The fleshy pod has a large number of medicinal applications. It is a plant that originally comes from Chinese medicine, but has now been incorporated by Western herbalists into the herbal arsenal with which people can be healed. In Latin the plant is called astragalus. The astragalus is good for the heart, the immune system and the body’s adaptability to deal with changing circumstances. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.
- Naming of fleshy pod
- Chinese history astragalus
- Active ingredients fleshy pod pod
- Astragalus for a good immune system
- Astragalus, good for adaptability
- Astragalus, good for the heart
- Other medicinal effects of astragalus
- Consult a herbal therapist
Naming of fleshy pod
Scientists use Latin names of plants among themselves so that there is no confusion about which plant is meant. The Latin name of fleshy pod is Astragalus Membranaceus . Most likely, ‘astragalus’, which means ‘ankle bone’, comes from the game of dice. In the past, dice were made from bones. Certain pods make the sound of rattling dice when moved; hence the link between dice and the meaty pigeonhole. Membranicus means ‘membranous’. It got this name because of the membranes in the pod. In Dutch the plant is called both Astragalus and Vlezige hokjespeul.
Chinese history astragalus
Fleshy pod pod has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It is used to strengthen the immune system and improve the body’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances. In China it is known as a sweet and slightly warming herb. Meaty pods are especially prescribed for fatigue, lack of energy and chronic diseases. Chinese Emperor Shen-nong was one of the most famous users of astragalus in Chinese history. Another healing method was to use the herb for a ‘lack of spleen energy’, which has symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue, perspiration and loss of appetite. Astragalus is used in Chinese medicine in herbal blends together with cordyceps, panax ginseng, Chinese angelica and ashwaganda.
Active ingredients fleshy pod pod
Astragalus uses the root of a four to seven year old plant, which is harvested in the spring. Closely related species such as Astragalus Mongholicus can be used instead of fleshy pod pods. This plant contains the following active substances: triterpenoid saponide glycosides such as astragalosides, isoastragalosides and astramembranins. It contains, among other things, the flavonoids: isoflavones, mononetin, hydroxyformononetin, kumatakenin and isoliquiritigenin. It also contains the polysaccharides astragaloglucans and astragalan. To a lesser extent, the plant contains fructose, glucose, phytosterols, essential oil, the amino acids gamma-aminobutyric acid and carvanine, the minerals potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc, choline, betaine, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
Astragalus for a good immune system
Astragalus is an immunomodulator. This means that the quality of the immune system is improved. It increases resistance to diseases in general. More specifically, it is an antivirus, has an antibacterial effect and is an anti-inflammatory herb for these two reasons. White blood cells are better able to absorb substances; White blood cells play a crucial role in our immune system. In double clinical research, astragalus proved to shorten the duration of a cold. The effect of astragalus on the immune system has been extensively researched. One of the effects of astragalus is that it supports chemotherapy. Chemotherapy suppresses the immune system; that is an unpleasant side effect of the method of treating cancer. Furthermore, astragalus has anti-tumor effects; it helps prevent the development of cancer. It also protects against radiation that can lead to cancer. Due to all these medicinal properties, herbalists may decide to prescribe it for the following indications:
Leaves fleshy pod pod / Source: Doronenko, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.5)
- Immunodefficiency or weakened resistance,
- Colds, bronchitis, sore throat, laryngitis,
- Flu, middle ear infection, viral infections,
- Herpes infection, coxsackie B2 and B3,
- Parainfluenza type 1,
- Chronic viral hepatitis,
- Cervical erosion due to herpes or cervixitis,
- Viral myocarditis or heart muscle inflammation,
- Brain tissue inflammation,
- Chronic diarrhea,
- Prevention of infections due to (too) heavy top sports training,
- Adjuvant for chronic fatigue syndrome,
- Adjuvant for allergic rhinitis such as hay fever and house dust mite allergy,
- Adjuvant in autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis,
- Adjuvant for HIV positivity and AIDS,
- Adjuvant for cancer,
- To supplement diet during chemotherapy.
Astragalus, good for adaptability
The ability to adapt to adverse changes in physical and psychological conditions is improved by fleshy pods. It is a general strengthening tonic with a vitalizing effect. It contains many antioxidants and promotes new cell production. Saponins are related to substances in the human body that promote the production of hormones. This allows the hormone system to respond better to changes in circumstances. Because there is better energy metabolism in the body, endurance and memory are in better condition after using astragalus. Due to these medicinal properties, the plant is prescribed for:
- Fatigue due to psychological and physical stress,
- To improve endurance and performance capacity,
- Recovery after illness,
- To strengthen chronic diseases,
- Weakness after excessive blood loss due to menstruation or childbirth,
- Weakness after excessive fluid loss,
- Prevention of memory loss and dementia.
Astragalus, good for the heart
Astragalus supports heart function. It increases the contractile force of the heart muscle. This improves the output of the heart. Furthermore, it is an adaptogen for the heart. This means that the heart’s ability to adapt to changing environmental factors is increased. In addition, it is a natural blood thinner. It lowers blood pressure. In addition, the blood may contain more oxygen after taking astragalus. Due to all these medicinal properties, astragalus is prescribed for:
- Heart failure or heart weakness,
- Shortness of breath, chest pressure,
- heart cramp,
- High bloodpressure,
- Arrhythmias, palpitations,
- To prevent cardiovascular disease in general,
- Myocarditis or heart muscle inflammation.
Other medicinal effects of astragalus
- Because the motility of sperm cells is increased by astragalus, it is used in male infertility.
- Because it is a tonic for the kidneys and has a diuretic effect, it is prescribed for edema, kidney inflammation and weak kidney function.
- Due to the fact that astragalus lowers blood sugar levels, it is used for type 2 diabetes.
- It is an aperitif; an appetite stimulant and is therefore used for anorexia.
- Since liver function is improved, it is a remedy for liver inflammation.
- Because it promotes digestion and good intestinal flora, it is a remedy for dyspepsia.
- Due to the strengthening of smooth muscles that can be attributed to astragalus, it is a remedy for uterine prolapse, abnormal uterine bleeding and for recovery after childbirth.
- The smooth muscle strengthening effectiveness is used for constipation.
Consult a herbal therapist
Anyone who wants to use fleshy pod pod as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbalist. Astragalus extracts and medicines in the form of mother tincture, powder, dried herb, liquid extract and decoction should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can provide you with better information about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. Some herbs can enhance each other’s effects; that’s called synergy. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.