A natural product commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine herbal mixtures may help to improve quality of life, manage side effects, and treat certain cancers.

Are you a health professional?

This section does not replicate the other information on this topic but provides additional details or context most relevant to professionals.

Modes of action: systemic immunity

Astragalus may prevent metastasis and promote the efficacy of chemotherapy by improving systemic immunity1Li S, Sun Y et al. Anti-tumor effects and mechanisms of Astragalus membranaceus (AM) and its specific immunopotentiation: status and prospect. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2020 Aug 10;258:112797.

Further evidence 

Improving treatment outcomes: preclinical evidence

Optimizing your body terrain: preclinical evidence

Managing side effects and promoting wellness: preclinical evidence

  • Protection of nerve tissue14Sun A, Xu X, Lin J, Cui X, Xu R. Neuroprotection by saponins. Phytotherapy Research. 2015 Feb;29(2):187-200.
  • Less suppression of bone marrow activity (myelosuppression) caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy15Jung Y, Jerng U, Lee S. A systematic review of anticancer effects of radix astragali. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2016 Mar;22(3):225-36. 

Reducing cancer risk: preclinical evidence

  • Saponins, compounds found in astragalus, prevented colon tumor development in animals16Dong J, Liang W et al. Saponins regulate intestinal inflammation in colon cancer and IBD. Pharmacological Research. 2019;144:66–72; Jung Y, Jerng U, Lee S. A systematic review of anticancer effects of radix astragali. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2016 Mar;22(3):225-36. 

Resources for professionals

Knowledge in Integrative Oncology Website

A subscription is required; access is free of charge for members of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

Access the website

Keep reading about astragalus

Authors

Maria Williams

Research and Communications Consultant
View profile

Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

Maria Williams Research and Communications Consultant

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
View profile

Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
View profile

Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Reviewer

Andrew Jackson, ND

Research Associate
View profile

Andrew Jackson, ND, serves as a CancerChoices research associate. As a naturopathic physician practicing in Kirkland, Washington, he teaches critical evaluation of the medical literture at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. His great appreciation of scientific inquiry and the scientific process has led him to view research with a critical eye.

Andrew Jackson, ND Research Associate

Last update: October 7, 2022

Last full literature review: March 2021

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

Health professional comment

We invite health professionals to contribute expertise or send us questions.

"*" indicates required fields

Please share your thoughts about content on the CancerChoices website. If you have a correction for us to consider, or additional information to add, please include references and links if possible.

References[+]