The primary medicinal applications of astragalus include as an anti-inflammatory, as a hypotensive to lower blood pressure, as a blood cleanser, and as a hypothyroid to mildly depress functioning of the thyroid.
It is also generally used to boost resistance in dogs due to its high antioxidant components.
What & When to Use it
The mature roots of Astragalus are used in treatment options as infusions or tinctures. There are many commercial options of the Chinese supplement available as well.
- One of the primary (and most popular) uses of astragalus is it’s ability to greatly improve immunity including respiratory system, spleen, liver, kidney and circulatory health.
- Stimulates T-cell activity and raises white blood cell counts, boosting the body’s defenses against disease and illness by improving the function of the liver.
- Astragalus strengthens kidney function and is highly recommended. Considered a favorite treatment in early states of infection, kidney disease or renal failure.
- Also recommended for dogs with cancer.
- Astragalus has been used in some applications to boost energy levels in debilitated dogs and human beings, which is a big plus for those taking on serious diseases such as cancer and looking for a way to formulate some functional balance. Astragalus can be used to help regulate the body’s levels and help alleviate stress put on the system by disease.
Seven Forests Astragulus 10 is considered top of the line by most Chinese Herb Practitioners. See the guide below. Depending on the severity of the disease, give your dog the recommended dosage 2-3 times daily.
- Dogs weighing under 25 pounds: 1/2 – 1 tablet
- Dogs 25-50 pounds: 1-2 tablets
- Dogs over 50 pounds: 2-3 tablets
Using astragalus is generally considered quite safe, but some species of it are toxic to grazing animals. Roots, powders and preparations should only be purchased from reputable dealers like Seven Forests! Astragalus is considered a category 1 herb which means it is a safe “food” herb.
There is also a concern over selenium in some soils, as a higher concentration of it can be found in some soils where astragalus grows. If you plan on planting your own astragalus, it’s best to have your soil testing for selenium before you get started.
While many say to avoid this herb for auto immune disorders such as hypothyroidism or diabetes; it’s believed that it may help hyperthyroidism. For hypothyroidism and diabetes, a safe alternative in this case may be Red Ginseng. Read the comments below for dosage for the red ginseng.
Reasons to Use
Obviously the most popular reason to use astragalus is as an immune booster. It is available in most health food stores and can be rather easy to grow on your own if you’re into that sort of thing.
For those interested in the easier path to health, there are quite a few immune boosting products on the market that include a healthy dose of astragalus for dogs, but the best option is using a product like the one I mentioned earlier.
Astragalus is actually a member of the pea family with divided leaves and small flowers and pods. The herb has been cultivated throughout much of the world, but it originated in China.
In that it has been used for thousands of years as a piece of traditional Chinese medicine, its commercial value is considerable and it has been marketed heavily in combination with other herbs. It is a perennial that blooms from spring to the early summer.
As mentioned above, mature roots, at least three years old or older, are the parts of Astragalus used in medicinal applications that are an excellent addition to your dog’s regimen.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen, Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats by Shawn Messonnier, DVM, Veterinary Herbal Medicine by Mary Wynn, DVM