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Astragalus herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Astragalus is a large genus of about 3,000 species of herbs and small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Common names include milk-vetch (most species), locoweed (in western US, some species; although most locoweeds are not genus Astragalus but in related genera)and goat's-thorn (A. gummifer, A. tragacanthus). Some pale-flowered vetches are similar in appearance, but vetches are more vine-like.

Supplement use
Extracts of Astragalus membranaceus are marketed as life prolonging extracts in humans. A proprietary extract of the dried root of Astragalus membranaceus, called TA-65, 'was associated with a significant age-reversal effect in the immune system, in that it led to declines in the percentage of senescent cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells after six to twelve months of use. In October 2010, Intertek/AAC Labs, an ISO 17025 internationally recognized lab, found the largest component of TA-65 to be Cycloastragenol. Telomerase activation was feared to pose an increased risk of cancer because telomere shortening is a mechanism that limits cell proliferation. However, short telomeres result in chromosome instability, hence there is also a potential mechanism for telomere lengthening to protect against cancer (as distinct from mutation-induced activation).

Side effects
Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as cyclophosphamide.It may also affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Some Astragalus species can be toxic. For example, several species that grow in the United States contain the neurotoxin swainsonine.


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