If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your immune system and nourish your body, you’re going to love today’s topic. Today on the blog, we’re talking all about how to boost your immune system with one of my favorite herbs– astragalus.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t think too much about boosting your immune system during the summer months but now that fall is here, maybe you or a family member caught a bit of the sniffles or the latest bug going around (like mine did) and now it’s time to get serious about staying well.
There are several things you can do to boost your immunity once you’re already sick (Elderberry Syrup, Immune- Boosting Echinacea tincture and Fire Cider all work great and are staples in my home) but really, wouldn’t it be better to avoid getting sick in the first place?
Today, we’re going to talk about one herb that has been prescribed for centuries for chronic illness and to increase energy levels and overall vitality– astragalus.
What is Astragalus?
Astragalus is sweet, food-like herb, that can easily be incorporated into your meals for daily consumption (more on that later.) When consumed on a regular basis, this herb gradually nourishes the body and builds up your immune system.
Imagine for a moment, how astragalus works. Picture an invisible layer of protection, just beneath your skin that protects you from external influences such as the cold, flu or other illnesses that you might be exposed to. Imagine your body being deeply nourished and your heart, liver and kidneys protected. Imagine your body moving toward wellness and restored health. This is what astragalus can do.
Another interesting thing about astragalus is that while it provides this protective barrier against external influences, it also increases your white blood cell count (your body’s defense system again infection) and it decreases viral replication. All in all, what this means is that if you do happen to catch something, your body is ready to fight it off.
As you can imagine, astragalus is particularly beneficial for those who get sick often and those with a weakened immune system such as the elderly or those with cancer. It has been proven through numerous oncology studies that astragalus enhances the immune system, reduces the side effects of chemotherapy and improves both the quality of life and overall survival of cancer patients.
How to Use Astragalus To Boost Your Immune System
Since astragalus tastes good, it is an easy herb to incorporate into your daily life.
Astragalus root can be purchased either sliced, cut and sifted or powdered. You can also purchase astragalus capsules or a ready-made astragalus tincture.
Using Sliced Astragalus
I love using sliced astragalus because it’s so easy to throw into whatever pot you have cooking on the stove! I add it to my soups, stews, chili, spaghetti sauce and to grains like brown rice and quinoa as they are cooking. Like the bay leaf, be sure to discard the sliced astragalus before serving!
Another way to use sliced astragalus is to make tea. Since astragalus is a root, it is best simmered on the stove for 20-60 minutes to extract more of its benefits. One of my favorite winter teas, Licorice Adaptogen Tea, features astragalus. I usually use the cut and sifted root when preparing this tea in bulk but you could easily substitute the sliced root.
Another way to use the sliced root is to make an astragalus tincture. Simply fill a glass jar 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full of the sliced root and cover with vodka, apple cider vinegar or glycerin. Keep the jar out of direct sunlight and shake often (every day if possible) for 4-6 weeks. Stain and store in a cool place. For step by step instructions on making tinctures, see this post.
I also like adding astragalus root to my Elderberry Cold & Flu Syrup.
More recipes using Sliced Astragalus Root:
Using Powdered Astragalus
I find the powdered astragalus just as useful as the sliced root in incorporating this herb into my daily life.
Ideas for using powdered astragalus:
in smoothies ( I add 1 tsp to mine every day!)
mixed with water or almond milk and taken as a vitamin shot
added to raw treats or snack bites such as these Almond Joy Snack Bites
in baked goods, pancakes, muffins, etc. (substitute some of the flour with astragalus powder)
added to homemade hot cocoa
added to homemade granola
added to your morning oatmeal
Recipes using Astragalus Root Powder:
Using Cut & Sifted Astragalus
I don’t find the cut & sifted astragalus quite as versatile as the slices or the powdered astragalus. It does however, make a wonderful and easy addition to any tea blend you might be preparing. If you love making tea, I’d recommend purchasing the cut & sifted astragalus.
I also use the cut & sifted astragalus more often than the slices when making an astragalus tincture.
Recipes using Cut & Sifted Astragalus:
Adults: 10-30 grams per day
Tincture (1:5) : 40-80 drops, three times per day
Decoction (Tea): 2 tsp in 12 oz of water. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups per day.
Astragalus is considered a very safe herb, even for children.
Since astragalus works gradually, don’t expect immediate results. Consume astragalus on a daily (or regular) basis for the best results.
What are your thoughts on Astragalus? Leave a comment below or share a picture or comment on my Facebook Page or on Instagram .
I love hearing your feedback!
Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism by Donald R. Yance
Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes
Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by Maria Noel Groves
Rosalee de la Forȇt. http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/
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