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Whole ingredient extraction is a new strategy for improvement of therapeutic efficacy of astragalus


Researchers from the University of Macau and the Hong Kong Baptist University compared the chemical composition and safety of astragalus whole ingredients extract with those of astragalus water extract and astragalus ultrafine powder. The results of their study were published in the journal Chinese Medicine.

  • Water extract (WAE) and ultrafine powder (UFP) are the two types of extract commonly used to prepare pharmaceutical products and functional foods.
  • However, doctors and patients have been concerned about the chemical composition of WAEs and the safety of UFPs for many years.
  • For their study, the researchers prepared a new whole ingredients extract (WIE) of astragalus using the gradient solvent extraction method.
  • They compared the chemical compositions of WIE and WAE using spectrophotometry and chromatography.
  • They also compared the in vivo immunomodulatory effects of astragalus WIE, WAE, and UFP using mice with cyclophosphamide (Cy)-induced immunosuppression.
  • The researchers reported that the main active ingredients of astragalus were more abundant in WIE than in WAE.
  • In mice with Cy-induced immunosuppression, oral administration of WIE at low dosage (1.0 gram [g] herb per kilogram [kg] per day) for 18 days significantly improves immune-related responses, such as:
    • Bodyweight
    • Number of peripheral white blood cells
    • Thymus and spleen indexes
    • Splenocyte proliferations
    • Natural killer (NK) cell activity
    • Splenic lymphocyte subset
    • Serum levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM
  • WIE showed the highest immunomodulatory activity, followed by UFP then WAE.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that WIE has more therapeutic effectiveness than UFP and WAE because it maximally retained the chemical integrity of Astragalus. They hope that WIE can be further developed as a medicinal or edible herb-derived supplement for pharmaceutical and health care applications.

Read the full study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Li ZX, Zhao GD, Xiong W, Linghu KG, Ma QS, Cheang WS, Yu H, Wang Y. IMMUNOMODULATORY EFFECTS OF A NEW WHOLE INGREDIENTS EXTRACT FROM ASTRAGALUS: A COMBINED EVALUATION ON CHEMISTRY AND PHARMACOLOGY. Chinese Medicine. 27 March 2019;14(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13020-019-0234-0



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