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

Astragalus Improves the Appearance of Aging Skin

Astragalus can be used topically and as an herbal supplement to improve the appearance of aging skin.

The protein collagen is the main structural component in the upper layer of skin. Aging skin can often appear dry, lax, and wrinkled as a result of damaged collagen. Studies suggest astragalus can help promote the healthy synthesis of collagen.(235)

UV radiation is a common cause of premature skin aging. It increases the production of enzymes that degrade collagen, resulting in wrinkled skin. Studies suggest astragalus could also prevent the loss of collagen caused by excess sun exposure.(236)

How Does Astragalus Work on Skin Collagen?

Research on human cell lines demonstrates that astragalus promotes the production of hyaluronic acid. In turn, hyaluronic acid induces growth of fibroblasts, cells that produce collagen. As levels of hyaluronic acid decrease with age the synthesis of collagen is also reduced—resulting in the clinical signs of aging skin. Astragalus also directly stimulates collagen production by both young and aged fibroblasts.(212235)

Lab studies show that both astragalus root extract and astragalus compounds can protect against the degradation of collagen by UV radiation:(236)

  • Astragalus extract suppresses inflammatory factors which promote skin-damaging enzymes.(237)
  • Astragaloside IV blocks growth factor signaling in skin cells that promotes enzymes which break down collagen.(236)

Extracts from the seeds of Astragalus sinicus show promising anti-aging skin effects different from other species of astragalus. At concentration levels of 200 µg/mL, A. sinicus extracts inhibit the enzyme that breaks down elastin—another component of skin that lends to its youthful appearance and texture—by 97.5%. And at 300 µg/mL, it blocks the enzyme that breaks down collagen by 99%.(15)

Clinical Evidence of Benefit

Results of an 8-week clinical trial using a topical cream containing 20% of A. sinicus extract suggest that it may be useful in improving the texture, elasticity, and tone of skin.(15)

These preliminary studies suggest that astragalus may have a role in skin care products that counteract wrinkles and sagging skin caused by age-related decreases in collagen.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this website is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.