Just say Qi (CHEE)...
Qi (or vital energy) is fundamental for good health. Wei Qi (or defensive qi) protects your body from external pathogens; this is also known as “having a strong immune system” in Western medicine. Qi flows through energy pathways in the body, and by properly stimulating these pathways (through herbs, acupuncture, or qigong), you can revive your qi.
In the midst of a global pandemic, our bodies are under a lot of pressure. Poor diets, lack of sleep, less movement, and anxiety about coronavirus infections all take a toll. We’re more stressed than ever. Long-term chronic stress leads to high cortisol levels, which can impair the immune system’s anti-inflammatory capabilities(1). That’s when inflammation begins to deteriorate the body, and chronic, low-level inflammation contributes to many modern diseases. All this stress, anxiety, and fear can stagnate (or block) qi and prevent the body from healing.
In times like these, reducing stress and inflammation can vastly improve your quality of life. Herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, like Astragalus, have been proven(3) to inhibit inflammatory responses in different organs.(2) Astragalus strengthens qi, and one of its extracts may enhance the immune system’s ability to fight HIV.(4) With an abundance of qi, you’ll have a strong immune system, increased vitality, and good physical health.
What is Astragalus?
Astragalus (huang qi) is a fibrous, yellow root that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It’s a perennial plant native to southeast Asia that reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, and alleviates fatigue. As one of Chinese medicine’s 50 fundamental herbs, this sweet and tepid plant rebalances and replenishes the qi of the spleen, stomach, and lungs. It’s also anadaptogen, which means it helps the body cope with stress by regulating responses to various stressors (physical, chemical, and biological) and reducing inflammation.
How Is Astragalus Used?
In Chinese medicine, practitioners use the dried root to put in tonic soups, medicinal tea or combine it with other herbs in a blend (Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang). It’s also used inherbal tinctures, which are easily taken with a few drops in your mouth or in drinking water. It’s used as a tonic for the immune and digestive systems, especially when you are feeling overworked and stressed. The herb’s warming properties directly treat the Spleen and Lung organ systems, which are responsible for the delivery of Qi and Blood to all our cells. Overall, it increases stamina and endurance.
Astragalus builds a defensive wall to protect your body, and it’s often used for colds, upper respiratory infections, allergies, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It’s also considered “amphoteric,” with immune-modulating properties, which means it’s able to boost immune responses (for infections) and calm overactive immune systems (for allergies(5) and autoimmune diseases).
For individuals with chronic degenerative disease or cancer,huang qi increases the production of blood cells. For cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, it can be used to fight symptoms like nausea, appetite loss, fatigue, and a weakened immune system.
Astragalus is also high in antioxidants, meaning it promotes a healthy heart. It has diuretic properties, which could lower blood pressure.
Astragalus can combat stress and strengthen the immune system, to help alleviate the everyday pressures of a modern lifestyle.
Where Can I Find It?
Protection Against Inflammation and Gastrointestinal Cancers. Am J Chin Med.
2016;44(1):1-22. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X16500014. PMID: 26916911.