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For centuries, Astragalus, also known as sweet root, has been used in Chinese herbal therapy to build immunity. Read on to understand the potent benefits of astragalus for the immune system. benefits of astragalus
Telomeres, a part of chromosomes, become progressively shorter with division of cells. The immune system is very sensitive to the shortening of telomeres. Astragalus boosts the body’s immune system by preventing or slowing down the process of shortening of telomeres.
Astragalus also boosts the activity, production and functioning of various immune cells, such as T-cells, natural killer cells, and macrophages. T-cells are a type of white blood cells, which find and destroy cells that are infected by germs. Natural killer cells or NK cells play an important role in rejecting tumors or infected cells. Astragalus has also shown an increase in macrophages, a type of white blood cell, which play an important role in immunity.
Astragalus includes unique phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides, which are biologically very active and help protect the immune system. For instance, Flavonoids have antioxidant properties that reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer. Saponins have the ability to lower cholesterol. Polysaccharides possess anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
A study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong concluded that the roots of Astragalus have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby enhancing the body’s wound healing process.
As it can be seen, Astragalus is beneficial for the immune system in various ways. To know more about other nutrients needed to boost immunity, please read our article on Immune System Boosters: The Core Secret.
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Lai, P. K.-K., Chan, J. Y.-W., Cheng, L., Lau, C.-P., Han, S. Q.-B., Leung, P.-C., Fung, K.-P. and Lau, C. B.-S. (2013), Isolation of Anti-Inflammatory Fractions and Compounds from the Root of Astragalus membranaceus. Phytother. Res., 27: 581–587. doi:10.1002/ptr.4759