Could Astragalus Help People with Asthma
If you have asthma or know someone who does, you understand the seriousness of this chronic inflammatory condition that can literally take your breath away when an asthma attack happens. Triggered by any number of things (e.g., allergies, smoke, and viral infections), the immune system overreacts and causes even more inflammation in the lungs, constricts the muscles around the bronchial airways, and stimulates the airway cells to produce mucus—all of which result in wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.57
Results of a clinical trial published in 2009 showed that when combined with cordyceps, stemona root, fritillaria, and Baikal skullcap, Astragalus mongholicus did no better than placebo in reducing the need for steroid inhaler use in children aged 7-15 years old.58 However, an animal study utilizing the traditional Chinese Uighur asthma medicine Ravan Napas demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory effects (compared to the control group) in the asthmatic rats. This formula also used A. mongholicus, but in combination with hyssop, fennel, safflower, turnip mustard, mallow, red date, and tienshan violet.11
Meanwhile, another study demonstrated that treatment with one of the biologically active components of astragalus, astragaloside IV, reduced inflammation and mucus deposits in a mouse model of asthma induced by an allergen—despite the severity of symptoms.59 Additionally, randomized clinical trials show that some herbal allergy formulas (Biminne and Lectranal®) that contain A. membranaceus can reduce symptoms of allergic rhinitis, often a trigger for an asthma attack.16,56
Cumulatively these studies suggest that the immune-system modulating effects of astragalus could provide symptom relief for people suffering from asthma. However, study results are mixed and it’s simply too early to tell if astragalus is a natural herbal remedy for asthma.
Bulbus fritillariae cirrhosae.