‘Astragalus’. This probably might be the first time you are coming across this name. So what is astragalus? Let’s find out.
There are about 3,000 herbs and shrubs belonging to the legume family Fabaceae. Astragalus is the genus that contains these 3,000 species.
The plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over many centuries. It has primarily been used to boost the immune system and treat heart disease.
Some constituents of the astragalus plant are so powerful that they are being considered for treating cancer.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Ginseng Tea ]
Side Effects Of Astragalus
1. Aggravates The Effects Of Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly targets and damages the healthy body tissue (1). And due to this, astragalus might be harmful for people with autoimmune disorders.
If you are suffering from some autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, then astragalus might make the immune system work against you. (2). This would lead to complications.
Also, if at all you are taking immunosuppressant drugs, astragalus can play a role in weakening the medication.
Fatigue, fever, rashes and joint pains (3).
2. Bleeding Problems
Astragalus, especially in its powdered form might aggravate bleeding problems.
Astragalus can impair blood clotting which leads to bleeding problems. It is unadvisable to take astragalus while taking aspirin or blood thinners (4). Even in the case of surgery, the intake of astragalus is discouraged.
Increased incidences of bleeding during menstruation.
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3. Not Recommended For People With Low Blood Pressure
Astragalus can lower the blood pressure levels (5).
People with low blood pressure who consume astragalus might face the risk of further reduction in their blood pressure levels. This can lead to severe complications.
Nausea, fatigue, depression, lack of concentration and dizziness (6).
4. Digestive Issues And Allergies
Astragalus might cause digestive problems. It might also cause serious allergies.
Astragalus, especially in its powdered form can cause digestive problems. And most of the allergies it causes are uncommon. Astragalus is a legume. Hence allergy to legumes like beans and peanuts can increase the allergic reactions towards astragalus. (7)
Symptoms for digestive problems include bloating, gas, indigestion and dehydration. Allergic reactions can cause hives, rashes, difficulty in swallowing and breathing problems.
Some species of astragalus can be toxic.
It has been found that over half of the astragalus plants contain neurotoxins (8). The most prominent of these is the ‘milkvetch’ (Columbia milkvetch, Yellowstone milkvetch and Wasatch milkvetch). These plants are poisonous right from the moment they emerge till they dry up in the summers.
This can cause locoweed poisoning in animals (9).
Cattle, sheep and horses are the most affected. For chronic poisoning, the symptoms are nervousness, rapid respiration are indications of temporary blindness. And for acute poisoning the symptoms include severe respiratory distress and even death.
Astragalus might cause adverse reactions if taken by pregnant women. Though there is no sufficient research to back this statement, there is no research which says astragalus is harmless for pregnant women. So it is best if pregnant women refrain from consuming it (10).
These were some of the side effects of astragalus. Now that you have come to know about astragalus and its side effects, it’s totally up to you to make a choice and use it. Nothing that we get from the laps of nature is completely safe. If taken in moderation, it can build your health. But if consumed in excess, you know what exactly would happen. Its always preferable to consult doctor and discuss about astragalus benefits and side effects before its consumption.
Do you know any other astragalus side effects? Do share with us in the comments section given below.
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