World AIDS Day: Astragalus May Be a New Powerful Herb in the Fight Against HIV

December 1, 2014 Updated: December 1, 2014

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).

(marilyna/ iStock/Thinkstock)

In addition to the new use for astragalus, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site, 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

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.

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*Image of “Chinese herbs” via Shutterstock