Benefits of Astragalus
When we talk about Qi, you hear this word a lot, right, to mean different forms of energy depending on who's using it and how they're using it. But really, from the Taoist Three Treasure tonic herbal school perspective, this means your moment-to-moment energy, vitality, cognitive function and immune system function. It's not your deep core reserves that we would be looking at with something like what they call Jing energy that you would build with herbs like he shou wu and cordyceps and cistanche, eucommia and even things like deer antler.
This is your moment-to-moment, active energy. It's like your checking account of energy. And you know, astragalus was actually one of the first herbs that I got into. Back in my late teens, I heard about it and all I wanted at the time was, "How can I have more energy to go surfing, "to study more, to be more physically active? "Not to get tired while I'm working." And I heard about astragalus as being this great energy tonic that wasn't like coffee.
It's not something that's just gonna be an adrenal stimulant and deplete your energy reserves and end up putting you in a worse state of health long-term, it actually gives you more energy by allowing you to extract energy from the air you breathe and the food you eat. And so with astragalus, I heard that you could just get it as a powder, as an extract powder and that it tasted so mild that you could just eat the powder straight. So I started doing that. I would have one or two, sometimes even three teaspoons of powder. I would just put it right in my mouth and it has a really nice sort of light, vanilla, caramel, graham cracker flavor. It's really pleasant. And I just felt amazing. And you know, it's not exactly so comfortable to do it like that.
You gotta learn how to kinda not inhale, build up a lot of saliva and be careful 'cause you really don't wanna inhale it and start choking and coughing and powder's flying out everywhere. It's no fun. You don't have to do it like that. You can just, you can put it in a smoothie, you can add it to oatmeal, you could add it to just about anything you're eating 'cause the flavor is so mild. You could even put it on a salad. You could put it in some hot water. You could blend it into a hot tonic with some other herbs and some healthy fats. Lots of possibilities.
But this has been one of the most highly regarded herbs in China, going back thousands of years. And it's actually, for young people, it's considered to be a superior herb to ginseng. Ginseng is, for young people, sometimes too fiery, just too much and it's more than you need. Astragalus can be really just perfect.
And there's, you know, we talked about this as something that improves your Qi, but there's different subcategories to that. One is what's called the Wei Qi. Spelled W-E-I space Q-I. And this is a protective energy that circulates under the skin and under your muscle and it's kinda like the first layer of defense of your immune system. This is like your surface level immunity that astragalus is enhancing. And you see this when you look at the modern research on astragalus and how it enhances the immune system, but we'll get to that in a second.
Let's talk about Qi first, then we'll get to immunity. It's also supporting what's called the Upright Qi. This is an upright form of energy that comes through the body, allowing us to have the strength to stand upright, to have really good posture and also to help the organs stay up. Organ prolapse, you know, is something that happens with age. As your organs have been fighting gravity for many, many decades, prolapse can become a very scary thing for elderly people and astragalus is traditionally regarded as something that can help keep the organs up and in their place.
And astragalus can also be a blood tonic when combined with Dang Gui. You see, a lot of times, different Chinese herbs will have certain properties magnified when they're combined with other herbs strategically. And that's the case with astragalus when you use it with Dang Gui, which is another great blood tonic. Now, to get back to what we were talking about a few moments ago regarding immunity, with astragalus, they have shown in Western research that it can increase production of white blood cells. And it also contains long chain polysaccharides similar to what we would find in many medicinal mushrooms, actually. Things like reishi and chaga and cordyceps and maitake and agaricus. But this is not a mushroom, it's a root, but it also has these long chain polysaccharides and these have been shown to be antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.
So this is a great all-around herb for protecting you from all the different kinds of pathogens and toxins that we're exposed to in the modern world. And from a trace mineral perspective, it's also good for selenium and zinc and copper. Three very important trace minerals for long-term health in a variety of ways. And so there's not been a whole lot of research beyond what we've discussed in humans from the immunological side of things, but it has been shown in mice, also, to help kill viruses and bacteria.
And if you look at how it's used in China, it's actually the most common herb prescribed for diabetes management in China. And I don't know when you'll be watching this video. Maybe you're watching this shortly after we posted it or maybe you're watching this in the year 2025. We're recording this in what is probably pretty close to the peak, hopefully it's gonna be the peak, we'll see, in late March of 2020. What is hopefully the peak of the huge coronavirus epidemic. Hopefully this is the peak and it all cruises down from here, but you know, only time will tell. What's interesting, though, is that this is one of the primary herbs being used by herbal practitioners during this crisis. So astragalus is very powerful on the immunological and antiviral front.
Of course, there has been no studies, as of this time, on astragalus specifically against COVID-19 because it's such a novel virus, right? But we can only look at how it's used traditionally and what has been shown in other research against other viruses that can be very promising. And so beyond this and beyond diabetes, you know, just for long-term immune support and immune regulation, it's a great one to incorporate as well.
You know, there was a study where they had people taking just 160 milligrams, which is like a tiny, tiny, tiny dose, hardly anything, having it twice a day and these were people with seasonal allergies and they found that it helped reduce sneezing and runny nose. So it's quite promising there as well.
Now, of course, there are certain people who, you know, should speak with a healthcare practitioner about whether this herb would work for them or not. And these are people who are gonna have different autoimmune kind of conditions or maybe who are on immune suppressant drugs. And of course, if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best just to wait until afterwards because these herbs, though they may have been used traditionally sometimes, there's no modern studies on safety for pregnancy and breastfeeding with astragalus. So there's plenty of time in your life later on to really enjoy all these benefits. But for the rest of everybody, this is an incredible herb for great, healthy, clean, clear, sustainable energy. You know, we didn't talk about it as a lung tonic.
That's one other thing I wanted to cover as well. It's a traditional lung tonic and as you look at it in the Chinese medicinal theory, the health of the lungs is very much reflected in the health of the skin. So if you have poor lung health, it's very often manifested in poor skin health. But if you cultivate great lung health, it's gonna be reflected in your skin in a very positive way. So there's really something for everybody to enjoy with astragalus.
It's a wonderful herb and if you've tried it before, let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear what your experience has been with it. Or if you're excited to give it a try, let me know. I always just love getting the feedback from you guys. Thanks for joining me again. Hope you're all having a healthy and a wonderful day and look forward to seeing you again soon.