stragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a perennial flowering plant in the Fabaceae family that is native to the grasslands and mountains of central and western Asia, principally in China, Korea, and Taiwan. Also known as huang qi, which literally means “yellow senior,” astragalus is one of the fifty fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This antiviral herb has been revered as an essential tonic for more than two thousand years.
Studies have shown that astragalus has natural antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, suggesting that it may help prevent colds and similar viral infections. In addition to being one of the best antiviral herbs, astragalus is an adaptogen, an herb that increases the body’s endurance and resistance to a range of biological, chemical, and physical stressors. Adaptogens have been found to enhance the immune response, reduce inflammation, and stabilize blood sugar. They also help normalize the functioning of various body systems, particularly the adrenal and pituitary glands, by affecting the action of hormones.
The taproot of the astragalus plant contains antioxidants that protect cells from damage. It’s used medicinally to support the immune system and to help prevent upper respiratory infections, lower blood pressure, treat diabetes, and protect the liver. Along with being a natural antiviral herb, astragalus also has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is sometimes used topically in ointments to increase blood flow to a particular area of the body and to speed wound healing.
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