The Natural Way

Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Here is an herb which has hundreds of years, maybe thousands, of world-wide use yet has little science in its history. This is probably because it is a member of that family of herbs which are classified as bidirectional. Science has trouble evaluating this classification as the herb does different things in different people. A very large sampling of people would be required to prove the herb mathematically and scientifically. This herb is called Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus).

In the deep past the old ones would have used this herb for a large variety of ailments but these days it is primarily for strengthening the immune system and the heart. Though if you have hepatitis C, type 1A or 1B, you might find adding this to your herbal regimen beneficial as the traditional use of astragalus included protecting the liver against toxins and for treating hepatitis.

The dried root is the best part and is ground to a powder and put into capsules. This root is known to have choline, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, betaine, beta-sitosterol, formononetin and isoliquiritigen in it. There are undoubtedly many, many more ingredients which we don't know to look for.

Uses other than boosting the immune system include lowering blood pressure, strengthening the heartbeat, regulating the glandular system, increasing sperm motility, improving overall energy and metabolism and it is a mild diuretic. Its use is legendary with AIDS and in enhancing interferon production. Many Naturopaths advise its use for chemo/radiation therapy patients.

Folks, science is good and valuable. But it isn't the only way. Science has trouble evaluating anything which isn't easily classified -- placed in a box. This sort of mystery is part of the adventure of life and has healing qualities all on its own. Astragalus is one of the mystery herbs.

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