Part Used: Root.
A Chinese herb now grown in the U.S. Boosts immune response and immune reserves. An aid in cancer. Chronically low
resistance to infection. Studies have shown its ability to restore immune system after chemo and/or radiation therapy.
Suitable for children with impaired immune systems. Slow healing response for old wounds, ulcers, etc. Chronic lung
weakness. Edema and nephritis.
Astragalus is a very good immune system builder. Many people use herbs like Echinacea to boost their immunity to the bacteria and viruses prevalent at this time of year. Such herbs are seen as stimulating the "surface" immune system; the
body's T-cells and other "killer" cells that fight off harmful pathogens in the system. Echinacea
also has other mechanisms that weaken viruses. But in general the body's white cells originate
in the bone marrow, and it is my belief that for those who have had long-term immune
deficiency, herbs like Echinacea will not be as effective, since the immune reserves are so
low. In other words, it is hard to stimulate an immune system that's not there.
It is in this building back the immune reserves that certain herbs excel. They should be
considered for those with cancer, those who have had long-term infections like Hepatitis, as
well as by those with auto-immune and allergic (over-reactive immune system) disorders, as
these herbs also seem to have a general balancing effect on the immune system. The herbs
include Astragalus, Maitake, Shiitake, Reishi and Turkey Tail mushrooms, Elecampane, and
It is no accident that several of these are from the Chinese tradition, as the Chinese
recognized the rudiments of the body's defense systems long before Western medicine.
Fortunately the Astragalus is easily grown in this country, and the mushrooms either grow
wild or are readily grown in the U.S.
Astragalus is a widely applicable herb for those with chronic immune deficiencies leading
to re-current infections; including viral infections. It is a mild acting herb that we have found
to work wonders with children who have been on repeated rounds of antibiotics, and of
course adults as well. It is also a valuable aid in recovery from infectious diseases.
The mushrooms have all been shown to boost and build up the immune system.
Elecampane is a good immune tonic with good effects on the lungs. The Ginsengs are helpful
for those in whom stress has been a major factor in their immune deficiency.
Many natural programs for cancer emphasize blood-purifying and de-toxifying herbs.
We have seen the best results when the immune reserve builders are used. The immune
system is the body's own defense against cancer. Maitake has been shown to not only boost
the immune system, but to also have a number of important anti-cancer and anti-tumor
compounds. Shiitake and Turkey Tail as well. Astragalus has been shown in studies to bring
back the immune system after chemo- and radiation therapy. For those who do choose to go
that route, I believe these herbs are invaluable. I believe that such therapies work much
better if the immune system (and ultimately the patient) is not sacrificed in the process.
The Astragalus and the mushrooms have also been shown to have liver-protective
properties; again making them valuable for those with any form of chronic Hepatitis or other
liver-impairment, and for those who have been taking chemo or other drug therapy. We will continue to stress the use of these herbs we believe are so valuable at this time when our immune systems are under assault from all directions.