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Astragalus root (astragalus membranaceous)

Astragalus root has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system. It strengthens the body against disease. Astragalus contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, byproducts of cellular energy. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, for preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, to lower blood pressure, to treat diabetes, and to protect the liver. In western herbal medicine, Astragalus is primarily considered a tonic for enhancing metabolism and digestion and is consumed as a tea made from the roots of the plant. It is also traditionally used to strengthen the immune system and in the healing of wounds and injuries.

Astragalus is a good source of selenium, an antioxidant and immune system stimulant. Mammals and birds require selenium for production of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is produced in the liver and plays a key role in intermediary metabolism, immune response and health. Astragalus is a perennial plant, about 16 - 36 inches tall, that is native to the northern and eastern parts of China as well as Mongolia and Korea. It has hairy stems with leaves made up of 12 - 18 pairs of leaflets. The root is the medicinal part and is usually harvested from 4-year-old plants. Astragalus is an ingredient in Herb Salad™ .

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