This post is in honor of World AIDS Day
Astragalus is an herb that is well known to practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I often suggest it to my patients to boost immunity and for respiratory problems. Now, an exciting new UCLA study has found that a chemical from the astragalus root may be helpful in combating HIV.
The chemical is called TAT2 and can slow the progression of immune cell deterioration. If this turns out to be true, it has the potential to save HIV patients a great deal of money and avoid the side effects of the HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) if it can be used as a replacement. The researchers wrote, “ that this strategy (using TAT2 from astragalus) could be useful in treating HIV disease, as well as immunodeficiency and increased susceptibility to other viral infections associated with chronic diseases or aging.
If you are interested in reading the research paper, the study was published in the Nov. 15 print edition of the Journal of Immunology. (ANI).
In addition to the new use for astragalus, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site, (http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69128.cfm), reassures potential users with the following statement: “astragalus has no reported adverse effects. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support and enhance the immune system and for heart disease.”
Currently, the herb is widely used in China for chronic hepatitis, colds and upper respiratory infections and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer. The remarkable herbal therapy has also shown promise in animal experiments as a way to prevent dementia
For more information on Astragalus click here