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Contemporary research has proven that many herbal extracts and isolated herbal compounds possess anti-tumor activities, and clinical trials on the use of herbal medicinal agents have been conducted in order to establish new treatments. The dried root of Astragalus membranaceus (huang qi) has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine. It is now commonly used as an immune booster agent in polyherbal formulas to treat common cold, diarrhea, fatigue and anorexia. In modern TCM, Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) injections for intramuscular and intravenous administration are commonly used to boost the immune system of cancer patients, and people with hepatitis, kidney problems, congestive heart failure, and immune deficiency.  Contact

The active pharmacological constituents of Astragalus membranaceus radix include various polysaccharides, saponins and flavonoids. Among these, Astragalus polysaccharides have been most widely studied, mainly on their immunopotentiating properties like stimulation of murine B-cell proliferation and cytokine production. Clinical studies have also showed that Astragalus polysaccharides could counteract the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs, such as a significant reduction in the degree of myelosuppression in cancer patients.

There is growing evidence that Astragalus extract may be a potential anti-tumorigenic agent. For instance, hepatocarcinogenesis could be prevented in rats fed with the aqueous extract of Astragalus membranaceus, which is mainly composed of Astragalus polysaccharides. There are also reports describing the potentiating effect of Astragalus extract in recombinant interleukin-2-generated lymphokine-activated cells upon the anti-tumorigenic action of drugs against murine renal carcinoma.

Saponins isolated from radix Astragalus membranaceus consist of astragalosides (I–VIII) and some of their isomer isoastragalosides (I, II and IV). Similar to the polysaccharides obtained from the same herb, astragalus saponins have been found to possess immunomodulating effects. The pure isolated saponin astragaloside IV could increase murine B and T cell proliferation and possess cardioprotective properties. Alternatively, many saponins derived from other natural sources have also been reported to effectively suppress cancer cell growth. Among these, ginsenosides are pharmacologically active saponins obtained from ginseng that could inhibit the growth of many different types of cancer in vitro. Ginsenosides such as Rh2 and Rg5 have been shown to induce G1 phase arrest in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells . Apoptosis can also be induced in human SK-HEP-1 hepatoma cells by Rh2 through activation of cyclin A/cyclin-dependent kinase cdk 2 activity and caspase 3-mediated p21 cleavage.

A few medicines and herbal products are commonly used for supporting the immune function of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. But for that purpose no one, conventional or complementary, has been shown more effective than Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceous) injection.

Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) injection for intramuscular administration is more suitable for use at home. Huang Qi intravenous administration requires mixing with 0.9% sodium chloride for i.v. infusion and is usually administered in clinics and hospitals. Intramuscular or intravenous administration of this herbal remedy is preferred because it bypasses the intestine an secure hemo-availability. Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) 5:1 concentrated extract powder is also available for oral administration, but its intestinal absorption is poor and reduces hemo-availability in comparison to the injectable forms.

Immunotherapy with Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) is a treatment option available at our clinic.

Be aware that Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) for professional therapeutical use is pharmaceutically graded, which is many times stronger than its simple natural form often found on the stores and sold to treat common cold and minor infections. The professional use and administration of some herbal medicines may require the indication and/or supervision of a licensed health care practitioner authorized to use herbal remedies for therapeutical purpose. 

Clinical Summary:
Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) is primarily used for its immune stimulating properties. In vitro studies, animal trials, and human data showed a marked increase of NK cells and lymphocytic phagocytosis, which are essential both, to fight malignant tumor cells as well as to prevent recurrence.  Significant reduction of immune suppression following chemotherapy with Cyclophosphamide has also been demonstrated when Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) is administered.

Besides powerful immune stimulating action, Chinese studies suggest that Huang Qi has renal protective effects. It has been shown to reduce fatigue in athletes, and animal studies demonstrate that Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) increases M-cholinergic receptor density in senile rats; suggesting that it may have a role in deterring brain senility. Trials with rats showed that Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) can delay chemical induced hepatocarcinogenesis. This herbal remedy is also commonly idicated for patients with cancer, hepatitis, renal deficiency, cogestive heart failure, and inmune deficiency.

Huang Qi Astragalus membranaceus) is an important herbal medicine used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This herbal remedy is commonly used alone or in polyherbal formulas for helping the body fight cancer cells. Huang Qi is also indicated for patients with other health conditions:

  • Onco Immunotherapy
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Viral Hepatitis
  • Immunodeficiency (compromised immunity).
  • Persisting/recurring microbial infections
  • Congested Heart Failure 
  • Renal function support (astragalus along agelica sinensis and/or rehmannia glutinosa can improve kidney function).
  • Diabetes
  • HIV and AIDS

Triperpenoid saponins (cycloastragenol, astragaloside I to VIII, and cyclocanthoside), Cycloartane, triterpene, Polysaccharide, Isoflavonoids, Amino acids.

The Mechanism of Action:
Astragalus works by stimulating several factors of the immune system. The polysaccharides potentiate in vitro the immune-mediated antitumor activity of interleukin-2 ,improve the responses of lymphocytes from normal subjects and cancer patients, and enhance the natural killer cell activity of normal subjects and potentiate activity of monocytes. The saponins potentiate natural killer cell (NKc) activity and restore steroid-inhibited NKc activity in vitro. They also increase phagocytosis and demonstrate hepatoprotective effects on chemically induced liver injury in vitro and in vivo. Chinese studies suggest that astragalus, when used with angelica, has renal protective effects by mediating gene expression. Astragalus increases M-cholinergic receptor density in senile rats. This suggests that astragalus may have a role in combating brain senility. Herbal formula containing astragalus can reduce fatigue in athletes by increasing uptake and utility of oxygen.

Adverse Reactions:
No adverse events have been reported. As with any herbal medicine, Huang Qi should be properly indicated and administered.  

Positive Drug Interaction:
Concomitant treatment with Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus) and Aldesleukin (a conventional drug used for renal cancer and other forms of malignancy) has resulted in a 10-fold potentiation of tumor-cidal activity when compared to only Aldesleukin, and Aldesleukin side effects also decreased.  Huang Qi also decreased immunosuppression following chemotherapy treatment with Cyclophosphamide.   Contact

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