Also known as milk vetch, huang qi (or huangqi)

Herbal Help for Congestive Heart Failure

Anti-inflammatory effects of astragalus may help patients with CHF.

Despite advances in the prevention and treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF), symptomatic illness and mortality rates are still high. Fortunately, astragalus has antioxidant, immune system boosting, and antioxidant properties that may help. Clinical research suggests these properties of astragalus could help treat people with CHF.(39)

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

CHF is a chronic and progressive condition that is caused by tissue damage from a number of inflammatory conditions, including:(91)

  • Auto-immune disease triggered by a virus
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Viral infection
  • Dysfunctional fat metabolism

Genetics may also be a risk factor for CHF.(91)

How Can Astragalus Help?

The immune system releases inflammatory proteins called cytokines. In chronic inflammatory conditions, these cytokines levels are overexpressed. Research indicates that this may play a part in the development and progression of CHF.(91)

Clinical studies suggest astragalus can help control cytokine levels and boost the immune system. Results suggest that these effects could make astragalus an effective treatment for CHF:

Trial Details Results

20-day intravenous therapy(39)

62 CHF patients with heart function grade levels from II-IV, randomly assigned to one of 2 groups:(39)

  • 30 ml/day astragalus (equivalent to 60 g of crude herb
  • 10 g/day of nitroglycerine.
  • Clinical heart function was significantly improved in the astragalus group (74.2% effectiveness) than the control group (25.8%). (39)
  • Immune system cell levels were also significantly improved in the astragalus group, with no change in the control group.(39)

30-day clinical study(173)

90 patients with CHF, randomly divided in 3 equally numbered groups receiving the following oral doses of astragalus twice a day:(173)

  • High dose (7.5 g)
  • Moderate dose (4.5 g)
  • Low dose (2.25 g)

Significant improvements in the following areas compared to pre-treatment levels:(173)

There is also clinical evidence that astragalus in combination with other herbs and conventional drugs can effectively improve heart function in patients with CHF.(174-175)

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As measured by the Minnesota Questionnaire for QOL evaluation.(173)