Astragalus is a traditional Chinese herb, its root was found to increase resistance to disease by fortifying the immune system. For example, it increases the body's secretion of interferon, which fights viruses. According to Chinese studies, astragalus reduces susceptibility to colds and their duration.
Astragalus is sometimes used together with echinacea and ginseng, for use in degenerative conditions of ageing such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Since it is a diuretic, astragalus can be useful to reduce water retention. During the past decade, astragalus has been discovered by Western science, and is increasingly being incorporated into nutritional formulas sold in health food shops.