A mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, astragalus is a herbal remedy derived from the dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus, a low-growing plant native to northern and eastern China. Used by itself and in combination with other herbal remedies, astragalus is reputedly versatile in its medicinal properties, earning it a reputation as an adaptogen, a substance that can help your body resist the debilitating effects of stress. Modern research has produced evidence that points to a number of health benefits for astragalus.
May Reduce Post-Stroke Damage
Much of the damage caused by stroke occurs when brain tissue, temporarily deprived of oxygen-carrying blood, suddenly has circulation restored. This sets off an inflammatory response that can cause lasting damage to nerve cells. Researchers at China’s Hunan University of Chinese Medicine conducted an animal study to determine whether treatment with astragalus extract could reduce the level of damage caused by the return of blood flow to brain tissue that had been temporarily deprived of it. In the April 2012 issue of “Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin,” researchers reported that animals treated with astragalus showed significantly greater nerve cell survival and a reduced level of cell death in the wake of restored blood flow after a laboratory-simulated stroke scenario.