Here’s an article about one of my favorite Chinese herbs:
The Cold Remedy That Actually Works!
Here’s more links about this herb on my blog:
Top Chinese Herb for Immune System Support
It seems like every season, whether it be Spring or Fall, or Summer or Winter, various patients have symptoms of hayfever or environmental allergies – this need not be the case!! Allergies are a symptom of our immune system needing support so that we can handle exposure to the environment, whether it be from pollens or animal dander, molds or mildews, or even dust. Our standard medical system of allopathy does us a disservice by prescribing anti-histamines, which suppress symptoms and suppresses the body’s natural response to exposure, hence making the condition worse in the long-term. The best long-term solution is to stimulate our body’s natural ability to handle the exposure so that it does not respond to a substance like it is a toxin – a healthy body should tolerate exposure and handle it gracefully, and not respond to pollens and dust like they are toxins!
For more information, see my document on how I treat allergies naturally:
Treating Hayfever or Environmental Allergies with Natural Medicine
Research on Chinese herb Huang Qi (Radix Astragali):
Nephroprotective: Administration of Huang Qi via injection is associated with numerous benefits in patients with diabetic nephropathy, such as renal protective effect (BUN, SCr, CCr and urine protein) and systemic state improvement (serum albumin level).
Ref: Li M, Wang W, Xue J, Gu Y, Lin S. Meta-analysis of the clinical value of Astragalus membranaceus in diabetic nephropathy. Division of Nephrology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Oct 13.
Nephroprotective: Huang Qi exerts the nephroprotective effect by reducing fasting blood glucose and albuminuria levels, in reversing the glomerular hyperfiltration state, and in ameliorating the pathological changes of early diabetic nephropathy.
Ref: Zhang J, Xie X, Li C, Fu P. Systematic review of the renal protective effect of Astragalus
membranaceus (root) on diabetic nephropathy in animal models. Department of Nephrology, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Nov 12;126(2):189-96. Epub 2009 Sep 6.
Research on Huang Qi + Lu Xian Cao (Herba Pyrolae):
Aminoglycosides (an antibiotic class): In one study, compound injection of Lu Xian Cao (Herba Pyrolae) and Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) in guinea pigs was found to be effective in preventing the ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity associated with use of aminoglycosides. These two herbs protected the cochlea based on electrocochleography and morphology by scanning electron microscopy. They also improved blood urea nitrogen, urinary protein and observation of renal morphology. [Note: Examples of aminoglycosides include gentamicin, tobramycin, amikacin.]
Ref: Xuan W, Dong M, Dong M. Effects of compound injection of Pyrola rotundifolia L and Astragalus
membranaceus Bge on experimental guinea pigs’ gentamicin ototoxicity. Department of Otolaryngology, Guangxi Traditional Chinese Medical College, Nanning, People’s Republic of China. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1995 May;104(5):374-80.
More references for research of Astragalus can be found at the end of this sample monograph from the premier resource of the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, by John Chen and Tina Chen.
(I am not sure where I first found these references, but all these studies can be found on
Two Chinese herbal formulas I commonly recommend to boost immunity are Evergreen Herbs Immune + and Zand Astragalus Formula. Immune + is based on a very commonly-used formula Yu Ping Feng San, which is especially used to help those who easily catch common colds or flues, or are commonly affected by seasonal allergies. Zand Astragalus is a very similar formula.
Catching colds or flues easily, and/or having seasonal allergies means that the immune system is weak and needs to be strengthened. These formulas are also ideal to strengthen the immune system when going into the winter season or when one knows they will be exposed to others who are ill from a common cold or flu, or when one is oing into a hospital or convalescent situation where others could be ill. Both of these formulas will also tend to help poor energy too.
Both of these formulas contain Astragalus (Huang Qi) and Reishi mushroom (Ling Zhi, or Ganoderma), both of which research has shown are immunoprotective. Research has also shown that Astragalus can have an antibiotic effect, is anti-asthmatic and is nephroprotective (protects the kidneys) as well. Reishi has anti-cancer properties and a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity.
More information on the two main herbs in these formulas can be found at these sample monographs from the premier resource of the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, by John Chen and Tina Chen: Huang Qi and Ling Zhi/Reishi
Astragalus is also in the Evergreen Herbs Cordyceps 3 formula. Cordyceps is especially known to treat chronic respiratory disorders; I call it a ‘Ginseng for the Lungs’ since it is also used for its ginseng-like ‘anti-aging’ qualities. Speaking of Ginseng, Panax Ginseng (Ren Shen) is in this formula as well. So Cordyceps 3 is an excellent formula for aging, poor energy or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and many other conditions as well that need immune-system support, including cancer.
Scientists at the Institute of Cytology and Preventive Oncology (ICPO) based in India have recently found that Curcumin works against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a known cause of cervical cancer. As the research abstract summarizes “These novel findings imply that Curcumin may be an effective chemopreventive and therapeutic agent for cervical cancer prevention and treatment”.
Curcumin and HPV
Note also there is research showing Astragalus and Silymarin (from Milk Thistle) show promising results against HPV (research references will be updated later).
Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture Newsletter:
Great article summarizing using Chinese Herbal Medicine for treating viral infections, specifically focused on the H1N1 virus. Chinese Herbal Medicine and the novel H1N1 virus
This article is written for the Chinese Medicine professional, but referred to here to educate the public as to how viral infections such as influenza can be treated with Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Here are recommendations for Cleansing and Detoxifying from Air Pollution (that I wrote back in the summer of 2008 when our area was surrounded by forest fires for weeks).
Forest fires are very common in the summer in our area of the Sierra Nevada foothills, so we are again being exposed to heavy amounts of smoke in the air in August 2012… here’s More Natural Medicine Recommendations for Smoke Exposure.
Also see my Pear and Rock Sugar Elixir recipe for soothing the lungs and taming a cough (with or without phlegm).
Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture Newsletter:
Great article that includes herbs and foods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine food therapy with easy recipe for flu and cold prevention! This is exactly in alignment with my typical advice to patients (uses herbs/medicinal foods mentioned in my Flu article: Treating Influenza and Viral Infections using Natural Medicine.)
Here’s another link for the soup recipe on this blog (in case the above link disappears sometime in the future):
Astragalus Tonic Soup recipe
Of course, Astragalus can be purchased at my office (it has a mild, sweet taste)!
My simple Flu Prevention advice originally written in Winter 2009, when the H1N1 virus was rampant (kept it brief to hand out to patients)!
H1N1 Nosode (homeopathic prophylactic, i.e., preventative medicine) now available! Call to ORDER or order from my Online Store Heavenly Herbs and Acupuncture (under Immune Support or Homeopathic formulas)!!