Astragalus (milk vetch) contains many substances that are known to stimulate the immune system of our body. In China, this plant is used for a long time both to prevent and treat diseases. From a botanical point of view, milk vetch is related to liquorice and peas. Although it has a sweet smell, pale flowers and a gentle structure that looks very fragile, milk vetch is actually very resistant.
For medical use, root is the most important part of the plant; it contains many healthy substances, including some polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) whose function is probably responsible for boosting the immune system. Milk vetch is harvested after four to seven years of growing. When sliced, the yellowish roots resemble wide, flat sticks, such as those for ice cream.
How does it work?
Milk vetch is in the full sense of the word tonic – it can improve your health by increasing the resistance to disease, endurance and vitality, as well as your health. It also has antioxidant properties and helps the body in repairing and preventing damage caused by the action of free radicals. It may also have anti-viral and antibacterial properties. Nutrition supplements containing milk vetch can be safely combined with conventional drugs.
PREVENTION OF DISEASE: milk vetch is particularly effective in treating cold, flu, bronchitis and sinus infections because it prevents viral population in the respiratory tract. It can also, like rudbeckia, destroy harmful bacteria as soon as symptoms of respiratory tract infections occur. If the disease develops, milk vetch will alleviate and shorten its duration. People who suffer from frequent respiratory infections should regularly take these preparations to make the disease appear as rarely as possible. Milk vetch also reduces the harmful effects of stress on health.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: milk vetch is widely used in China for the recovery of the immune system of patients who have cancer and have undergone radiation therapy or chemotherapy; this approach is becoming increasingly popular in the West as well. The plant helps in increasing the production of lymphocytes T, macrophages, NK cells (natural killer cells), interferons and other immune system cells. Milk vetch can also protect bone marrow against immunosuppressive work of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, toxins and viruses. As this plant enhances the immune response of the organism, it is possible to use it in people infected with HIV.
In addition, milk vetch extends the blood vessels and increases blood flow and can be useful in controlling excessive sweating (especially at night) and lowering blood pressure. Studies have also shown that milk vetch has a beneficial effect on the heart and that it improves sperm mobility.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: To strengthen the immune system: During the first three weeks, take 200 mg of milk vetch extract once or twice a day, and in the next three weeks take rudbeckia, cat’s claw and taheebo. If you have acute bronchitis: take 200 mg four times a day until the symptoms disappear. Choose products containing standardized milk vetch extract with 0.5% glucoside and 70% polysaccharide.
USE GUIDELINES: milk vetch can be taken at any time of the day, regardless of the food.
Possible side effects
It is important to note that even after several thousands of year of use of this plant in China, there are very few (or no) data on the negative effects during the medical use of milk vetch.
IMPORTANT: pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their physician before taking preparations of this plant.