Astragalus membranaceus root is known as an immunomodulator, strengthening both nonspecific (innate) and specific (learned) immunity. In traditional Chinese medicine, pieces of root are boiled in soups and removed prior to serving. (As an idea for amounts, a decoction dose would be 2-4 tsp of root per cup of water, boiled and then simmered for 10-15 minutes). These are a few specific actions this herb does: it intensifies phagocytosis in reticuloendothelial systems, stimulates pituitary-adrenal cortical activity, and restores depleted red blood cell formation in bone marrow. It can also stimulate the body’s natural production of interferon. It is an ideal remedy for anyone who might be immunocompromised. In addition, it helps protect the liver and has anticancer effects.
Cautions: Astragalus potentiates the effects of interleukin 2 and acyclovir but may be incompatible with immunosuppressive drugs.