adaptogen entirely.
Avatar universal
I should add, Asian ginseng does come in different varieties, as do most plants -- you'll find white, red, and such, which differ in how energetic, or yang, they are.
Avatar universal
I have a form of rheumatoid arthritis in my hands and feet that is not overly active UNTIL I take an immune system stimulant. Cordyceps and Reishi both made the arthritis flare up real badly. it took almost two months for the flare up to settle down completely after I stopped taking each one. I had taken each of them on separate occasions, and it was NOT pleasant. Astragalus and ginseng both give me anxiety. Siberian ginseng was good , and did not make me anxious. Its hard for some people systems , and mine is very sensitive to drugs and herbs, to use some herbs. but I prefer them to drugs. I see a chinese medical dr who is treating me with a host of herbs and auricular therapy. he is learning my body and the herbs I can't tolerate. He had to take astragalus OUT of my formula due to its stimulating effects.
Avatar universal
Neither reishi nor cordyceps are immune system boosters per se.  Reishi is often used with allergies and asthma in Chinese medicine precisely because it doesn't cause the immune system to cause inflammation.  However, particularly with cordyceps, which is an energizing herb, anyone can have a bad reaction to anything.  Taking Chinese formulas, or any formula, is not in itself a bad idea, but a more ideal way to take herbal formulas is to take each herb separately first to see what the particular individual's reaction to it is.  This is how naturopaths often work, whereas Chinese doctors usually start with a formula that is pre-prepared.  Another problem with this is that many Chinese products, when taken over a long period of time, are tainted with liver toxins, so you want to be sure of your source.  Unfortunately, China today is like the US of the late eighteen hundreds through Teddy Roosevelt, which is to say not well regulated, and many of the products are exported to the US by Koreans, such as the Moonies, who will sell absolutely anything to anyone, unfortunately.  Be careful out there.  Reishi, by the way, is a completely different herb than cordyceps, a much different mushroom, with completely different uses, and is best known if it will work only over a reasonable period of time of use.  Good luck to all in this complicated world.
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