With the cold and flu season on its way and children starting the school year, it is likely to come in contact with a plethora of disgusting microorganisms.  So it would be wise to boost your immune system for the microscopic war ahead. A great immune boosting herb is Astragalus.

Astragalus is an herb that has been utilized in Traditional Chinese medicine for centuries prior to its introduction to the Western world.   According to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Penn State, astragalus is an adaptogen that has the ability to help the body deal with physical, emotional or mental stress.  It is also famous for aiding the body in lowering the risk for infections and other diseases.

Various studies have shown that the astragalus plant contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.  Here are other astragalus root benefits you should know about:

Prevents colds and flu — Taking astragalus before you get sick may help boost your immune system function. It helps stimulate the immune system and also provides antixidants that can help the body fight free radical damage.

Helps in dealing with anemia — Astragalus helps strengthen the blood vessels and improve blood circulation.

Helps promote cardiovascular health — Studies suggest that astragalus helps in improving the symptoms of ischemic heart disease.  It was also observed to help relieve chest pain, increase sodium pump activity and help curb coronary artery clogging.

May help manage diabetes — Astragalus has the ability to help lower blood sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity. This is good news for people who are struggling with insulin resistance.

Alleviates the side effects of chemotherapy — Studies show that this herb has the ability to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

The demand for this herb also skyrocketed because of the immune support it gives to people who are undergoing chemotherapy, as astragalus can counter the immune-debilitating effects on the body caused by chemotherapy.

Studies also suggest that the astragalus root may have antitumor properties, helping induce apoptosis (cell death) in leukemia cells.

Although this sounds like a fantastic herb, I do not recommend it for anyone with an autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Chron’s, or anyone who has undergone an organ transplant.  Astragalus is an immune booster and it can aggravate an autoimmune condition or organ rejection response.