Anticarcinogenic Effects

Both in vitro and animal studies indicate that astragalus may have a role as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of some cancers. In vivo studies have shown that astragalus extract exerts anticarcinogenic effects in carcinogen-treated mice, mediated through activation of cytotoxic activity and the production of cytokines (Kurashige et al 1999). An extract of the root (90 and 180 mg/kg) prevented the development of preneoplastic lesions and delayed hepatic cancer in chemically-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in a rat model (Cui et al 2003). The saponin, astragaloside IV, can increase the fibrinolytic potential of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells by downregulating the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (Zhang et al 1997). Another constituent (astragalan) increased the secretion of TNF-alpha and TNF-beta (Zhao and Kong 1993).

An animal study using a combination of Astragalus membranaceus and Ligustrum lucldumastragalus demonstrated anti-tumour effects by augmenting phagocyte and lymphokine-activated killer cell activities (Lau et al 1994).

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