Astragalus shows potential for enhancing nerve regeneration

Researchers from Taiwan report that astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) can be beneficial for the nerves and inflammatory conditions. In their study, the researchers examined the effects of astragalus extract on regeneration in a rat sciatic nerve transection model.

  • Astragalus, also known as huang qi, is one of 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Earlier research has shown that astragalus extract can potentially be used as a nerve growth-promoting factor, which can be beneficial for the growth of peripheral nerve axons.
  • For the study, the researchers examined three groups of rats: a control group and two astragalus treatment groups.
  • The control group received normal saline, while the treatment groups received 1.5 grams per kilogram (g/kg) or 3 g/kg of astragalus extract, respectively.
  • The control and treatment groups were given their respective solutions every other day for four weeks.
  • The researchers measured the rats’ neuronal electrophysiology, neuronal connectivity, macrophage infiltration, expression levels and location of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and expression levels of both nerve growth factors and immunoregulatory factors.
  • The results showed that the high-dose astragalus group experienced significant improvements in neuronal electrophysiological function, as well as expression levels of CGRP and macrophage density.
  • The astragalus extracts also dramatically reduced expression levels of fibroblast growth factor, nerve growth factors, platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor-beta, interleukin-1, and interferon-gamma.

These findings, which were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, suggest that astragalus can control local inflammatory conditions, enhance nerve regeneration, and potentially increase recovery of a severe peripheral nerve injury.

To read more studies on the health benefits of astragalus, visit

Journal Reference:

Chen C-C, Chang L-C, Yao C-H, Hsu Y-M, Lin J-H, Yang T-Y, Chen Y-H, Chen Y-S. INCREASED CALCITONIN GENE-RELATED PEPTIDE AND MACROPHAGES ARE INVOLVED IN ASTRAGALUS MEMBRANACEUS-MEDIATED PERIPHERAL NERVE REGENERATION IN RATS. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 03 January 2018; 46(1): 69-86. DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X18500040

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