Is Astragalus Safe?
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking astragalus include the following:
- Astragalus is often used to stimulate the immune system. While beneficial in some situations, this property can cause problems for people with an overactive immune system related to autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- It is probably not a good idea for people who have had an organ transplant to take astragalus, since it could theoretically increase the risk of organ rejection due to its immune-stimulating properties.
- Astragalus could theoretically interact with a number of medications (see Astragalus Drug Interactions).
- Some astragalus species (fortunately, not the ones that are usually used in herbal supplements) contain a toxin known as swainsonine. Therefore, you should not take astragalus that you have grown yourself (or found growing), unless you are absolutely sure it is one of the safe species.
- As an herbal supplement, astragalus is not as closely regulated as prescription or nonprescription drugs. It can be marketed without any proof that it is either safe or effective. Do not assume that just because a product is sold or advertised in the United States that it is safe or effective. Be sure to look for astragalus products from a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.
- If you have a chronic or severe medical condition, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including astragalus.
- It is unknown if this product is safe for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding (see Astragalus and Pregnancy and Astragalus and Breastfeeding).